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If alien civilizations existed, they would use solar panels to produce energy, an unusual NASA study

If alien civilizations existed, they would use solar panels to produce energy, an unusual NASA study

New studies suggest that silicon solar panels found on extraterrestrial planets could constitute a detectable technological signature

If it is Aliens If they existed, they would likely use solar energy just like us. Think about it: silicon solar panels cover vast swaths of distant planets, creating technological signatures that can be detected by our telescopes. It’s a fascinating and tangible possibility, discovered by researchers from… NASA In a recent study. Could this extraordinary research revolutionize the way we search for signs of extraterrestrial life?

The article is titled Solar panels can be detected as a technology signatureIt will be published on Astrophysical Journal. The first author is Ravi Kopparapu From NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

In their study, the authors evaluated the possibility Detection of silicon-based solar panels On a planet in the Earth-like habitable zone. Silicon photovoltaic cells reflect a lot of ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared light, making them detectable by space missions like the Habitable Worlds Observatory.he). This mission will seek to locate and image Earth-like planets in habitable zones.

Of course, the authors do some hypothesis About a hypothetical extraterrestrial civilization that uses solar energy. They assume that they are using large silicon-based solar panels, that their planet orbits a sun-like star, and that silicon panels are cheap to produce and well suited to harnessing the energy of a sun-like star.

The difficulty of discovering strange solar panels

The authors explain that to generate enough energy to meet our needs on Earth, It is expected that only 2.4% of the Earth’s surface will be covered by silicon solar panels. However, to detect such coverage on an exoplanet, a telescope like HWO would require hundreds of hours of observation. Even if the planet were 23% covered in solar panels, distinguishing the light from the planet from the light from the star would still be very difficult.

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Furthermore, as technology advances, an extraterrestrial civilization could cover a smaller surface area than its planet to generate the same amount of energy, making it more difficult to detect.

In the end, it is It is unlikely Silicon-based solar panels on the planet’s surface create an easily detectable technological signature. Even with a sophisticated telescope and long hours of observation, distinguishing signals from a planet with high solar panel coverage would be extremely difficult, as the authors themselves explain:

We find that even with significant population growth, human civilization’s energy needs would be many times lower than the energy threshold of a Kardashev type I civilization or a Dyson sphere harvesting the energy of a star.

According to this theory, advanced civilizations need more and more energy, and eventually build massive structures to harvest all the available energy from their star. However, the results of this research suggest that we may never see one of these structures because they will no longer be needed.

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source: Astrophysical Journal

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