Which is easier to find in space: Traces of life or alien technology?

Scientists analyzed the Drake equation from the point of view of modern means of observing space. They came to the conclusion that now it is easier to find traces of ancient technologies than signs of biological life.

Life in space will help to find alien technologies, such as the Dyson Sphere. Source: Wikipedia

Drake equation in terms of modern researchers

Scientists from Pennsylvania State University have tried to take a fresh look at the Drake equation. This formula allows us to count the number of intelligent species in our Galaxy that we can come into contact with. Although this is an empirical expression, the value of the coefficients in which we do not even know approximately, it is considered the best that we have now for theoretical constructions on the search for civilizations in space.

However, Frank Drake devised the formula in 1961, when practically the only manifestation of an extraterrestrial civilization that people could see was a radio signal. Therefore, first of all, the equation talked about the possibility of finding just such evidence of extraterrestrial life. But since then, many new approaches to its search have appeared.

But the samples of technology, except for the radio signal in the Drake equation, are not taken into account in any way. In the article published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, they tried to modify Drake’s equations in accordance with the realities of modern astronomy.

Modified Drake equation. Source: University of Rochester

Search for biomarkers

The main change in the equation is that scientists have separated the signs of biological life and traces of technology, and for each of these parameters they calculated the possibility of finding. The possibility of finding biomarkers in space is exactly the fundamental change that has occurred in astronomy over the past 60 years.

Scientists have learned to determine the presence of oxygen, water, carbon dioxide and other compounds at a great distance. Their presence may be a sign of life. On Earth, organisms existed for billions of years before mankind invented the radio transmitter. Therefore, the possibility that we will be the first to find biomarkers, and not a radio transmission, is now considered by scientists as very high.

But biological life has disadvantages in terms of detection. Usually the biosphere, devoid of intelligent beings, functions only within one planet. And with the death of all living things, it will be very difficult to detect its remains.

And in practice, when it comes to distances greater than our Solar System, finding biomarkers is not easy. The first instrument potentially capable of finding life in another star will be the James Webb Space Telescope. However, it is only preparing for this task.

Is it easy to find alien technology in space

Considering the above, the authors of the study advise paying more attention to the search for extraterrestrial technologies. They can remain after the death of civilization for a long time. And even if the samples of mechanisms become non-functional, their total disappearance does not occur as quickly as in the case of the remains of living organisms.

In addition, the authors of the publication note that living beings on Earth create technology, including to get out of their own world. This means that technical samples may not be tied to a particular planet in any way. Moreover, they can potentially be found near many stars.

Thus, an interesting situation is happening. Biological life can theoretically be found on very many planets, since it has existed there for much longer than civilization. However, technologies can spread far beyond their boundaries in a short period of time and remain intact for millions of years.

According to Рhys.org

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