Considering how we are looking at the skies ever more intently these days, seeking out the wobbles with stars that indicate they have planets orbiting them, I wonder why no one has considered other traces of life. I know that Freeman Dyson suggested looking for infra-red traces for potential spheres surrounding whole stars but that makes the assumption that aliens would want to preserve themselves with bigger habitats around their home star. It’s still a bit of a long shot when it would be more economical to just move onto another star system. Something which we might have to consider doing ourselves one day. You would have thought there would be the means to seek out other technological advancements or even means of travel. Although I doubt if we’d ever likely spot a generation starship until it came to or near our star system because it would be moving so slow, that isn’t the only option.
After all, starships would also move pretty fast. Assuming that they can travel up to nearly the speed of light in our regular reality, at a distance we would see a long light across the sky and if coming in or away from our direction, a bright light. Its colour determined by the Doppler effect which would distinguish it from a star simply because fuels would contain other fuel contaminants. That’s what I mean by technology spotting. A spaceship capable of reaching high velocity nearing the speed of light would surely expend some detectable energy. Even if we’re very unlikely to find artefacts in our own star system, little signs like that might at least indicate that there are starfaring species out there doing the seeking new life malarkey. Starships to some extent must have limitless energy and I doubt if they’d coast along when they need so much thrust to get up to the right velocity, let alone slowing down again at their destination. Even so, we’d still see some sign of them moving about. Of course, that also assumes they stay within our reality and that whatever they use as propellant has a contrail that can be seen.
Energy signatures would also be the means to determine the likes of teleportation simply because there would have to be some disruption in the electromagnetic spectrum when it happens to displace the matter that was there in the first place. Although there are different ways to teleport in Science Fiction, this would surely happen with any matter/energy displacement.
This would be exaggerated even more with time travel. Both it and teleportation are temporarily violating the Conservation of Matter/Energy Law in a big way. No doubt the universe would probably compensate for it in some way to maintain its own equilibrium if possible but still it would leave a trace of happening. One would expect to see some sort of entanglement exchange happening if it was possible.
As with all things, even with the primitive technology we have today, such events would still be detectable. Of course, that would mean that they are happening or, as with interstellar travel, have happened in the distant past. I don’t know about you, but unless potential alien races have discovered the same limitations that we’ve found so far, it means we’re all stuck where we are.
Something that should be considered if the effect of observing any of these phenomena is that it would indicate a particular technology or natural effect is possible. That would certainly have meant some serious investigation to follow suit.
This doesn’t mean any of these aren’t happening. Our ability to really examine the cosmos has only gone up in recent years. Far too early to see such things or add to the list to check. However, it must surely have a better advantage than looking for radio transmissions.
Any spacefaring race that far away could always be extinct by now. If technological advances happen in the kind of spurts like we have, I doubt if any alien species out there wouldn’t have gone far ahead of us or just gone extinct. But that isn’t really the point. In an alien culture, there will be a need to travel as fast a possible, if not for experience than surely for survival and you can’t get faster than near light speed travel. Even if they folded space, they would still need to attain such a velocity before doing so. The fact that nothing’s been seen still doesn’t mean anything really but if you really wanted to see if anything was moving amongst the stars that was possibly alien-made, that would be the kind of thing I would be looking for. It stands a better chance than finding alien monoliths in our star system or listening out for radio signals. Once located, we could at least have the possibility to chart their routes and even to see if they have a home star which opens a lot more possibilities of where to look. After all, an alien species activities would surely be along those lines for its own survival than looking for other species at a distance that is beyond its reach which is pretty much what we should be doing.
© GF Willmetts 2014
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