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article imageProf. has way for Earth to cloak itself, hide from alien planets

By Marcus Hondro     Apr 5, 2016 in Odd News
A professor at Columbia University has found a simple way for the Earth to hide from other planets who may not have nice intentions should they discover us. It's a bit cloak without the dagger but he feels we should consider it.
Discovering planets
Professor David Kippling is an astronomer at New York's Columbia University and he and a graduate student, Alex Teachey, have come up with the scheme. Kippling says the technology is there and it offers humankind "a choice." Should we hide or should we stay vulnerable?
"There is an ongoing debate as to whether we should advertise ourselves or hide from advanced civilisations potentially living on planets elsewhere in the galaxy," Kippling said. "Our work offers humanity a choice, at least for transit events, and we should think about what we want to do."
The two astronomers believe that aliens on other planets might well come upon us, spot the Earth using the method that we Earthlings have used to spot some 1,000 or more planets outside of our Solar Systems.
That method, used by NASAs powerful Kepler telescope, seeks tiny dips of light passing in front of a star. The dips in light indicate a planet that is in orbit around that star.
Hiding the Earth
To hide ourselves, essentially to put a cloak around our tiny dip of light as we pass in front of our Sun, all we'd have to do, the two say, is beam out a 30 megawatt (MW) laser blast for 10 continuous hours once per year.
In fact, Teachey says that is not the only manner of hiding ourselves. The other one involves letting them see us but making them think there are no living creatures on Earth.
"Alternatively, we could cloak only the atmospheric signatures associated with biological activity, such as oxygen, which is achievable with a peak laser power of just 160 kW per transit," he said. "To another civilisation, this should make the Earth appear as if life never took hold on our world."
Find a dip in light in front of a star? Or say discover a few biological signals? Bingo! You've found a planet. So someone could do the same to us and naturally Kippling and Teachey figure if they found us they could, were they rather mean, do us harm. Even take us over, as they do in countless movies.
There's been no response to their suggestions and to date it doesn't look like the notion of hiding in plain sight in the Universe is going to take hold. Let us hope we don't realize too late that it's actually a good idea.
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