A pair of MIT researchers are thinking about the time we made the first move and arrived at aliens and we have described what the right tools to work for in a new study.
Assuming that extraterrestrial intelligence exists somewhere in the galaxy, the couple examined the idea of a powerful laser light that could attract the attention of aliens up to 20,000 light-years away.
This "feasibility study" conducted by MIT scientists, published in The Astrophysical Journal, Justifies how all the technology required to build such a lighthouse is already available today.
While the notion of such an alien tractor may sound silly, the authors of the study believe it will increase the likelihood of a handshake with alien spacecraft that can search our corner for the Milky Way galaxy.
The planetary system closest to our Sun – Proxima Centauri or the TRAPPIST-1 system, which hosts 3 potentially habitable planets only 40 light-years away – could be a great place to start, the writers I said university type.
A well-constructed, continuous signal in space that carries a short message in the form of pulses, such as the Morse code, for example, would require some heavy tools. In particular, researchers believe that a 1 to 2 megawatt high energy laser that shines through a massive 35 to 45 meter telescope that targets space will make the trick.
The strong beam produced by such an installation would be strong enough to distinguish it from the sun's rays.
Like many of the largest space observers, the researchers expect a laser beacon to be built on a mountain so the laser keeps as much energy as it passes through the atmosphere.
"The types of lasers and telescopes currently manufactured can produce a detectable signal … an astronomer could take a look at our star and immediately see something unusual about his spectrum," James Clark, a postgraduate student at the School Aeronautics and Astronautics of the MIT study, I said university type.
"I do not know if the intelligent creatures around the sun would be their first guess, but it would definitely attract more attention."
The Clark study found that such a laser is, in fact, technically feasible. He can even see the light of day in months if more people saw the effort worthwhile. One of the biggest challenges for accepting it is the possibility of detecting the beam from any imaginable life at all.
"With current research methods and instruments, it is unlikely that we will be really lucky to imagine a flash beacon, assuming aliens are there and doing them," Clark told the press.
"As the infrared spectra of the exoplanets are studied for traces of gases that indicate the viability of life and as research in the sky achieves greater coverage and become faster, we can be more confident that if ET calls, we will detect it."