We might have been ‘listening’ for aliens on the wrong channel, say scientists
We’ve been listening out for aliens using radio telescopes for decades – but scientists have been met with a deafening silence.
But that might be because we’re tuned into the wrong channel, scientists have suggested.
Instead of listening for radio signals, we should look for the telltale ‘flashes’ of civilisations using ‘directed energy’ – a pioneering technology championed by Stephen Hawking for a project to send a spacecraft to Alpha Centauri in 20 years.
Philip Lubin of NASA believes that ‘flashes’ using such a system – or beacons deliberately set up using directed energy – could offer a way to find aliens.
In a new paper, Lubin writes, ‘‘There are a number of reasons a civilisation would use directed energy systems of the type discussed here.
‘If other civilisations have an environment like we do they might use DE system for applications such as propulsion or scanning systems to survey their local environment, power beaming across large distances among many others.
‘Surveys that are sensitive to these ‘utilitarian’ applications are a natural by-product of the ‘spill over’ of these issues, through a systematic beacon would be much easier to detect.’