This is life on Kepler b. What we know Not a lot. But what we do know is enough to be exciting. The simple fact to remember is we cannot actually see Kepler b.
Whereas Dyson proposed that intelligent species could eventually create megastructures to harness the energy of their stars, Kardashev offered a three-tiered classification system for intelligent species based on their ability to harness the energy of their planet, solar system and galaxy, respectively.
With missions that are now capable of locating extra-solar planets i.
Unfortunately, aside from some very arguable resultsno concrete evidence has yet come to light. Lucky for us, in a study from the Free University of Tbilisi, Professor Zaza Osmanov offers some new insight on why megastructures may have eluded us so far.
While fascinating, the idea of alien megastructures invariably suffers from the same problem as all other attempts to find signs of intelligent life in our Universe. Basically, if intelligent life exists, why have we consistently failed to find any evidence of it?
This conundrum, which was summed up by Enrico Fermi in the s thereafter known as the Fermi Paradoxhas hung like a shadow over all our efforts. However, they were quick to point out that any number of possibilities could explain the strange dimming pattern coming from the star, and subsequent studies offered even more plausible explanations — such as the star having consumed a planet at some point in its past.
To this, Osmanov has argued that the problem is that we are looking in the wrong places. Last year, he wrote a research paper in which he ventured that an alien super civilization — i.
Furthermore, he argued that these Dyson Rings would likely be built around pulsars rather than stars, and offered estimates on their dimensions which were dependent on the rotational speed of the pulsar.
Specifically, he addressed how alien megastructures could be spotted by identifying their infrared energy signatures, and at what kinds of distances. By examining how such structures would vary in terms of the amount of IR radiation they would emit, he believes that they could be spotted within our local Universe using existing instruments.
As he states in the paper: It has been argued that for such distances the sphere will be in the so-called habitable zone HZ and therefore the sphere will have the temperature of the order of — Kmaking this object visible in the infrared spectrum.
According to his calculations, a ring-like megastructure that orbited a pulsar at this distance would emit temperatures on the order of K Ever since it was first announced inthere has been speculation as to what could account for the dimming of KIC We have argued that by monitoring the nearby zone of the Solar System approximately 64 pulsars are expected to be located inside it.
As such, finding megastructures at this distance would require telescopes that can conduct surveys in the UV band — which corresponds to the surface temperatures of neutron stars K. However, this would have to wait upon the development of more sensitive instruments.
Not likely, but a fun thought experiment. And with existing IR telescopes — and next-generation telescopes like the James Webb Space Telescopes — up to the task, some surveys could be conducted that would yield valuable information either way.
The concept of alien megastructures remains a controversial one, and for good reason. For one, the potential evidence for such structures — i. Second, there is an undeniable degree of wishful thinking when it comes to the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence, which means that any findings could be subject to bias.
Nevertheless, the search for intelligent life remains a very fascinating field of study, and a necessary one at that. Not only would finding other examples of life in our Universe put to rest one of the most burning existential questions of all time — are we alone?
Is all life carbon based, are there other possibilities, etc?
We would like to know! In the end, the Fermi Paradox will only be resolved when we find definitive evidence that there is intelligent life out there other than our own. In the meantime, we can expect that we will keep searching until we find something.
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