The Hunt for Astroengineering #SpaceSaturday

From an unimaginable distance, how can we find signs of an advanced civilization? Some alien hunters, or at least those who aren’t looking to the pyramids and crop circles, suggest that any advnaced vicilzatoion would be able to engineer on a solar scale, and technology that immense would be detectable with today’s science. Here’s more from Centauri Dreams:

Key to the concept is the idea that any flourishing (and highly advanced) extraterrestrial civilization will need to find sources of energy to meet its growing needs. An obvious source is a star, which can be harvested by a sphere of power-harvesting satellites. The notion, which Dyson presented in a paper in Science in 1960, explains how a search could be conducted in its title: “Search for Artificial Stellar Sources of Infrared Radiation.” In other words, comb the skies for infrared anomalies.

I strongly favor this ‘Dysonian’ approach to SETI, which makes no assumptions at all about any decision to communicate. As we have no possible idea of the values that would drive an alien culture to attempt to talk to us – or for that matter to any other civilizations – why not add to the search space the things that we can detect in other ways. However it is constructed, a Dyson sphere should produce waste heat as it obscures the light from the central star. Infrared searches could detect a star that is strangely dim but radiant at infrared wavelengths, and we might also find changes in brightness as such a ‘megastructure’ evolves that vary on relatively short timeframes.

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