Archaeology has gone interstellar. We might be projecting our expectations of ourselves onto these unknown alien species, but such is life – and besides, why should we expect an Alien Utopia? Just because they choose not to settle in our Solar System or remain to date undetected perhaps trying to live in peace, if they have…
By now you have heard of the ‘odd’ behavior of the Keppler discovery KIC 8462852—a star about1,400 light-years from Earth that apparently suffers from irregular dimming and the scientific world has speculated that it may have some sort of “alien megastructure,” – a death star if you will, basically a vast array of orbiting solar panels. I’m not going to go into more details on this star, as if you are interest read my article – “ALIENs SHOULD ALWAYS BE THE LAST GUESS, unless they’re the obvious one…”
Eavesdropping on a tomb. At least that’s how SETI sees it. (For those not in the know- SETI stands for ‘Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence’ – coined in the 1960s.) In SETIs opinion, a true and meaningful search for extraterrestrial life includes looking for advanced structures that may have been built by an advanced society . Perhaps the idea came from reading Science Fiction but then hasn’t Science Fiction helped form Science Fact?
Regardless, not just SETI thinks that’s not a bad idea. Think about it, given the destruction we are capable of is it not plausible that a more advanced, scientifically would also have such a tendency?
So, how do we go about looking for such advanced structures with no host maintaining them? One method is to bypass the advanced structure and go directly to looking for the destruction. A planet blowing up, a land mass suddenly destroyed, and similar events could be what leads us to ET. Of course, some believe that this would offer us a clue as to how long we as a species have before we meet the same destruction.
Obviously SETI puts a lot of faith in the current and next generation of telescopes. Some can or will being to track much more than simple “seeing” a distant society, some will be able to detect biosignatures that would be possibly indicate the existence of ET.
AND not only biosignatures that would find life but biosignatures that would find necrosignatures-signs of death.
Perhaps a war of biological warfare or some other form would leave everyone dead. Enter Microorganisms which live in every society – alien or human, then we find the tell-tale signs in the form of methane or ethane levels in the atmosphere raised when the microorganisms that feast on the alien organisms.
Consider a scenario in which biological warfare rapidly wiped out a planet’s population. Microorganisms that cause decomposition would gorge themselves on alien corpses. In doing so, they would excrete chemical compounds, dramatically increasing the levels of methane and ethane in the atmosphere. While there would only be a short window for finding a society that self-destructed, that window stays open a tad longer if the destruction also took out the animal species.
Another clue might be the warm afterglow of a nuclear (or similar phenomenon) war. With the electrons and protons slamming into oxygen atoms and then producing a greenish glow; we may find them as if they had lite arrows with signs that say this way to the aliens. Basically such a disaster would mess up the atmosphere’s chemistry- with high temperatures the surrounding atmosphere would reach, then cooling down relatively quickly. This results in a chemical reaction that produces tons of nitric oxide, which depletes the concentration of the ozone layer in the atmosphere. There would also be a significant amount of dust lofted into the atmosphere.
Atmospheric dust is not the only explanation; such a situation could be explained by natural causes. A large asteroid, for instance, might have collided with the planet—although, granted, that distinction would matter little to anyone who was living there at the time- Having the same effect – destroying a future society.
Ultimately, there seems to be a place for a Space Archeologist. If we are to consider these possible methodologies for the locating of advanced societies than we also must retain archeologists to build up the history from the dismantled alien society.