Satellite dish view at night with milky way in the sky. (Shutterstock.com/sdecoret)
Alien civilizations could be attempting to communicate with us using extremely advanced neutrino-based communication systems and we may be unable to detect it, according to a Thursday Universe Today article.
Scientists think that an advanced alien civilization may have moved beyond radio waves in favor of using neutrinos or other exotic particles as forms of communication. If true, this means that humanity has been searching for aliens using the wrong techniques.
Previous Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) radio astronomy surveys used radio waves because they were the only practical means of locating aliens. However, scientists now suspect that an alien civilization would likely use a more exotic means of communication.
“We are not really sure of how extraterrestrials would communicate with us,” Dr. Morris Jones, a SETI analyst, told Universe Today. “Would they use radio waves, lasers, or something more exotic? Perhaps the universe is awash in extraterrestrial signals that we cannot even receive.”
One of the best potentials methods for an extraterrestrial civilization to communicate is neutrinos, a type of subatomic particle that is produced by the decay of radioactive elements and interacts with matter very weakly. This allows them to pass through solid matter, but makes them detectable only with extremely specialized equipment that SETI hasn’t used to search for aliens yet.
“Is it possible to transmit with something better than we already have?” Jones said. “Until we know a lot more physics, we just won’t know. Humanity in the twenty-first century could be like an isolated tribe in the Amazon jungle a century ago, unaware that the air around them was filled with radio signals.”
Neutrino based communication offers a potential solution to the Fermi Paradox, the question of why scientists haven’t yet detected aliens. The universe is vast enough that if intelligent alien life was common, logically scientists should have detected it by now. Since many previous SETI searches for advanced aliens looked for radio emissions, not neutrinos, this may offer a solution to the paradox.
“SETI practitioners spend a lot of time wondering how a message would be encoded in terms of language and content,” Jones said. “It’s also important to consider the medium of transmission.”
Human being have already developed the technology to use lasers for communication, but SETI telescopes haven’t searched for lasers nearly as much as radio waves.
However, alien civilizations still could use radio bursts to communicate. Scientists still can’t explain mysterious signals from deep space called fast radio bursts (FRB) — millisecond long pulses of radio light originating from extremely deep space. These FRBs could be evidence of advanced alien technology as they are roughly one billion times more luminous than anything ever detected in our own Milky Way galaxy.
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