Imagine… that by nearly unanimous vote the United Nations Security Council have decided to fall prey to all the scientific hysteria about the dangers of coming in contact with extraterrestrial visitors. They took the few examples of higher developed cultures coming in contact with the less developed ones here on Earth and ran with it to the ludicrous extreme. Like these wholly human encounters followed some Universal guidebook for First contact. Basing encounters that creep out of the infinite darkness on how we humans react is beyond short-sighted. Humans have to be the exception as opposed to the rule… I hope.
We’ll superstition and fear apparently won out. Science took a back seat to ignorant fear and xenophobia. Humanity has decided to shut down the rabbit hole forever. No more trips to Wonderland. Humanity has purposefully gouged out its right eye. The loss of vision and possibility is a tragedy worse than the destruction of the Library of Alexandria. At least there all we lost was one planet’s greatest repository of ideas. Now we lost access to all galactic civilizations. A billion possible libraries of Alexandria forevermore beyond our reach. The Universes greatest terrors and dangers may be avoided by this planetary ostrich routine, but, we may also miss out on all the prizes, all the treasures, all the knowledge that the pantheon of galactic intelligence’s can produce. We have just guaranteed our own slow suffocating extinction.
Humanity must cease all efforts to contact extraterrestrials immediately. Humanity must do its collective best to hide our presence to Cosmo’s. This means no more space programs, no more Starshots, and no more Voyagers and Soujourners. Our Universe just shrunk to the size of a sphere whose diameter is the distance to low Earth orbit.
All sounds great in theory but how can such a galactic blackout be implemented?
It comes down to how extraterrestrials might search for life in the Universe. We only know how humans look for extraterrestrial life. It is a good starting point, but assuredly there are ways we have never fathomed.
Extraterrestrials might try to find Earth-like planets using the same techniques we do, including looking for the dip in light when a planet moves directly in front of the star it orbits.
These events — transits — are the main way that the Kepler mission and similar projects search for planets around other stars. So far Kepler alone has confirmed more than 1,000 planets using this technique, with tens of these worlds similar in size to the Earth. Speculation exists that alien scientists may use this approach to locate our planet, which will be clearly in the ‘habitable zone’ of the Sun, where the temperature is right for liquid water, and so be a promising place for life.
It is possible that planetary transits could be masked by controlled laser emission, with the beam directed at the star where the aliens might live. When the transit takes place, the laser would be switched on to compensate for the dip in the light.
Emitting a continuous 30 MW laser for about 10 hours, once a year would be enough to eliminate the transit signal, at least in visible light. The energy needed is comparable to that collected by the International Space Station in a year. A chromatic cloak, effective at all wavelengths, is more challenging and would need a large array of tunable lasers with a total power of 250 MW.
Alternatively, we could cloak only the atmospheric signatures associated with the biological activity, such as oxygen, which is achievable with a peak laser power of just 160 kW per transit. To another civilization, this should make the Earth appear as if life never took hold in our world.
As well as cloaking our presence, the lasers could also be used to modify the way the light from the Sun drops during a transit to make it obviously artificial, and thus broadcast our existence. I suggest that we could transmit information along the laser beams at the same time, providing a means of communication.
This Draconian future does not need to be. We must support the sciences. We must not let the forces of two-thousand-year-old religious dogma kill our future, kill our dreams, and kill the drive to a better future. This is not just fantasy. There are powerful anti-science lobbies with very deep pockets that would just love to kill funding for the Sciences and poke out its eyes to see the truth. Please, my dear reader, do not support any bill or legislation that purposefully blinds our vision for the future.
Remember that there is no book on any side of the Universe that has all the answers to Life, The Universe, and Everything. Sorry, Douglas.
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