Scientist Says We Should Look for Advanced Aliens Around Stellified Planets

Monday, 08 August 2016 - 5:08PM
Astrobiology
Alien Life
Monday, 08 August 2016 - 5:08PM
Scientist Says We Should Look for Advanced Aliens Around Stellified Planets
In 2010: Odyssey Two, Arthur C. Clarke's sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey, Jupiter was "ignited" through a nuclear fusion process, and thereby became a small star. According to a new study, not only is there a possibility that that process could happen in real life, but it could be a sign that an advanced alien civilization is nearby.

Stellification, the process by which a brown dwarf or Jovian (giant) planet becomes a star, is hypothetical, but scientists have devised a few methods by which it could theoretically be achieved. We could artificially produce the reaction by nuking the body, or, since brown dwarf stars and giant planets, such as Jupiter, don't have sufficient mass to compress reactive elements and achieve nuclear fusion, we could force a reaction by increasing the density. This could potentially be achieved by "seeding" a black hole into the body. At first, the black hole would start consuming the planet, but then the mass amounts of radiation would prevent any further flow of material. The energy from the radiation would eventually make its way to the body's surface, and would illuminate the body like any other star. 

But, of course, moving a black hole to a convenient spot would require insanely advanced technology, more advanced than humans will be able to build in the near future. But if future humans are able to achieve this feat, as many scientists believe they will, then we could make certain planets habitable and/or capture excess energy through a Dyson sphere. Further, physicist and astrobiologist Milan M. Ćirković from the Astronomical Observatory of Belgrade believes that this process could be crucial to any civilization that achieves interstellar travel:

Opening quote
"If there are moons or planets around substellar objects-and we have recently detected planets around brown dwarfs-they could provide much habitable and industrial space," Ćirković told Gizmodo. "And since those objects are so numerous, they present excellent refueling stations for interstellar missions."
Closing quote

According to Ćirković, who has a study on the topic coming out in the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, says that if we achieved this feat with Jupiter, as advanced aliens did in 2010: Odyssey Two, then Jupiter's large moons—Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto—would likely all be habitable. So future humans will likely use the Galilean satellites as refueling stations, if we ever achieve interstellar travel. 

But not only could future humans take advantage of this idea, Ćirković argues that we can reasonably assume advanced aliens, should they exist, are already putting this plan into action. He says that while we may not be able to move black holes yet, it is theoretically possible for aliens with more advanced technology to create a miniature black hole in a lab and give it an electric charge so it can be manipulated using electric fields.

Of course, working with black holes will likely always be incredibly dangerous, and Ćirković cited worries about the black hole accidentally falling to Earth, or even being used in some sort of terrorist plot (I would love to watch that Bruce Willis movie):

Opening quote
"Also, in the latter phases of stellification, after about 100 million years or so, the stellified Jupiter will be extremely bright and might become quite unstable," he said. "This could jeopardize the rest of the Solar System, or an analogous planetary system for extraterrestrial stellifications."
Closing quote

But even though the process of stellification may be quite dangerous, and it's a hugely difficult task for observational astronomy to find stellified objects even if they do exist, Ćirković still thinks we should search for stellified objects to find advanced aliens. Even if all of these nightmare scenarios come true, these aliens would presumably be intelligent enough to mitigate the risks.

Opening quote
"Such tremendously advanced technological civilizations are likely to plan for all kinds of contingencies and things which could go awry," he said.
Closing quote

Image credit: The Universe

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