Astrophysicist Suggests Earth's Light May Attract Aliens Who Wish To 'Enslave Us, Eat Us, or Destroy Us.'

Thursday, 01 August 2019 - 12:05PM
Dystopias
Thursday, 01 August 2019 - 12:05PM
Astrophysicist Suggests Earth's Light May Attract Aliens Who Wish To 'Enslave Us, Eat Us, or Destroy Us.'
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Earth and its inhabitants haven't exactly kept a low profile since the introduction of electric lamps in the 19th century. Once wired, it seems there was no turning back: now entire countries are dependent on fragile power grids that provide electricity that nearly mimics actual 24/7 daylight to the extent that in some cities, we have enough light pollution to all but blot out the stars. 


One scientist says that may be the least of our problems; that our high light profile may make us highly visible to extraterrestrials. This scenario, however implausible, was raised by Jacco van Loon, an astrophysicist at England's Keele University, in an essay published in The Conversation yesterday.


"Images of the Earth at night reveal our presence in spectacular fashion," van Loon writes. "Cities and roads outline the contours of continents, while oil platforms dot the seas and ships draw lines across the ocean. This type of light, which has replaced older, incandescent sources, is unnatural. From the orange sodium or bluish mercury lamps, to white-light emitting diodes (LEDs), the artificial origin of this "spectrum" should be easy for technologically advanced aliens to spot."

Opening quote
In the coming decades Earth's space agencies may be developing the means to detect such artificial light from planets around other stars. But we may fail, if aliens believe the smartest thing to do is to keep quiet and remain in the dark.
Closing quote



It's not just our streetlights and LEDs (looking at you, Times Square) that concern van Loon. He's also a bit wary of efforts like those being made by SETI which involve beaming radio signals into space. Moreover, our internal communications systems might also pose a security vulnerability in terms of being detected.


"Listening, van Loon says, "is much safer. But radio communication among ourselves – which includes navigation, television broadcasts and the internet – might also be detected from space."


Opening quote
Unintentionally, we may already have been observed by an amused, terrified or "interested" species, who may decide to meet us to "shake hands", or come to enslave us, eat us, or destroy us as a precaution. We are, after all, an aggressive species ourselves.
Closing quote



Perhaps we might think about dimming the lights and quieting down a bit.




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