Friday, May 23, 2008

Hello... This neutrino message is for you!

Wired Science blog makes a good point for how advanced alien cultures might communicate with us. Many of the choices we now are exploring and investigating for have some major draw backs. The worst of which is that they all are susceptible to attenuation due to noise of one type or another. Enter the mysterious neutrino.

From the Wired online blog:

First detected in 1953, neutrinos pass easily through most matter making it possible for your signal to pass through the Milky Way without being blocked by stars and interstellar dust. They are also not subject to the "noise" of optical and radio waves traveling alongside them through space. Aliens with access to abundant power (one neutrino production technique requires 3% the output of our sun, another is within range of earthly thermonuclear power plants) could send pulsed and directional neutrino messages to us. Luckily we are building elaborate neutrino detectors already (they must be very large and built deep underground or water to shielded from cosmic rays and other background radiation). The United States is building a neutrino detector called IceCube in Antarctica to detect naturally occurring neutrinos for scientific research. If they were to detect neutrinos at 6.3 petaelectron-volts (PeV) it could be a tell-tale sign of an artificially constructed signal, since there is no known natural process that would create neutrinos of that energy level. Researchers on earth however have identified two ways that such neutrinos could be created in the lab. Maybe we will soon be smart enough to be able to hear from more advanced civilizations.

Check out "Looking for ET's neutrino beam" at physicsworld online magazine for an in depth article on detecting and generating pulsed neutrinos

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