Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sunday with physics and aliens

A fun article has appeared in talking of a novel way to look for extraterrestrial intelligence:
Has an advanced alien civilization built a black-hole-powered particle accelerator to study physics at "Planck-scale" energies? And if such a cosmic collider is lurking in a corner of the universe, could we detect it here on Earth?
Brian Lacki of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, New Jersey, has done calculations that suggest that if such an accelerator exists, it would produce yotta electron-volt (YeV or 1024 eV) neutrinos that could be detected here on Earth. As a result, Lacki is calling on astronomers involved in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) to look for these ultra-high-energy particles. This is supported by SETI expert Paul Davies of Arizona State University, who believes that the search should be expanded beyond the traditional telescope searches.
Oddly, one possible way of detecting such high energy neutrinos would be via an array of ocean hydrophones.   But the article indicates that they might also be detectable via radio signals when they hit the moon, and that experiment is underway in the NuMoon project, although how actively I can't really tell.  Here's a .pdf list of articles about it. 

All sounds rather fanciful, and as Paul Davies says, once the aliens find what they are looking for in this high energy experiment, why would they keep it operating anyway?

But speaking of detecting aliens, it just occurred to me that another possible explanation for the odd bright lights on Ceres (instead of the current speculation that they are natural ice plumes from solar heating) might be that they are the exhaust from an alien industrial process going on inside.

We like to think big on Sunday mornings....  

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