Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Are Aliens Talking To Us?

[NPR] On Aug. 15, the news broke that a Russian radio telescope detected strong signals from outer space.
The signals allegedly originated from a star 95 light-years from Earth. Just to clarify, this means that the signal would have left the star or, potentially, an orbiting planet, 95 years ago. Radio waves — as do any electromagnetic wave including visible light — travel in empty space at the speed of light, about 186,000 miles per second. You blink your eyes and light goes seven and a half times around the Earth.
The signal was detected last year but only made public last month. Scientists from the RATAN-600 radio antenna in Zelenchukskaya were cautious, but still believed the source deserved permanent monitoring. The signal seems to be isotropic, that is, beamed with the same power in all directions. For this to happen, and assuming it came from an intelligent source, the responsible civilization would have to be a Kardashev Type II, a kind of civilization with a technology way more advanced than our own. We are still a Kardashev Type I, capable of harnessing the energy that reaches us from our star (the sun). A Type II is capable of harnessing the energy of the entire star, for example, by encompassing the whole star with a device that can efficiently absorb a large fraction of its enormous radiation. Read More