Laser signals can be sent to aliens located 20,000 light years away


According to recent findings, it is possible to create a detectable signal for extraterrestrial life by using a combination of existing technologies. Specifically, if a high-powered laser with a wattage of 1-2MW were focused through a large telescope ranging from 30-45m and directed into space, the resulting beam of infrared radiation would be strong enough to stand out from the Sun's energy.

Alien astronomers in our section of the Milky Way, especially those in nearby systems such as Proxima Centauri or TRAPPIST-1, could potentially detect such a signal. In fact, if the signal were spotted by astronomers in these systems, the same laser used to create the signal could be used to send a brief message in the form of pulses similar to Morse code.

While the idea of attracting alien attention may seem far-fetched, James Clark, a graduate student in MIT's Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics and author of the study, believes it is achievable with current and near-term technologies. Clark's conceptual design involved a large infrared laser and a telescope to further focus its intensity, with the aim of producing an infrared signal at least ten times greater than the Sun's natural variation of infrared emissions.

Through his analysis of various combinations of lasers and telescopes of different wattage and size, Clark determined that a 2-megawatt laser through a 30-metre telescope could produce a detectable signal for astronomers in Proxima Centauri b, which orbits our closest star 4 light years away. Likewise, a 1-megawatt laser directed through a 45-metre telescope would generate a clear signal for astronomers in the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system, located about 40 light years away.

Overall, Clark estimates that either set-up could produce a generally detectable signal from up to 20,000 light years away, with the required technology either already developed or within practical reach.


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