If aliens exist, we could signal them with a massive laser…and why that’s a bad idea

sei af e
Image credit: Metro

If extraterrestrial life exists in our neck of the Milky Way, how would we make our presence known to one another? Could we just shoot a massive, unmistakable signal out into space?

As it turns out, this wild-sounding idea could actually be carried out with current and developing technologies. A new MIT study found that by shining a powerful laser through a gigantic telescope, humans could produce a beam of infrared radiation detectable from 20,000 light-years away.

But just because the technology technically exists or is in the works, doesn’t mean the project would be safe, easy, or even work. In order to shine through our thick atmosphere, the laser would need to be built in a high-altitude, easily-penetrable area, such as on top of a mountain.

Related article:  Why this NASA engineer believes we've already found evidence of life on Mars

And despite the beam being invisible to the naked eye, it would still emit 800 watts of power per square meter, which could cause vision damage if it’s looked at directly. It could also interfere with spacecraft cameras as they pass by the infrared signal.

Plus, there’s no guarantee that a neighboring planet would ever detect our monstrous beam. 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.

Read full, original post: Infrared laser technology could attract aliens, but probably won’t

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

As Europe sees record coronavirus cases and deaths, Slovakia is testing its entire adult population. WSJ's Drew Hinshaw explains how ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend