How we built a real alien starship detector by ‘mistake’ (science news).

The Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (aka LIGO) in Louisiana, USA is on a mission to detect gravitational waves, ripples in space-time caused by the most energetic and violent processes in the universe. But according to a team of US scientists, LIGO could also potentially detect “warp drives” – potential superluminal spacecraft propulsion that could signal the presence of alien spaceships darting through the Milky Way.

This is not just science fiction, as gravitational waves are a real phenomenon predicted by Einstein’s theory of general relativity. These waves are caused by massive accelerating objects such as neutron stars or black holes, and they carry information about their origins and clues about the nature of gravity itself. While Einstein’s prediction was not proven until 20 years after his death, in 1974, astronomers used the Arecibo Radio Observatory in Puerto Rico to do so.

So could LIGO really detect alien spaceships using warp drives? According to lead author Gianni Martire, CEO of New York think tank Applied Physics, the odds are in our favor. With trillions of stars in the universe, it’s highly unlikely that none of them host intelligent alien life capable of developing this technology. In fact, LIGO has the ability to detect such craft within about 326,000 light years of Earth, and more sensitive planned gravitational wave detectors could extend that distance even further.

Of course, these alien spaceships would have to be massive, potentially as big as a gas giant like Jupiter, and moving at a speed of about a tenth the speed of light, or almost 20,000 miles per second. And while some critics may argue that comets could produce gravitational waves that could be mistaken for warp drives, Martire assured us that “you can tell between a rock and a warp drive the same way you can tell whether a jetski went past or a boat.”

So let’s hope LIGO is successful in its mission to detect gravitational waves, and possibly even the presence of alien spaceships. Who knows, we may even make contact with extraterrestrial civilizations and join the ranks of Starfleet like in the beloved TV series Star Trek. Until then, we’ll just have to keep our eyes on the sky and our ears to the ground for any updates on this exciting research.

How we built a real alien starship detector by 'mistake' (science news).

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