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Has science gone too far? Now boffins dream of shining gigantic laser pointer into space to get aliens' attention

Semtex451
Silver badge

Re: We are here, please exterminate us!

It is monumentally stupid

Dave 126
Silver badge

Re: We are here, please exterminate us!

They wouldn't destroy us for resources, they would destroy us because they cannot be sure we won't destroy them.

onefang

Re: We are here, please exterminate us!

"Letting them now there could be valuable resources to pillage does not seem very clever, does it?"

By the time the signal gets there, they organise themselves, and get back to us, we would have depleted all the valuable resources anyway. Unless they consider stupidity to be valuable.

jmch
Silver badge

Re: We are here, please exterminate us!

"I doubt aliens would be more pacifist than the human kind, I guess they would have gone through the same evolutionary process valuing fight over non-violence"

We don't have any idea of how any possible alien lifeforms could have developed and under what conditions. therefore that's an assumption made completely by extrapolating a single data point, which is ourselves.

jmch
Silver badge

Re: We are here, please exterminate us!

"there could be valuable resources to pillage"

If they're technically advanced enough to be able to come over and pillage us, they most likely have no use for any of our tech, have plenty of surplus energy and have access to mine more local (to them) asteroids / moons / planets.

DougS
Silver badge

It only takes one "Dalek" species in the galaxy

That goes out and exterminates every civilization they become aware of as a potential future threat. Even if 99.999% of species are curious and friendly (and I'm not so sure we'd qualify) the one aggressor would kill them off and dominate the galaxy unless an older friendly species saw them do that and decided to kill them off for the good of the rest.

We're probably better off looking rather than knocking on doors until we know a LOT more about what's out there. The odds don't favor the door knockers.

It's just me
Alien

Re: We are here, please exterminate us!

See: Dark Forest theory from the 2nd book in The Three-Body Problem trilogy, by Liu Cixin.

Edit: I see others already mentioned this.

chivo243
Silver badge
Trollface

It's a planet...

Armed with Frikken lasers

deadlockvictim
Silver badge

Big space lasers

Dammit! If we've got big space lasers then we've got to start blowing things up.

How about the moon? That might take a while. Some of them asteroids maybe?

Or sharks? Why do no sharks have lasers on them yet? It might help them survive their seemingly movie-induced extinction.

Fruit and Nutcase
Silver badge
Pint

We are from Trappist-1

We are from Trappist-1, and bring you Beer. We have come to find out if "Earth Girls Are Easy"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth_Girls_Are_Easy

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge
Happy

Re: We are from Trappist-1

If they're from Trappist 1, wouldn't they have to communicate all that by means of mime? Or write it down?

Tromos

Not a brilliant idea

I was just settling down to my 5-dimensional crossword when this flickery light disturbed my concentration. Pass me the yottawatt laser so I can swat the pesky thing out of existence.

Dave 126
Silver badge

Re: Not a brilliant idea

Indeed. The Dark Forest view dictates that we be destroyed casually.

DropBear
Silver badge

Re: Not a brilliant idea

No need to bother building (and powering) complicated stuff like that. When you're a super-evolved alien race you just tilt the nearest quasar until the beam points at us, and you never need to worry about us again...

Dave 126
Silver badge

The Dark Forest

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermi_paradox#It_is_dangerous_to_communicate

The Fermi paradox is "where the hell is everybody in this near infinite universe?". A possible answer is that everybody is hiding, since the only prudent course of action is to terminate with extreme prejudice any civilization you come into contact with. Even a technically inferior species should be wiped out, since their technology could advance rapidly in the blink of an eye over the timescales this game is being played.

The Dark Forest is the sequal to The Three Body Problem by Chinese sci fi author Liu Cixin. In his scenario, Earth advertising itself with a laser is akin to a naked infant dancing by a campfire in a dark forest full of hidden predators, who will dispassionately and efficiently destroy us as a matter of course.

Kaltern
Silver badge
Alien

Why?

Must admit, while I'm all for SETI and Breakthrough, I fail to see ANY point to this project.

Even the longest burst of laser is going to take hundreds of years to be detectable by ANY telescopic device in the galaxy because as we all know, light has to GET there first. And by the time it does, we may not even be here as a species.

It's a complete waste of time and resources. I like the idea of using it for a spacecraft energy source though...

Anonymous South African Coward
Silver badge
Coat

Turning Planet Earth into the Ultimate Death Star.

Darth Vader's on his way, pissed by the constant light bombardment.

And I'm outta here.

Big John
Silver badge
Megaphone

Talk to the tentacle

If there is a galactic community out there, they would have to have rules forbidding contact with races that haven't yet developed the ability to cross between stars, or else they'd be here already. I bet those rules specifically state that deliberate electromagnetic attempts at contact don't count, no matter how earnest the signaling.

But I'm sure they'd be extremely interested and would pay close attention to whatever we send out...

You're way ahead of me. First, we message them with a broad beam, saying we know they are listening. Then we taunt them mercilessly, using our most battle-hardened trolls, for years if necessary!

Even if they still refuse to respond, it will be fun for everyone. >:-)

jmch
Silver badge

Re: Talk to the tentacle

"Then we taunt them mercilessly"

"Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries ..."

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: Talk to the tentacle

...And here he is... Emissary of Humanity! Donald Trump!

If he's busy the whoever designs the social media for the Russian foreign ministry is probably our next best troll. And as both are equally useless to the rest of society - their time would be far better spent trolling the aliens.

My only worry is the the Galactic Federation of Peace may well hold a vote to say, "Just this once, fuck the Prime Directive and kill 'em all!"

Bernard M. Orwell
Silver badge
Alien

Re: Talk to the tentacle

"Then we taunt them mercilessly"

Yeah! If we can narrow the beam enough and get some precision, perhaps we could draw patterns in their staple crop fields. Send them some selfies, some graffiti and the occasional obscenity. They're bound to get it!

sisk
Silver badge

Re: Talk to the tentacle

...And here he is... Emissary of Humanity! Donald Trump!

On the one hand, it'd give him something to do other than create chaos on Earth with his idiotic ideas regarding foreign policy. On the other hand, do we REALLY want the face of humanity to the rest of the galaxy to be THAT?

mr_souter_Working

A good way to get the Galactic police at our door

we prosecute people for shining lasers at planes and people - I struggle to imagine how big the fine would be if we started strafing entire solar systems with a laser.......................

John Robson
Silver badge

Re: A good way to get the Galactic police at our door

You seem confused by the sheer distance involved, and the limited collimation possible.

The laser would be spread out over an entire solar system, it would be observable as a deviation from the spectral pattern of a normal star. It wouldn't be a blinding light...

David Harper 1

Reminiscent of Liu Cixin's "The Three-Body Problem"

Liu Cixin's science fiction trilogy "The Three-Body Problem" was mentioned earlier. This starts out with humans signalling their existence via an amplified radio signal. It's a superbly-written series of novels.

Toni the terrible

Re: Reminiscent of Liu Cixin's "The Three-Body Problem"

these books may or may not be well written but posit a most depressing universe

IHateWearingATie
Pint

As long as they shape the platform the laser is mounted on to look like a shark, then I'm in. Where's the crowd funding page?

Alister
Silver badge

Next door neighbours

Imagine how annoying it would be, if a next-door neighbour decided to set up a massive security floodlight in their backyard, pointing at your bedroom window, and let it switch on every time the wind blew the trees about.

You'd be tempted to chuck rocks at it, or something, wouldn't you?

Toni the terrible

Re: Next door neighbours

A neighbour of mine does have a security light that frequently goes on an off all night, throwing shadows of moving tree limbs on to my curtins - I thought of throwing rocks but it was much safer to buy truely opaque curtins.

Pointer2null

ping

64 bytes from alien.star: icmp_seq=1 ttl=64 time=23,653 years

anonymous boring coward
Silver badge

Big sign: FOOD HERE!!! --->

bobbear
Mushroom

Sigh..

I hope there's intelligent life somewhere in the universe as there's bugger all on earth..

It might get to our nearest star, Proxima Centauri, in a little over 4 years, and then another 4 years to receive a reply assuming there's a planet hosting intelligent life in the system, but I suspect 20,000 light years away may take a little longer, I'd guess about 20,000 + 20,000 years or so.. Trappist1 would be 39 +39 years give or take a second or three according to the published data...

"It would mean, that extraterrestrials over at Trappist-1, for example, would be constantly bombarded by the light." - No - a quick flash once a day, perhaps as the earth rotates and they'd only notice it if they had infra-red sensitive eyes of incredible sensitivity..

Is that the standard of MIT graduates/professors these days? We're doomed, (hence the icon)... I know this is to be taken with a pinch of salt but the old saying "people may think you are stupid, but why open your mouth and remove all doubt?" seems to apply here.. This has got to be clickbait, surely? It's the sort of bogus science that is seen every day in the media with their arts graduate 'science' correspondents..

Is it me or is the biological infestation on our little piece of rock getting dumber? Personally I blame leaded petrol/gas..

Geekpride
Megaphone

Constant talking

The initial speed-of-light delay would be most important for the initial "handshake" to make contact. After that, both parties can send information without waiting to be asked, passing on whatever they want to transmit and adding any questions they want answered. This allows much more to be communicated than "ask question.... wait.... receive answer" model that a lot of people seem to be assuming.

Credit to Isaac Asimov short story "My Son, the Physicist": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Son,_the_Physicist

Andy The Hat
Silver badge

I can just imagine the alien conversation ...

"Q'ta, did though sense a momentary, less than statistically significant increase in em emission through your fourth tenticular sensor?"

"Where Thwar'p? Gyrate your eighth ocular node in its general orientation."

"I though it came from that inconspicuous star over there. I've been monitoring it for the last billion years of our technologically advanced civilisation just in case another civilisation developed and decided to contact us with a sensible length communications stream, or the omnibus box-set of "East Enders of the Universe" which is a continuous data stream on Galactic Dave-ja-vu. Sorry, my mistake. I've licked the end of my tenticular sensor and it's gone ..."

A bit like any meteor watching session on Earth:

"Look at that one!"

"Where"

"Where you weren't looking and the opposite direction to that pointed at by your camera."

Crisp
Silver badge

What we need are a pair of massive mirrors orbiting the sun.

Make one of them semi transparent and we've got ourselves a huge frickin laser.

It's a communications device and a first strike weapon all in one!

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Daddy, how did the war of the worlds start?

Funny you should ask... It all started over a fight to "turn off that d*mned light".

MJI
Silver badge

So you have

a constantly evolving species with warlike tendancies, technology advancing quite fast, able to shine a laser at other planets.

Better jump on them quick!

MJI
Silver badge

Could we be advanced at some things?

Could we be more advanced than other advanced civilisations at certain things?

Jay Lenovo
Happy

Pop Culture Solution

Simply sprinkle some Reese's Pieces in your backyard.

Friendly Extra Terrestrials are soon to follow.

sisk
Silver badge

I can't help but feel that before doing something like this we should find a way to prove that the answer to the Fermi Paradox isn't berserker drones or some super advanced civilization that is actively hunting down and destroying all competition or something.

Not that I think that is the answer. Personally I ascribe to the "space is freaking big" solution to Fermi, but if it IS berserker drones then this is not how I'd want to be proven wrong.

ratfox
Silver badge
Alien

https://imgur.com/gallery/a9Wqj

Humans! Please don't send us any more unsolicited nude pics with instructions on how to get to your house. It's creepy.

Sincerely,

The Aliens.

dnicholas
Bronze badge

It's times like these it's worth pointing out that natives of new found lands here on earth didn't do too well after being "discovered". That some would hope for more of alien life speaks volumes of human stupidity

RobThBay

Playing with laser pointers

We already know that shining laser pointers at aircraft is a bad idea and they want to try it against ET's.

What could possibly go wrong?

xyz

I thought it was illegal...

...to shine a laser at people and pilots etc. I should imagine cosmic plod will hove into view sharpish and cuff the crims (i.e. us)

onefang

Re: I thought it was illegal...

"I should imagine cosmic plod will hove into view sharpish and cuff the crims (i.e. us)"

At least we get a response out of them, and answered some big questions, though obviously creating more questions. Like what should we do when big alien Bubba drops the soap with a grin?

codejunky
Silver badge

Hmm

So they get to watch starwars from our radio waves and then see a light coming from a planet sized object in space.

On a more serious note didnt some idiots start running around like headless chickens trying to appease some sky god over climate change? How does a large light source emitted from within our atmosphere (I would assume reducing effectiveness) which is bound to require some power factor in with pleasing their sky god? I doubt solar panels and monuments to the gods farts will power it.

Harry Kay
Stop

What if they get the message, and the reply is

"Stop bugging us.. P**s off!"

Zippy´s Sausage Factory
Coat

Do you want to attract space kittens?

Because that's how you find Space Kittens.

I'll get me coat...

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Science trying to imitate art?

A giant laser, visible by another species on another planet? Like the giant laser used to propel the Motie spacecraft in the Niven/Pournelle novel The Mote in God's Eye?

JCitizen
Trollface

Dr. Evil says;`

Its okay as long as we get sharks for that fricken lazer!

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