The scientist decided to find out how many telescopes humanity will need in order to find traces in space of the hypothetical presence of extraterrestrial technologies.
Iridium flashes are a very common sight for those who often look at the sky. They occur when sunlight reflects off the solar panels of low-orbiting satellites, which are based on the same iridium. The researcher, who devoted his work to the search for an extraterrestrial mind, wondered: can we see such flashes in outer space and what will it mean – maybe it’s the brilliance of an alien artifact or a spacecraft?
To figure this out, he figured out how a brilliant alien “technogram” might look. Our ability to see such a flash from the Earth depends on the surface area of the reflecting element, its orientation in space, rotation and, of course, cloudiness. And all these factors make the search for artificial alien objects not only difficult, but almost impossible. For example, the Pan-STARRS1 telescope in Hawaii, scanning the sky for potentially dangerous near-earth objects, can detect a mirror the size of a saucer at a distance of up to 1 astronomical unit (1 AU is equal to the distance between the Sun and the Earth). Now the telescope’s mirror diameter is 1.8 meters, and in order for it to detect an object of the same size, but rotating at high speed, you will need a mirror the size of a tennis court!
Considering all these variables, according to the researcher, there must be millions of mirrors in the Solar System alone – only then can we recognize xeno-artifacts. Chances can increase if you focus on Lagrange points – gravitational dips, where a hypothetical techno-trash naturally accumulates. In this case, you need only about a hundred telescopes, which is much more practical. But the fact that so far mankind has not observed such flashes in outer space does not mean that it is deserted. In the end, the aliens can simply clean up after themselves very well – and then it would be nice for earthlings to learn from them.