What might aliens learn if they observed Earth? A recent study provides an answer


What might aliens learn if they observed Earth?  Our study provides an answer

View of the Earth from orbit around the Moon. Credit: NASA

Are we alone in the universe? It’s a question that fascinates scientists and the public alike. In science, the focus tends to be on Find life elsewhere. However, the idea that we might be being watched by a distant alien civilization, is a habit Limited to the world of science fiction.

But if there were other technological civilizations, they would probably be more advanced than we are now. After all, we have just emerged as an emerging (industrial) technical civilization in the past 200 years – other technical civilizations could easily be 1,000, 10,000 or even 100,000 years more advanced than us.

And no one can deny that the Our technological progress is accelerating, in some areas at a violent pace. To paraphrase a science fiction author Arthur C Clarke’s Third Law– An advanced civilization capable of magic will appear to us in terms of their technical prowess.

Over the past few years, my colleagues and I have begun to consider whether an advanced civilization might be able to detect technological signatures (“technical signatures”), like radio emissions, from Earth. And if so, what might they discover?

our Latest study Provides evidence.

This is not the first time such research has been conducted. But it has now been more than 50 years since the topic was properly thought out. While a lot has changed since the mid-1970s, the biggest change has occurred in the past two decades with the advent of cell phones. these Devices and the towers that connect them It created a new technical signature for broadband radio emissions.

Although 4g mobile phones And transmission towers are relatively low-power separately (0.1-200 watts), and there are a great many of them – billions of phones and many millions of towers. The accumulated radio emissions from these are starting to become very important. But is it observable to an alien civilization watching from afar? We wanted to find out.

It turned out to be difficult to find a file Public database It lists the location and transmission characteristics of all mobile phone towers around the world. But using a file OpenCellID databaseWith the data populated via crowdsourcing, we were able to build a simple model to estimate the global distribution of mobile towers.

Our model is undoubtedly crude and incomplete, but it’s our best estimate of the tech-signature mobile towers spilling out into space.

Since the Earth rotates on its axis, an advanced civilization located somewhere in our galaxy would measure radio emissions from mobile towers to rise and fall in intensity as different parts of the Earth rotated in width.

The model is complicated by the fact that mobile tower transmissions are usually sent towards the horizon. This means that at any given time, the constellations seen to be oscillating or rising above the Earth’s horizon will contribute more to the measured signal.

Strange conclusions?

It is likely that an advanced civilization making many accurate measurements of this radio leak over time would conclude that our planet is mostly covered in water and is divided into several major landmasses. Radio leakage usually comes from land masses rather than water.

They might also be able to tell that while most mobile radio leakage is associated with landmasses, towers (and likely savvy users) tend to be found along the coast.

They will also see that mobile tower networks are distributed quite evenly across the planet. This differs from the traditional radio leakage that was previously recognized as key technical signatures – in particular, radar and television transmitters.

Our simulations show that developing regions, such as Africa and Asia, contribute significantly to the Earth’s mobile leakage radiation. This is no surprise given The importance of mobile systems in all aspects of society in developing countries.

We calculated the energy coming from the Earth – which is about 4 gigawatts (GW) at its peak (one gigawatt could power about 750,000 homes for an hour). We estimate the transmission as seen from three different stars in our galaxy –HD95735And barnard star, And Alpha Centauri A.

We have concluded that an alien civilization near these locations will, however, need much better telescopes than we do to detect mobile radio leaks on Earth. But this would be entirely probable, since most technical civilizations would be expected to be much more advanced than we are now.

There are also other types of emissions they can see, such as military radar systems and deep space communications transmissions to distant spacecraft, such as the Voyager space probes. While these signals would be relatively rare occurrences for an alien observer, they do have the advantage of being very powerful.

Perhaps radio art signatures are the hallmark of our civilization’s existence, at least from an alien perspective. But extraterrestrial species may also find radiation leaking across the electromagnetic spectrum (including visible light).

If we continue to increase our energy consumption at the current rate, “heat dissipation”– an inevitable end product of energy use – it will also be discharged into space. There it will manifest itself as an anomalous excess of infrared wavelengths – a telltale sign of an active techno-civilization.

Other technical signatures incl industrial pollutants In Earth’s atmosphere it can also be observed to aliens equipped with powerful telescopes and spectroscopy systems (which refract light according to wavelength). There is no doubt that an advanced alien civilization could have a good guess at our particular stage of industrialization and our stage Energy consumption.

On Earth, we use a file Kardashev scale To estimate the development of alien civilizations based on their use of energy – on this scale we would appear as an emerging technical civilization, not yet at the bottom of the ladder.

And even if Exotics fails to catch all of this right now, it might do better very soon. We plan to extend this work to traditional radio technical signatures and other emerging sources of radio leak radiation, including 5G systems, wifi, digital transmission, and deep space communications.

This will also include the cocoon of radio emission that will soon surround the Earth with huge growth satellite constellations Like Starlink and OneWeb they provide worldwide Wi-Fi coverage.

who do you know It may even be possible for aliens to decode the complex modification of our mobile communications systems. Ultimately, as Earth becomes artificially brighter at all wavelengths, the chances of us spotting us before we spot it cannot be ruled out.

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