New Study Suggests Using 'Porch Light' Laser Setup to Call Extraterrestrials

MIT says existing laser tech could attract alien astronomers

MIT says existing laser tech could attract alien astronomers

To develop Clark proposed to use a laser power of 1-2 MW and a telescope diameter of primary mirror which is 30-45 meters.

The goal of the laser-telescope rig is the creation of an energy beam, meant to stand out amid all of the excess noise in the solar system.

"The kinds of lasers and telescopes that are being built today can produce a detectable signal, so that an astronomer could take one look at our star and immediately see something unusual about its spectrum", author James Clark, a graduate student in MIT's Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, said in a statement this week.

By modulating the intensity of the light, we could exchange simple messages in binary with a data rate of a few hundred bits per second. The signal should be easy to detect from as far away as 20,000 light years.

He hopes the study will encourage the development of infrared imaging techniques, not only to spot any laser beacons that might be produced by alien astronomers, but also to identify gases in a distant planet's atmosphere that might be indications of life.

Just a few days after Harvard University researchers suggested that aliens may have sent a probe into our solar system, new research out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology suggests that we may soon be able to signal our presence to extraterrestrials by using a high-powered laser beam. MIT researchers claim that if an alien astronomer was searching the heavens from TRAPPIST-1, the nearest star to Earth with potentially habitable planets, the massive laser could be used to send a brief message in the form of pulses similar to Morse code. This would produce a beam with a staggering range of 20,000 light years.

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Assuming alien astronomers have comparable telescopes, they would need to be in the emission's exact line of sight which, statistically speaking, is pretty unlikely. However, Clark points out, that could soon change: The Extremely Large Telescope is now under construction by the European Space Organization, with its projected size of 39 meters in diameter.

- A telescope and infrared laser design would be integrated.

Potential issues with this plan include that despite that the IR beam is invisible, it would damage people's vision if they looked directly at the beam. While Earth now has the technology to create the beacon, the beam would produce 800 watts of power per square meter that would damage a person's vision. A safer location than Earth would be on the far side of the moon.

Clark says that if the tables were turned, we would be able to detect a signal sent from nearby stars but only if our telescopes were pointed directly towards the source, which would take an enormous amount of luck.

At the present time, impossible to tell whether we are alone in the universe and if this is not the case, scientists are ready to do anything to attract the aliens to us ...

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