Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Extraterrestrial Contact: Let There Be Light

The reliance on radio wave searches of the universe, in hopes of intercepting signals from extraterrestrial civilizations, may be too narrow. That’s what astronomers have been suggesting for some time now. Radio waves are already diminishing in importance for humans. So, why expect that an alien civilization would use them at all?

Next up is light. There are a few projects underway using light searches and proposing light communication on our part. A recent post in ScienceBlog describes a paper by UC Santa Barbara researcher Philip Lubin. He suggests in the journal REACH that directed energy may be useful in the search for extraterrestrials.

“In our paper, we propose a search strategy that will observe nearly 100 billion planets, allowing us to test our hypothesis that other similarly or more advanced civilizations with this same broadcast capability exist,” Lubin said. –ScienceBlog

Of course, it is entirely possible that even light would be an outmoded communication technique for extraterrestrials. It seems clear, though, that the only hope in this search is to constantly reevaluate our methods and utilize the latest advances in human technology to help re-define the search.

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