back to article Has science gone too far? Now boffins dream of shining gigantic laser pointer into space to get aliens' attention

Space agencies and private citizens spend millions of dollars and countless hours hunting for signs of extraterrestrial life. Yet, there may be an easier way to find intelligent civilizations, according to a pair of researchers from MIT in the US. Instead of sending spacecraft out into space or listening for a signal on …

  1. Obesrver1
    Devil

    They threw in the idea of big flashing arrows and a sign we are here.

    It seems we don't have any advanced tech that aliens want.

    So now we have to go back to provoking them to get them to come here and tell us to stop.

    Makes sense once you get over the fact that aliens never probed peoples' backsides - it was rodents eating into cows via the easiest method; or abducting people - it was a person with hydrocephalus, and little medical record of procedure to remedy it, causing nightly pressure on her brain & visuals caused a blinding whitening effect;

    1. jmch Silver badge

      "It seems we don't have any advanced tech that aliens want."

      If we have tech that is more advanced than that of any hypothetical intelligent technological aliens, even if any of them lived within range of this laser they wouldn't be able to detect it. If they CAN detect it and are so (realtively) close, they probably already know about us.

      Given galactic timescales it's incredibly improbable that any aliens within range are at the exact point in their development that they can detect (and possibly reply to) this signal, but not yet be able to travel intergalactically.

      1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
        Alien

        Yes they do know about us

        and they want you to stop blowing up their homes on Mars

      2. not.known@this.address Bronze badge
        Alien

        "We don't have any tech that aliens want"

        Just because we seem to think science advances at the same speed in all disciplines doesn't mean any prospective aliens would agree - if they only have shallow oceans then they would never develop submarines, and if they are vegetarian then they might not have developed any weaponry since few plants run away...

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: "We don't have any tech that aliens want"

          Vegetarians would still develop weapons, because at some point they'd compete with other vegetarians for limited plant resources e.g. during drought. Humans might have originally developed weapons to kill and eat animals that run away, but we wouldn't have needed to advance beyond much beyond spears if that was the only reason. We certainly wouldn't have tanks and nukes.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    better use for the laser is to shine it onto solar sails of space craft to help them along whilst saving fuel.

  3. heyrick Silver badge

    Giant laser attached to a telescope blasting into space...

    Am I the only person on earth that has watched a movie called "Howard The Duck"? It starts off as exactly this...

    1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      Re: Giant laser attached to a telescope blasting into space...

      No, there was this other guy, in Canada I think, who watched it as well.

      1. Tempest8008

        Re: Giant laser attached to a telescope blasting into space...

        I DID NOT!!!

      2. John Savard Silver badge

        Re: Giant laser attached to a telescope blasting into space...

        Do you mean me? I lived in Canada, and I watched it, at least when it aired on premium cable.

  4. Chris King Silver badge

    This won't end well...

    The aliens have probably been observing our world, and decided that we're still too primitive, stupid and violent enough to bother dealing with. ("We shall wait for the ignorant monkeys to blow themselves off the face of the planet, then begin negotiations with the cockroaches")

    What if they interpret that laser beam as saying "come and have a go if you think you're hard enough" ? I mean, it's bad enough that we sent the Voyager probes out with a bunch of nude pics of ourselves and told them where we live.,

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: This won't end well...

      This does have all the sense of randomly knocking on people's doors in the middle of the night. Some might be friendly but most will irritated and some percentage will be armed.

    2. Suricou Raven

      Re: This won't end well...

      They've observed our world, they just classified it under "no intelligent life."

      1. Wedge2

        Re: This won't end well...

        "They've observed our world, they just classified it under "no intelligent life."

        Mostly Harmless.

    3. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: This won't end well...

      Quote

      ("We shall wait for the ignorant monkeys to blow themselves off the face of the planet, then begin negotiations with the cockroaches")

      Hoorah my time will come.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: This won't end well...

        Hoorah my time will come.

        Despite your handle being Boris the Cockroach, I read that in Zoidberg's voice because its totally a thing he would say.

  5. katrinab Silver badge

    How would they know?

    There are things called Pulsars. How would an alien distinguish this laser from one of them?

    1. ridley

      Re: How would they know?

      The thing is with Pulsars, I mean really the main thing is that they pulse.

      1. Roj Blake Silver badge

        Re: main thing is that they pulse

        So would this laser beam (from the aliens' perspective anyway) on account of the Earth rotating.

        1. smudge Silver badge

          Re: main thing is that they pulse

          So would this laser beam (from the aliens' perspective anyway) on account of the Earth rotating.

          Yes, but pulsars rotate in the order of around one second, with some going up to several hundred rotations per second.

          A wee bit different from good ol' Earth.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: how to distinguish this laser from pulsars

      Laser light is at a single frequency, pulsars are rather more broadband?

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: how to distinguish this laser from pulsars

        Well not let's emulate a pulsar then. Broadband never seems to live up to the hype.

    3. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      Re: How would they know?

      @katrinab: "How would an alien distinguish this laser from one of them?"

      Pulse the Fibonacci sequence, Pulsars don't do maths. : -)

    4. Suricou Raven

      Re: How would they know?

      11000111110000000111111111110000000000000111111111111111110000000000000000000<repeat>

      Any alien looking at that would go "That's a weird star, I should watch it." After a few hours recording the signal they should realise it's unmistakably intelligent in origin.

  6. onefang Silver badge
    Alien

    I, for one, welcome our new alien cat overlords. Then again, I have a neko fetish. So long as they don't look like this icon ->

    We should stock up on catnip.

  7. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    If any aliens are already observing us, they're not going to like the laser. Black copter looks a bit like the laser warning ->

  8. Khaptain Silver badge

    Retina burn

    So the ALiens see the light, head towards it and then get their retinas burnt out.

    I came, I saw, I got burned......

    So I went back home thinking what a bunch of bastards...

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Boffin

      Re: Retina burn

      Don't be silly. They'll be wearing their JooJanta Peril Sensitive Sunglasses.

      Jeez, you guys are so unhip it's a wonder your bums don't fall off...

  9. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Alien

    Seems they've already found us... they just drove past slowly looking at the mess.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Yeah I read that article too but for scientists they aren't too smart. Why would you use an asteroid as a probe unless you wanted to hide the fact that it was a probe? And if you're doing that, why would you use an asteroid that's got a really weird shape instead of using a normal looking asteroid that blends in with the rest, and why not approach on an orbit that makes it look like it is just an asteroid on a really eccentric orbit, rather than something that's obviously from outside the solar system?

      Its like a girl trying to sneak into a sorority and not attract attention by dressing like the typical college male.

  10. MMR

    Battleship

    I always thought the Battleship movie was kinda dumb.

  11. Florida1920
    Mushroom

    Put it on the moon

    That way the aliens will shoot their photon cannons at the moon instead of Earth. What could possibly go wrong?

  12. Chemist

    Is it me ...

    or is the 'message' going to take rather a long time to reach the average star ?

    "Space is big, very big ...............you know the rest"

    1. deadlockvictim Silver badge

      Re: Is it me ...

      I do. I think that the chemist's down the road is far away.

    2. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: Is it me ...

      That's what happens when you mention "20000 light years" and "would get there in the few years" in the same paragraph (well okay two paragraphs away). Tsk, tsk...

      1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

        Re: Is it me ...

        @Dropbear ""20000 light years"

        Yeah, so Humans send the pulse, 20,000 years later intelligent aliens get the message, dispatch War Rocket Ajax, and take say, 40,000 years to get here. In that 60,000 years humans have eradicated themselves as a species, and dinosaurs walk the Earth again, leaving the aliens to wonder 'how did these big lummoxes make a laser?'

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Is it me ...

          "Yeah, so Humans send the pulse, 20,000 years later intelligent aliens get the message, dispatch War Rocket Ajax, and take say, 40,000 years to get here. In that 60,000 years humans have eradicated themselves as a species, and dinosaurs walk the Earth again, leaving the aliens to wonder 'how did these big lummoxes make a laser?'"

          Or, due to a miscalculation of scale, the entire invasion fleet gets eaten by a small dinosaur.

  13. Giovani Tapini Silver badge
    Stop

    This seems quite irresponsible

    ET probably has rules about blinding pilots with lasers same as we do. Also surely by the time ET notices the transmission (possibly an eye popping sight) the signal will have passed.

    I can't imagine an ET using laser as an interstellar transmission medium though. Apart from the speed-of-light delivery there are far too many things to disrupt and weaken the signal over long distances.

    So as above, the only response this is likely to generate is a knock at the door from the interstellar police asking if we can turn off the laser, hand it over, and be forced to listen to vogon poetry for a few hours...

    1. hoola Bronze badge

      Re: This seems quite irresponsible

      There really does come a point when one has to question just what some of these highly intelligent scientific types connection with reality it. It all sounds great fun and MIGHT get a response. The fact that the response could be of negative benefit to the earth just does not appear to cross these peoples minds.

      Not that many weeks ago there was a programme on the BBC following a group of researchers that had found traces of material that could contain DNA in dinosaur fossils. The plan was to then extract it and then try to create a dinosaur (I think it was something nice friendly like a T-Rex). Jurassic Park may have been fiction but the consequences of something like this are beyond comprehension. Science can provide a lot of benefits but there appears to be no ethical or moral view on some of the work.

      If the earth is a fragile ecosystem that we are already wrecking through a combination of science, greed and selfishness. Splitting the atom was a great breakthrough but the consequences are now with use pretty much for ever.

      Many of these scientist/researchers are just so focussed on what they are doing and being able to publish a great discovery that the implications just get lost. Against every discovery that has benefitted mankind, there is probably an equal, if not greater number that have not. The trouble is that impact of the negative ones if far worse than the beneficial.

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: This seems quite irresponsible

        "Science can provide a lot of benefits but there appears to be no ethical or moral view on some of the work."

        Genetic modification of human embryos comes to mind here...

      2. kiwimuso
        Facepalm

        Re: This seems quite irresponsible

        @ hoola

        As always, just because you can, doesn't necessarily mean that you should!!!

  14. Neil 32

    This *really* wouldn't end well

    And not just because of the post number!

    Q: If every person on Earth aimed a laser pointer at the Moon at the same time, would it change color?

    A: https://what-if.xkcd.com/13/

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The first contact ... could be confirmed over several years"

    For a sufficiently large value of "several". The Trappist system mentioned is 39 light years away so let's blink at it a bit today and just before the end of this century our great grandchildren can start looking for a return blink.

    "a beam could stretch to distances no more than 20,000 light years" - the earliest proto-writing we have is less than 9,000 years old. 20,000 years ago is in the Stone Age, long before the first cities, about the time that farming first became evident. In human terms this is ridiculously deep time. Space remains a lot bigger than going to the chemist's.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: "The first contact ... could be confirmed over several years"

      Even for those of us who are curious about the world, any 'experiment' that will definitely take longer than our lifetime is a lot less interesting to us than something with a more immediate return. Instead of shooting lasers in random directions all over the galaxy, spend that money on a really top notch telescope array sited at multiple points along the Earth's orbit, so you can do parallax at 2AU. We'd be able to SEE if Trappist is inhabited.

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: "The first contact ... could be confirmed over several years"

        "We'd be able to SEE if Trappist is was inhabited."

        There, fixed it.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    33,333 x 60W light bulbs?

    I don't think so.

    An incandescent lamp is about 1% efficient (light out to electricity in); an LED about 5% efficient.

    So to get 2MW of *output* you'd need approx 3.3 million 60W incandescent bulbs, or about 2 million 20W LED bulbs.

    1. DropBear Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: 33,333 x 60W light bulbs?

      Then again, it's 1% efficient in _visible light_ exactly because the rest is infrared - and this _was_ about an infrared laser...

    2. Mips

      60W light bulb

      Here we go the journalists are at it again. What! No Olympic sized swimming pools?

      This is a site for technologist. Why do they need to have a megawatt explained?

      Anyway my A size lamps are 7W LED not 60W incandescent. So there!

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: 60W light bulb

        "Anyway my A size lamps are 7W LED not 60W incandescent. So there!"

        That crossed my mind too. 60W light bulbs have been off the shelves for quite a while now. Are there still enough them out there to call them "average"? I'm not even sure what an "average" light bulb is these days, the range of sizes, ratings and technologies is pretty wide nowadays.

  17. Potemkine! Silver badge

    We are here, please exterminate us!

    I doubt aliens would be more pacifist than the human kind, I guess they would have gone through the same evolutionary process valuing fight over non-violence. Letting them now there could be valuable resources to pillage does not seem very clever, does it?

    1. Semtex451 Silver badge

      Re: We are here, please exterminate us!

      It is monumentally stupid

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: We are here, please exterminate us!

      They wouldn't destroy us for resources, they would destroy us because they cannot be sure we won't destroy them.

      1. It's just me
        Alien

        Re: We are here, please exterminate us!

        See: Dark Forest theory from the 2nd book in The Three-Body Problem trilogy, by Liu Cixin.

        Edit: I see others already mentioned this.

    3. onefang Silver badge

      Re: We are here, please exterminate us!

      "Letting them now there could be valuable resources to pillage does not seem very clever, does it?"

      By the time the signal gets there, they organise themselves, and get back to us, we would have depleted all the valuable resources anyway. Unless they consider stupidity to be valuable.

    4. jmch Silver badge

      Re: We are here, please exterminate us!

      "I doubt aliens would be more pacifist than the human kind, I guess they would have gone through the same evolutionary process valuing fight over non-violence"

      We don't have any idea of how any possible alien lifeforms could have developed and under what conditions. therefore that's an assumption made completely by extrapolating a single data point, which is ourselves.

    5. jmch Silver badge

      Re: We are here, please exterminate us!

      "there could be valuable resources to pillage"

      If they're technically advanced enough to be able to come over and pillage us, they most likely have no use for any of our tech, have plenty of surplus energy and have access to mine more local (to them) asteroids / moons / planets.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        It only takes one "Dalek" species in the galaxy

        That goes out and exterminates every civilization they become aware of as a potential future threat. Even if 99.999% of species are curious and friendly (and I'm not so sure we'd qualify) the one aggressor would kill them off and dominate the galaxy unless an older friendly species saw them do that and decided to kill them off for the good of the rest.

        We're probably better off looking rather than knocking on doors until we know a LOT more about what's out there. The odds don't favor the door knockers.

  18. chivo243 Silver badge
    Trollface

    It's a planet...

    Armed with Frikken lasers

  19. deadlockvictim Silver badge

    Big space lasers

    Dammit! If we've got big space lasers then we've got to start blowing things up.

    How about the moon? That might take a while. Some of them asteroids maybe?

    Or sharks? Why do no sharks have lasers on them yet? It might help them survive their seemingly movie-induced extinction.

  20. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Pint

    We are from Trappist-1

    We are from Trappist-1, and bring you Beer. We have come to find out if "Earth Girls Are Easy"

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth_Girls_Are_Easy

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Happy

      Re: We are from Trappist-1

      If they're from Trappist 1, wouldn't they have to communicate all that by means of mime? Or write it down?

  21. Tromos

    Not a brilliant idea

    I was just settling down to my 5-dimensional crossword when this flickery light disturbed my concentration. Pass me the yottawatt laser so I can swat the pesky thing out of existence.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Not a brilliant idea

      Indeed. The Dark Forest view dictates that we be destroyed casually.

    2. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: Not a brilliant idea

      No need to bother building (and powering) complicated stuff like that. When you're a super-evolved alien race you just tilt the nearest quasar until the beam points at us, and you never need to worry about us again...

  22. Dave 126 Silver badge

    The Dark Forest

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermi_paradox#It_is_dangerous_to_communicate

    The Fermi paradox is "where the hell is everybody in this near infinite universe?". A possible answer is that everybody is hiding, since the only prudent course of action is to terminate with extreme prejudice any civilization you come into contact with. Even a technically inferior species should be wiped out, since their technology could advance rapidly in the blink of an eye over the timescales this game is being played.

    The Dark Forest is the sequal to The Three Body Problem by Chinese sci fi author Liu Cixin. In his scenario, Earth advertising itself with a laser is akin to a naked infant dancing by a campfire in a dark forest full of hidden predators, who will dispassionately and efficiently destroy us as a matter of course.

  23. Kaltern
    Alien

    Why?

    Must admit, while I'm all for SETI and Breakthrough, I fail to see ANY point to this project.

    Even the longest burst of laser is going to take hundreds of years to be detectable by ANY telescopic device in the galaxy because as we all know, light has to GET there first. And by the time it does, we may not even be here as a species.

    It's a complete waste of time and resources. I like the idea of using it for a spacecraft energy source though...

  24. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge
    Coat

    Turning Planet Earth into the Ultimate Death Star.

    Darth Vader's on his way, pissed by the constant light bombardment.

    And I'm outta here.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Megaphone

    Talk to the tentacle

    If there is a galactic community out there, they would have to have rules forbidding contact with races that haven't yet developed the ability to cross between stars, or else they'd be here already. I bet those rules specifically state that deliberate electromagnetic attempts at contact don't count, no matter how earnest the signaling.

    But I'm sure they'd be extremely interested and would pay close attention to whatever we send out...

    You're way ahead of me. First, we message them with a broad beam, saying we know they are listening. Then we taunt them mercilessly, using our most battle-hardened trolls, for years if necessary!

    Even if they still refuse to respond, it will be fun for everyone. >:-)

    1. jmch Silver badge

      Re: Talk to the tentacle

      "Then we taunt them mercilessly"

      "Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries ..."

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Talk to the tentacle

      ...And here he is... Emissary of Humanity! Donald Trump!

      If he's busy the whoever designs the social media for the Russian foreign ministry is probably our next best troll. And as both are equally useless to the rest of society - their time would be far better spent trolling the aliens.

      My only worry is the the Galactic Federation of Peace may well hold a vote to say, "Just this once, fuck the Prime Directive and kill 'em all!"

      1. sisk Silver badge

        Re: Talk to the tentacle

        ...And here he is... Emissary of Humanity! Donald Trump!

        On the one hand, it'd give him something to do other than create chaos on Earth with his idiotic ideas regarding foreign policy. On the other hand, do we REALLY want the face of humanity to the rest of the galaxy to be THAT?

    3. Bernard M. Orwell
      Alien

      Re: Talk to the tentacle

      "Then we taunt them mercilessly"

      Yeah! If we can narrow the beam enough and get some precision, perhaps we could draw patterns in their staple crop fields. Send them some selfies, some graffiti and the occasional obscenity. They're bound to get it!

  26. mr_souter_Working

    A good way to get the Galactic police at our door

    we prosecute people for shining lasers at planes and people - I struggle to imagine how big the fine would be if we started strafing entire solar systems with a laser.......................

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: A good way to get the Galactic police at our door

      You seem confused by the sheer distance involved, and the limited collimation possible.

      The laser would be spread out over an entire solar system, it would be observable as a deviation from the spectral pattern of a normal star. It wouldn't be a blinding light...

  27. David Harper 1

    Reminiscent of Liu Cixin's "The Three-Body Problem"

    Liu Cixin's science fiction trilogy "The Three-Body Problem" was mentioned earlier. This starts out with humans signalling their existence via an amplified radio signal. It's a superbly-written series of novels.

    1. Toni the terrible

      Re: Reminiscent of Liu Cixin's "The Three-Body Problem"

      these books may or may not be well written but posit a most depressing universe

  28. IHateWearingATie
    Pint

    As long as they shape the platform the laser is mounted on to look like a shark, then I'm in. Where's the crowd funding page?

  29. Alister Silver badge

    Next door neighbours

    Imagine how annoying it would be, if a next-door neighbour decided to set up a massive security floodlight in their backyard, pointing at your bedroom window, and let it switch on every time the wind blew the trees about.

    You'd be tempted to chuck rocks at it, or something, wouldn't you?

    1. Toni the terrible

      Re: Next door neighbours

      A neighbour of mine does have a security light that frequently goes on an off all night, throwing shadows of moving tree limbs on to my curtins - I thought of throwing rocks but it was much safer to buy truely opaque curtins.

  30. Pointer2null

    ping

    64 bytes from alien.star: icmp_seq=1 ttl=64 time=23,653 years

  31. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    Big sign: FOOD HERE!!! --->

  32. bobbear
    Mushroom

    Sigh..

    I hope there's intelligent life somewhere in the universe as there's bugger all on earth..

    It might get to our nearest star, Proxima Centauri, in a little over 4 years, and then another 4 years to receive a reply assuming there's a planet hosting intelligent life in the system, but I suspect 20,000 light years away may take a little longer, I'd guess about 20,000 + 20,000 years or so.. Trappist1 would be 39 +39 years give or take a second or three according to the published data...

    "It would mean, that extraterrestrials over at Trappist-1, for example, would be constantly bombarded by the light." - No - a quick flash once a day, perhaps as the earth rotates and they'd only notice it if they had infra-red sensitive eyes of incredible sensitivity..

    Is that the standard of MIT graduates/professors these days? We're doomed, (hence the icon)... I know this is to be taken with a pinch of salt but the old saying "people may think you are stupid, but why open your mouth and remove all doubt?" seems to apply here.. This has got to be clickbait, surely? It's the sort of bogus science that is seen every day in the media with their arts graduate 'science' correspondents..

    Is it me or is the biological infestation on our little piece of rock getting dumber? Personally I blame leaded petrol/gas..

  33. Geekpride
    Megaphone

    Constant talking

    The initial speed-of-light delay would be most important for the initial "handshake" to make contact. After that, both parties can send information without waiting to be asked, passing on whatever they want to transmit and adding any questions they want answered. This allows much more to be communicated than "ask question.... wait.... receive answer" model that a lot of people seem to be assuming.

    Credit to Isaac Asimov short story "My Son, the Physicist": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Son,_the_Physicist

  34. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    I can just imagine the alien conversation ...

    "Q'ta, did though sense a momentary, less than statistically significant increase in em emission through your fourth tenticular sensor?"

    "Where Thwar'p? Gyrate your eighth ocular node in its general orientation."

    "I though it came from that inconspicuous star over there. I've been monitoring it for the last billion years of our technologically advanced civilisation just in case another civilisation developed and decided to contact us with a sensible length communications stream, or the omnibus box-set of "East Enders of the Universe" which is a continuous data stream on Galactic Dave-ja-vu. Sorry, my mistake. I've licked the end of my tenticular sensor and it's gone ..."

    A bit like any meteor watching session on Earth:

    "Look at that one!"

    "Where"

    "Where you weren't looking and the opposite direction to that pointed at by your camera."

  35. Crisp Silver badge

    What we need are a pair of massive mirrors orbiting the sun.

    Make one of them semi transparent and we've got ourselves a huge frickin laser.

    It's a communications device and a first strike weapon all in one!

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Daddy, how did the war of the worlds start?

    Funny you should ask... It all started over a fight to "turn off that d*mned light".

  37. MJI Silver badge

    So you have

    a constantly evolving species with warlike tendancies, technology advancing quite fast, able to shine a laser at other planets.

    Better jump on them quick!

  38. MJI Silver badge

    Could we be advanced at some things?

    Could we be more advanced than other advanced civilisations at certain things?

  39. Jay Lenovo Silver badge
    Happy

    Pop Culture Solution

    Simply sprinkle some Reese's Pieces in your backyard.

    Friendly Extra Terrestrials are soon to follow.

  40. sisk Silver badge

    I can't help but feel that before doing something like this we should find a way to prove that the answer to the Fermi Paradox isn't berserker drones or some super advanced civilization that is actively hunting down and destroying all competition or something.

    Not that I think that is the answer. Personally I ascribe to the "space is freaking big" solution to Fermi, but if it IS berserker drones then this is not how I'd want to be proven wrong.

  41. ratfox Silver badge
    Alien

    https://imgur.com/gallery/a9Wqj

    Humans! Please don't send us any more unsolicited nude pics with instructions on how to get to your house. It's creepy.

    Sincerely,

    The Aliens.

  42. dnicholas Bronze badge

    It's times like these it's worth pointing out that natives of new found lands here on earth didn't do too well after being "discovered". That some would hope for more of alien life speaks volumes of human stupidity

  43. RobThBay

    Playing with laser pointers

    We already know that shining laser pointers at aircraft is a bad idea and they want to try it against ET's.

    What could possibly go wrong?

  44. xyz

    I thought it was illegal...

    ...to shine a laser at people and pilots etc. I should imagine cosmic plod will hove into view sharpish and cuff the crims (i.e. us)

    1. onefang Silver badge

      Re: I thought it was illegal...

      "I should imagine cosmic plod will hove into view sharpish and cuff the crims (i.e. us)"

      At least we get a response out of them, and answered some big questions, though obviously creating more questions. Like what should we do when big alien Bubba drops the soap with a grin?

  45. codejunky Silver badge

    Hmm

    So they get to watch starwars from our radio waves and then see a light coming from a planet sized object in space.

    On a more serious note didnt some idiots start running around like headless chickens trying to appease some sky god over climate change? How does a large light source emitted from within our atmosphere (I would assume reducing effectiveness) which is bound to require some power factor in with pleasing their sky god? I doubt solar panels and monuments to the gods farts will power it.

  46. Harry Kay
    Stop

    What if they get the message, and the reply is

    "Stop bugging us.. P**s off!"

  47. Zippy´s Sausage Factory
    Coat

    Do you want to attract space kittens?

    Because that's how you find Space Kittens.

    I'll get me coat...

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Science trying to imitate art?

    A giant laser, visible by another species on another planet? Like the giant laser used to propel the Motie spacecraft in the Niven/Pournelle novel The Mote in God's Eye?

  49. JCitizen
    Trollface

    Dr. Evil says;`

    Its okay as long as we get sharks for that fricken lazer!

    1. onefang Silver badge

      Re: Dr. Evil says;`

      We'll need a frickin' big shark for that, I shall call him Meg.

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