For over half a century now, stargazers and astronomers alike have been on the hunt for extra terrestrial life.
But, even with the capabilities of extra-solar planet locating missions, such as the Kepler Space Observatory, we are still looking.
As we continue to fall foul of the Fermi Paradox, (in other words, if intelligent life exists, why the heck have we consistently failed to find evidence for it), now one astronomer thinks he knows the answer.
We’ve been looking in the wrong place.
Using all our technological capabilities we have long been seeking out alien megastructures and super-civilisations, using categorizations that were first suggested in radical proposals in the 1960s.
Freeman Dyson and Nikolai Kardashev first captured the imaginations of people around the world with their radical ‘alien megastructure’ ideas when the pair suggested that intelligence species could be harnessing the energy of their stars, solar system and galaxy, to build huge civilisations.
And we have sometimes come close to finding such an object – in the summer of 2015 astronomers found something around Tabby’s Star (KIC 8462852) that could have fitted the brief, but later dismissed the claims.
But now Professor Zaza Osmanov, at the Free University of Tbilisi, says the reasons we aren’t finding them isn’t because they don’t exist but that we aren’t looking in the right places.
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Osamanov claims in his paper that in order to find an alien super civilisation (identified using Kardashev’s definition of a Level II civilisation) we need to be looking around pulsars instead of stars.
And he recommends that in order to spot them we should be looking out for infrared energy signatures, and the radiation they would emit.
And he believes that this signals wouldn’t require us to develop new instruments beyond the ones we already have in our possession, such as the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) and the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer.
Despite this, the concept of alien megastructures remains a controversial subject, as Enrico Fermi said – why haven’t we found them if they are definitely there?
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