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MoneyA powerful laser 'porch light' could let aliens know where we are

06:11  06 november  2018
06:11  06 november  2018 Source:   engadget.com

Magnified laser from Earth could attract alien attention, MIT researcher says

Magnified laser from Earth could attract alien attention, MIT researcher says 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. No, this isn’t a pitch for a sci fi movie. Rather, it was the basis of a “feasibility study” conducted by MIT graduate student James Clark, which found that by using existing and imminent technology, humans could, in principle, fashion a laser and a telescope into a beacon that would send out a powerful blast of radiation showing aliens that we are, in fact, here, Clark said.

You can change this preference below. This is a 50W laser made of 7 blue laser diodes rated 7+ watts each. I will use it in some of the next videos to show you what it is able to do.

Shining lasers into space could hide us from unfriendly cosmic neighbours – or help us draw their attention. In that case, Kipping and Teachey suggest cloaking just the wavelengths of light associated with biosignatures, the molecules in our atmosphere that reveal the presence of life.

A powerful laser 'porch light' could let aliens know where we are

An MIT researcher claims a laser space beacon detectable up to 20,000 light years away is feasible -- essentially acting as a porch light for extraterrestrial life. James Clark's study posits that focusing a one- to two-megawatt laser through a 30- to 45-meter telescope and aiming it into space would create a beacon that would emit enough radiation to be distinctive from the sun's infrared energy.

If there are alien astronomers in a neighboring solar system (say, on the exoplanets orbiting Trappist-1, a star that's 40 light years or so away), they might spot the signal from our little corner of the galaxy. The study suggests that we could even send a Morse code-style message with the laser by using pulses.

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A laser is a device that emits light through a process of optical amplification based on the stimulated emission of electromagnetic radiation.

Any one of which could be the world where the aliens live. Furthermore, we don't know which An alien could target an incredibly powerful laser at our star, and it would be detectable with our large A gigantic space station would give off a much different light signature than a nice spherical planet as

The tech scientists would need to build such a beacon is within practical reach. There's a 39-meter telescope under construction in Chile, for instance, while the scrapped US Air Force YAL-1 Airborne Laser (which could destroy missiles mid-flight) had the equivalent power to the laser that Clark says would be required.

There are more practical concerns, such as the laser potentially damaging your eyes if you looked directly towards it -- even though the beam would be invisible to the naked eye. The laser could also affect cameras on spacecraft that passed through it. As such, Clark suggested that installing the laser system on the far side of the moon would be the safest bet, even if it's a vastly more impractical one.

But what of the flip side to the equation? Could we spot a similar beacon from another planet with our current technology? Well, yes, but it would require a powerful enough telescope (i.e. one meter or larger) directed at the exact source location. So, it's unlikely as things stand. However, imaging tools used to study gases on exoplanets could detect our neighbors' porch lights too, so there's a slim chance we might be able to invite them over for coffee after all. Assuming they don't annihilate us first, that is.

MIT

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