In recent years, mankind has become very good at finding other planets. Using instruments like the Kepler Space Telescope, scientists have, to date, discovered over 2,000 planets outside our Solar System, but what if some of those planets are inhabited by beings we’d rather not talk to, much less have drop in? Just in case any potential visitors are less ET and more Aliens, a pair of Columbia University scientists have figured out how to use lasers to hide the Earth from prying eyes by camouflaging its light signature.
If science fiction and human history have taught us anything, it’s that sometimes it’s a good idea to keep your head down. While the search for extraterrestrial civilisations has gone on for over a century, there are some thinkers, such as Stephen Hawking, who believe that advertising our own presence isn’t such a good idea and that beaming messages into space could lead to our being on the receiving end of an Independence Day scenario without the Hollywood ending.
The trouble is, keeping quiet isn’t enough. Professor David Kipping and graduate student Alex Teachey of Columbia contend that if we can find potentially habitable extrasolar planets, there’s no reason why we can’t be found in the same way. Therefore, they suggest camouflaging the Earth using lasers as a sort of cloaking device.