Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Maybe someone out there has solved the problem of renewable energy intermittency.
With intelligent life in scant supply on Earth, boffins search for technosignatures of civilizations in the galaxy
Pollution, sprawling cities of megastructures, any sign aliens are screwing up just like us…
MON 22 JUN 2020 // 07:52 UTC
Astronomers are on the hunt for signs of alien civilizations in space by searching for things like extraterrestrial solar panels or planetary atmospheres spewing pollutants.
The team, from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and the University of Rochester in the US, believe these so-called “technosignatures” are evidence of intelligence in other places than Earth. If advanced life forms exist they’ll be using electronics, the thinking goes, and that means emissions that could be detected.
“Technosignatures relate to signatures of advanced alien technologies similar to, or perhaps more sophisticated than what we possess,” Avi Loeb, chairman of Harvard University’s Department of Astronomy, saidthis month. “Such signatures might include industrial pollution of atmospheres, city lights, photovoltaic cells, megastructures, or swarms of satellites.”
Loeb told us his team will be awarded a total of $286,926 by NASA over two years to scour space for technosignatures. They will kickstart their search by trying to find signs that civilizations are trying to harvest star light for energy with the use of solar panels.
The researchers pointed to the example of Proxima b, the closest Earth-like planet that may be habitable located some 4.25 light years away. Proxima b is believed to be rocky and is tidally locked to its parent star Proxima. That means that the same side of the planet faces the small yellow star as it orbits, and the other side is permanently shrouded in darkness.
“If a civilization wants to illuminate or warm up the night side, they would place photovoltaic cells on the day side and transfer the electric power gained to the night side,” said Adam Frank, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Rochester working on the study.
…Read more: https://www.theregister.com/2020/06/22/if_you_want_to_find/
The NASA funded team are also looking for pollution signatures. Perhaps all that pollution was emitted when the aliens strip mined their entire planet in an effort to power their civilisation with solar energy.