Starlink satellites.
Credit: SpaceX

 

The gaggle of SpaceX Starlink satellites circling the Earth stirs up the idea of installing planetary megastructures around our planet and the detection of that constellation of spacecraft by extraterrestrials as a “technosignature.”

 

A technosignature is a marker indicating that a particular technology is/was used by a particular society.

“Such a huge number of satellites, distributed over almost the whole surface of the Earth might be considered as the first prototype of a possible megastructure around the Earth, which in principal might be visible from the cosmos.”

That’s the view behind a new paper written by Zaza Osmanov of the Free University of Tbilisi in Tbilisi, Georgia.

Credit: Bill Schoening, Vanessa Harvey/REU program/NOAO/AURA/NSF

Alien lookout

One has to note that the SpaceX Starlink satellites use radio communication, Osmanov notes in the research paper. Similarly, perhaps this Earth-circling network underscores the ability to look for technosignatures of alien civilizations.

A reasonable question to ask is whether it’s possible to detect ET radio signals by means of China’s now-operating Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST) in southwest China’s Guizhou Province?

Faraway construction, Osmanov adds, would be visible in the infrared spectrum, which might be detectable by Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) instruments up to the distance of 260 light years, with roughly 103 Solar-type stars.

Osmanov concludes that extrapolating the idea that SpaceX’s Starlink constellation as a planetary megastructure is viable. “It has been found that for reasonable parameters FAST can detect such radio sources from relatively large distances.”

To read the paper — “From the SpaceX Starlink megaconstellation to the search for Type-I civilizations” – go to:

https://arxiv.org/pdf/2103.07227.pdf

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