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Space Science

Brainstorming Clever Ways To Detect Alien Civilizations 343

Phoghat writes "In what is starting to become a familiar theme, researchers have speculated on what types of observational data from distant planetary systems might indicate the presence of an alien civilization. Potential indicators of the presence of an alien civilization might include: atmospheric pollutants, like chlorofluorocarbons – which, unlike methane or molecular oxygen, are clearly manufactured rather than just biogenically produced; propulsion signatures – like how the Vulcans detected humanity in Star Trek: First Contact; evidence of stellar engineering – where a star's lifetime is artificially extended to maintain the habitable zone of its planetary system; or debris created from asteroid mining."
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Brainstorming Clever Ways To Detect Alien Civilizations

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  • Re:The Atomic Bomb (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Ethanol-fueled ( 1125189 ) on Monday April 25, 2011 @11:48PM (#35938212) Homepage Journal
    Sigh, obligatory Calvin and Hobbes:

    Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us.

    Mod me up to +5 for that, because it was totally insightful.

  • by tftp ( 111690 ) on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @12:23AM (#35938396) Homepage

    This step is simple: invent an FTL method of communication.

    The reasoning is also simple. If we can have FTL then it is a given that all developed civilizations are using it. Radio is simply too slow. We don't use pigeons anymore to send messages, do we? So why do we expect an alien civilization to spend terawatts of energy and thousands of years to blast radio signals into space?

    But if we can't have FTL then pretty much we are prisoners of our star system. Perhaps generation ships can export our genes to other stars, but that is unlikely, and we will never [in practical terms] know how they fared. Ping times of thousands of years are simply out of our time scale, until we all become cyborgs or beings of pure energy.

    So that's why FTL is the only possible solution. Anything less is just a waste of money and effort. This effort should be invested into science, in every way possible. Even if FTL is absolutely impossible in our Universe, perhaps we will find a neighboring Universe with physical laws that are more to our liking.

  • by Arlet ( 29997 ) on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @01:24AM (#35938732)

    Just look for anything out of the ordinary, and once you find it, try to come up with an explanation. This way you'll not only find life (if it exist) but also other interesting phenomena.

  • by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @02:09AM (#35938928)
    Clearly? Maybe here on earth. Who knows what natural processes exist elsewhere.

    If we make unmanned probes and send them out, and one of our probes turns up CFCs in an atmosphere like our own, and we go there and find no life, then you'll have the right to say "I told you so."

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.