The Economist's Modest Proposal: Talking to Our Alien Neighbours Using a Neutrino Based Communication Network


Wed, Apr 13th, 2011 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Smart aliens, argues The Economist, wouldn't be using lasers or radio signals to communicate over long distances -- they'd be using a particular particle that we barely pay any attention to because although abundant, they are a pain in a scientist's ass to detect. That particle? Neutrinos.

To detect artificial neutrinos using existing telescopes means screening out the natural neutrino background. Fortunately, much of that is produced by nuclear reactions in stars, and such stellar neutrinos have relatively low energies. If the aliens made their beams out of neutrinos that were a billion times more energetic than the ones emanating from stars (something the researchers argue is not completely beyond the bounds of current technological imagination), the background noise would disappear. At high enough energies the rest of the galaxy is so quiet that if someone detected even a couple of energetic neutrinos arriving from the same direction, it would almost certainly mean they were artificial.

You can read the entire article here, which explains in better detail how to use a sun as the broadcasting piece so that our message would be heard all over the galaxy. Still leaves me wondering why would we want to advertise to aliens that we exist?



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