Saturday, April 16, 2005

Look For Extraterrestrial Civilizations (Don't Just Listen)



By Bill Christensen
Space.com
4-15-05

     Should we be looking for extraterrestrial civilizations, rather than just listening for them, as we do in the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) project? That is the suggestion of a French astronomer, Luc Arnold, in his paper Transit Lightcurve Signatures of Artificial Objects. He believes that the transit of large artificial objects in front of a sun could be a used for the emission of attention-getting signals.

     In his paper, he describes the expected lightcurve signatures expected from passing objects of various shapes across a sun. The challenge is to use a shape that provides an unambiguous signature.

     In his 1970 classic Ringworld, science fiction author Larry Niven describes the discovery of an enormous artifact; a ring of material that completely surrounds a star, providing a staggering amount of living space. The alien species that discovered the star asks humans for their opinion on what they have found:

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