Astronomers assume aliens are more open to solar power than
It is likely the U.S., and Earth as a whole, will be dependent on fossil fuels for years to come. But a team of scientists is betting that extraterrestrials have embraced solar energy.
In September, a team of three astronomers began searching the universe for Dyson Spheres–basically massive structures of solar panels. Although it may seem presumptuous to assume what type of energy technology alien civilizations might be implementing, team leader Jason Wright explained to the Atlantic that the assumption is mostly based on biology:
Life, by definition, uses energy, which it must reradiate as waste heat. The larger the civilization, the more energy it uses and the more heat it reradiates. Life also (by definition) reproduces, which introduces the possibility of exponentially increasing energy demands. If left unchecked, those increases will eventually outstrip the available energy on a planet. That would leave a growing civilization no choice but to mine energy from other planets and, eventually, their stars.
If Dyson Spheres exist, their heat signatures would be visible to infrared telescopes. Earlier attempts to locate Dyson Spheres have been unsuccessful, but Wright’s team will have access to better tools that weren’t available to previous researchers, like NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), which is hundreds of times more sensitive than the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS) that was used in previous searches.
The team’s search for Dyson Spheres will last two years, and will span the Milky Way, as well as millions of other galaxies. According to the Atlantic, this latest Dyson Sphere project recently received “a sizable grant from the Templeton Foundation, a philanthropic organization that funds research on the ‘big questions’ that face humanity, questions relating to ‘human purpose and ultimate reality.’”
Sources and more information:
The Best Way to Find Aliens: Look for Their Solar Power Plants By Ross Andersen Tweet Oct 4 2012, 4:01 PM ET Comment A team of astronomers is now looking for Dyson Spheres, massive star-scale solar power plants that extraterrestrial hunters hope alien civilizations employ. A portion of the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), NASA's...
Hugh Pickens writes "An article by Ross Andersen makes note of Freeman Dyson's prediction in 1960 that every civilization in the Universe eventually runs out of energy on its home planet, a major hurdle in a civilization's evolution. Dyson argued that all those who leap over it do so in precisely the same way: they build a massive collector of...
( via openminds.tv )
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