News Stories

Alien Pollution

Another way to spot intelligent life! - While we keep hoping that disclosure will come soon, scientists are trying to figure out how to spot alien life. One clue might be the pollution they leave behind.

The chemicals known as CFCs absorb infrared light at characteristic wavelengths, making them detectable in the atmosphere even when present at concentrations of only parts per trillion. CFCs do not form naturally, so detecting them is evidence of alien technology. In New Scientist, David Shiga quotes researcher Lisa Kaltenegger as saying, "CFCs are a very interesting idea to look for advanced civilizations." But we need an telescope more sensitive than the ones we have now to pick them up. Kaltenegger says it may be possible "in the far future with a flotilla of infrared telescopes in space."

Other artificial compounds also have characteristic infrared fingerprints. Shiga quotes researcher Jim Kasting as saying, "There's a whole host of things we make industrially as solvents, cleaners and refrigerants [and] they certainly have absorption lines. If you had a big enough telescope, you could detect them."

We'll be ready to welcome them when they come, so let's just hope they're friendly! And for subscribers, Anne Strieber says she has figured out what they're doing here!

Art credit: Dreamstime.com

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