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Do Advanced Civilizations Communicate with Neutrinos?

Article written: 5 Mar , 2008
Updated: 26 Dec , 2015
by

It’s one of the biggest questions in all humanity: are we alone in the Universe? Either way, the answer is significant. And so, scientists are searching for intelligence out there. Huge arrays of radio telescopes, like the Allen Array scan the skies for radio broadcasts. And researchers have also proposed that aliens might be using lasers to communicate with us. A Russian researcher is proposing another way that aliens might be communicating with us – with neutrinos.

To borrow a quote from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, “Space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is.” When you’re attempting to communicate across the vast distances of space, you need huge amounts of energy. Just look at a star, even though it’s generating an incomprehensible amount of energy every second, the brightness drops dramatically with distance.

Instead of broadcasting in all directions, the other strategy is to focus your communications towards a specific location. A targeted beam of radio waves or laser light towards another star still requires an enormous amount of energy, but it’s less.

To save energy, alien civilizations might not be using radio or optical light at all, they might be communicating in a completely different way, with neutrinos.

Researcher Z. K. Silagadze at the Budker Institute of Nuclear Physics and Novosibirsk State University recently posted this idea to the Arxiv pre-press mailing list. His article is called SETI and Muon Collider.

It might sound like science fiction, but scientists are starting to understand how to generate beams of neutrinos – by creating beams of muons. Beams of these unstable particles can be generated in large particle accelerators. The muon beam decays quickly into a focused beam of neutrinos that can travel for light years and still remain remarkably coherent. A beam fired at relatively nearby star Tau Ceti, 12 light-years away, would open up to about 600 astronomical units across – enough to bathe the whole system in neutrinos that could be tracked back to a specific source star.

Finding neutrinos here on Earth is difficult. We’ve got an incredible amount of neutrinos stream towards us from the Sun. In fact, you’ve got billions of neutrinos passing through your body every second and you never feel them because never interact. It takes a huge vat of water, protected underground from other radiation and a suite of sensitive detectors. And even then, they only turn up a few thousand neutrinos a year.

In fact, a neutrino can pass through light-years of pure lead and not even notice.

But there are some advantages. Neutrino detectors are omnidirectional – they don’t have to be targeted in a specific direction to “tune in” a signal coming from a star. If the stream of neutrinos is passing through the Earth, we should be able to detect it, and then track back the source after the fact.

Neutrino detectors are also sensitive to many different energy levels. They don’t have to scan specific frequencies, they can detect high energy neutrinos as easily as low-energy ones.

According to Silagadze, the newly developed IceCube neutrino observatory being built in Antarctica should have the sensitivity to spot neutrinos generated on purpose by alien civilizations – whether they’re targeting us specifically, or we’re just overhearing their conversations.

It has been suggested that advanced civilizations might deliberately choose neutrinos for communications because it shuts out the very young, and not mature civilizations from the galactic conversation.

But give us a few years, and we’ll be listening.

Original Source: Arxiv


24 Responses

  1. Dark Gnat says

    Yeah, you don’t want those anoying noob civilizations asking stupid questions (meaning of life, how do I edit my intergalactic post, etc).

  2. oz says

    Yeah, the E.T.s probably use neutrinos for interstellar XBOX 3^60 chat. Helluva lag, though…

  3. Neutrino Man (from the future) says

    Earthlings, you don’t have to generate neutrinos to communicate with us, they’re already passing through you from every direction. Just figure out how to alter the ones that are going to where you want your message to go.

    I’ll be waiting to hear.

  4. Freiddie says

    That second last paragraph cracked me up.

  5. Molecular says

    In spite of our efforts to directly detect ET, I think that it’s more likely that we will have discovered them by accident LONG before what technical means we’ll have in place. I say this because we have (or will have) more high-tech tools in place that are dedicated to carrying out other objectives.

    Let’s assume that our planet is already being observed by ET. With that in mind, let’s say that the focus of ET is to tag each and every significant technical achievement made by Earthlings, whether it be the Space Shuttle, the Hubble Telescope, the Mars Probes, things of that nature.

    Now, of course, we’ll have all of these things monitored as we send them off to do their various tasks, but, what if, while keeping our own tabs on these devices, we discover that there is some other thing
    going on during the monitoring process that is intermittently interfering with these devices, and that they are not due to natural causes like sun-flares, etc., but that they are coming from another source, an artificial source not of Earth.

    This would be the key signal to throw up the ET alert flag.

  6. Brad says

    All your Neutrinos are belong to us.

    Seriously though, Neutrinos are unbelievably numerous – wouldn’t the signal to noise ratio be atrocious?!?!

  7. Nuno says

    Every ET choosing neutrino beams as a form of comunication beacause “it shuts out the very young, and not mature civilizations”, seems to be Star Trek’s “prime directive” at work…
    But we should be able to ear some of those “very young, and not mature civilizations” that are trying to use other technologies…
    Nuno G

  8. Nuno says

    I mean, it’s like going to a party and not seeing anybody, and not to be able to enter the VIP area, so you figure: everybody is in the VIP area…
    Nuno G

  9. Jimmy L says

    What are centrinos? Aren’t they like little computers that you can take around with you everywhere (they must have the Intel Inside logo on them too) and they need to be wireless – that’s the key. I want a centrino!

    If you’re a drudge fan: drudgetracker.com

  10. Alex says

    “# Dark Gnat Says:
    March 5th, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    Yeah, you don’t want those anoying noob civilizations asking stupid questions (meaning of life, how do I edit my intergalactic post, etc).”

  11. cathbad says

    here we go again. lol

    Might, would and a russian ‘researcher’.

    I would propose that they communicate with patterns of orbiting black holes generating graviton synfonias.

    This excludes definitely all loser civilsations.

  12. Trace Element says

    From what has recently been discovered, radio waves, etc decay after one or two lights years, so that any information sent via that method would not be able to keep the signal decay from erasing the information, before it reached even the nearest star system. I would guess, that at any ONE time, there is little hope for more than one advanced intelligent civilization per galaxy able to transmit information. And information transmitted between galaxies, via any photon or electron method, would be nearly impossible, due to the huge distances, amount of energy needed, etc. Perhaps extremely advanced civilization have physically evolved to such an extent, that their brains use some form of telepathy to communicate. Remember, we are only starting to evolve our sentience and language skills, as far as a species goes. Genetically enhanced human abilities, are not fessible yet, tho may have been in use by some intelligent life forms for millions of years.Telepathic communications would occur institaneously. (mindstuff is not electromagnetic, so it is not limited by our dimention of time.) Whats most likely, is that wormholes are opened at subatomic levels, via advanced technologies, so that very focused binary/math and/or musical encoded messages are sent between two highly advanced civilizations. Either outcome, we would either need incredible perceptive psychics, or somehow end up on the recieving end of an electron sized, short duration, information dense worm hole. This might be thousands of years beyond our current technology. Our best bet, is to hope we might be contacted via some form of intergalactic probe, ( ie. UFO) which would send us the technology to recieve messages via two way electron sized wormhole pathways. In other words, dont expect a phone call, if you can only send and recieve smoke signals. At least wait til someone sends you a interstelar phone, or you invent it yourself.

  13. IMA Nut says

    Huh? I watched Star Trek for years and that’s what “subspace” was for. Nutrinos — have ya noticed — the word begins with “Nut—-“!

    Hey Fraser, write a real story!

  14. IMA Nut says

    Last time I checked it was computed something like this:
    [a] phi(x) = + &phi(x), where is the vacuum expectation value, and m2^^2 represents the particle’s density of the ground state in the non-realtivistic limit. The action of this field in the presence of gravity is…intrinsic gravitational cosmological constant Lambda/ 8piG receives a contribution (1/2) m2^^2

  15. Mike Best says

    Hi Fraser.
    As an individual who has completed 74 orbits of the Sun, studied astronomy for 62, and lectured for 31. I congratulate you on introducing us to a unique concept. Pay no attention to ill-mannered respond-eez who apparently flunked Manners 101.

  16. John says

    First Fraser, I am a huge fan.

    I like the idea, it certainly explains why the attempt to listen to radio tranmissions end up with nothing. I did not realize that our broadcast were mostly indecipherable beyond a few light years. I hope more research is focused on this. And from the wouldnt it be nice dept. Trace Element’s ideas of using subatomic wormholes to blast data through, now that would be significant. Now if I could just remember where I left my wormhole machine…

    Thanks for this story,
    John

  17. cathbad says

    This might would thingy on a russian expert bed made me think that even orbiting black holes’ graviton waves is by far to easy to be a real hurdle.

    Therefore we should seriously consider with all our experience (decades of wasted sun orbits) that only a bundled ray of Antimatter is the right signal for truely superior Aliens talking to us.

    Only the one who can send us Anti matter is truely worth our attention. Neutrinos ? bah, sun spits out myriads. Each nice little super nova prosuces bursts galore.

    Anti matter !!! thats the thing we look for.

  18. Tatabatu says

    And if they are called nutrinos and you really care about the whole sh**e then you might be a Nutricare ??

    Horrendous!

  19. Tatabatu says

    Anyways, seriously now, If I ever bump into one of these ill mannered nutrinos, I’l grab the culprit and post it on your blog here so you can deal with him in confidence. You can modulate it, amplify, etc just make sure such thingies won’t cross our bodies without permission. It’s preposterous!

  20. marcela says

    I think they are already communicating with us but we are in denial about it, their form of communication is through crop circles. I wish there would be more studies about what they mean, or may be there are but we are not being told about the result of these studies. Surely those are not just pretty pictures…

  21. pie says

    If there are any advanced civilizations out there, they are hiding. Hiding from what? Also, why are they hiding?

    An advanced civilization a million years may be able to communicate with earth in real quantum time. – If they really wanted to.

    There may be a reason why the Hubble telescope does not see any dyson spheres around the home planet of an advanced civilization. – Something or someone is killing them off.

    It is either that or we are all alone in the universe.

    If we are the only pre-type one civilization in the universe, we should also hide, and not broadcast our position to others who may want to do harm to planet earth.

    Nasa should explore space, and Seti should be only doing passive listening.

    The earth should also go silent, and not broadcast any over the airwave transmissions.

    For our own future of the world, our earth should become like the NSA. Listening without giving us up, and not broadcast our semi-advanced civilization to any possible hostile aliens.

  22. Andy says

    If nutrinos can pass through light years of lead without effect, what do you use for an antenna?

  23. Ilya Stavinsky says

    I am surprised that scientists still are searching for intelligence outside of Solar system trying different methods to communicate with them. Why I am surprised, because these advanced civilizations already are here on our planet. They use spacecrafts in hundreds, known as UFO, that are hovering the space of our Earth. For 6 month every day around the clock I see UFOs (from 15 to 50) hovering over my house at altitude 15-20 miles. It is better to see them in the night sky. You can see only circle (diameter of which is 1-2 yards) with 10-15 weak blue signal lights around it. They camouflage themselves among the stars but I learn how to spot them. I have with them primitive visual contact . If you are interested in this story and want to see UFO with your own eyes (it does not matter whether you are a great scientist, politician, CIA or just ordinary person) please send me email and for $30 I will show you not one but many UFO.
    I live in North New Jersey.
    My email: [email protected] (Subject UFO)
    To get more info about me, please see my web page: http://uweb.superlink.net/dialect/index.html

  24. Justin says

    This is to whom it may concern. To communicate with the nutrino universe one has to become an alchemical master. Your body has nutrinos passing through it at all times. If one could focus on the nutrino frequency then they could hear as they see as they experience. What in the hell do you think the other 90% of you brain is for just wake it up. Maybe then we can all get on the same page and actually contribute to the universal story that is creation. Also, it would be fun to figure out how to travel in the nutrino universe so we can go visit the ones who becon us. The answers are already before us we just need to see outside of seeing if you can catch my drift. Nutrino Man, now you know what the aliens know. You are welcome.

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