Science

Laser cloak To Hide Earth From Aliens

We’ve been relentlessly trying to make contact with aliens in an attempt to prove the existence of intelligent life beyond Earth. But what if this “life” turns out to be too intelligent?

The Kepler space telescope has already discovered thousands of exoplanets by watching for the shadow a planet creates as it passes in front of its star during orbit, just like Earth does. If Alien civilizations are also looking for life, wouldn’t they also notice us? Our planet orbits its star at just the right distance for liquid water to form on its surface which is necessary for life to develop as far as we know.

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Two astronomers from Columbia University have a potential solution to the alien invasion scenario: We could cover our tracks using lasers. David Kipping and his co-author have calculated that, instead of letting our planet’s shadow cross the sun, we could shoot a laser beam to intercept any aliens that are potentially watching. How cool would that be?!

Kipling, who is an astronomer at Columbia University in New York, said he first considered this idea when he heard about the strangely dimming star that was detected recently by NASA’s Kepler space telescope.

The laser cloak, which can be considered like a Harry potter invisibility cloak, could fire a 30 MW later for about 10 hours per year during the time frame when we might be crossing the field of view of an alien civilization. That laser would compensate for the loss of brightness, and could be powered using less electricity than it takes to power 40 American homes.

Kipling says “You can even go further and use these tunable lasers to cloak just the biosignatures of the Earth, making our planet look like a boring dull lifeless world (that costs only a couple hundred kW of power).”