October 13, 2012

NASA's Kepler Systems Studied for Signs of Extraterrestrial Archaeology

from: Daily Galaxy

Fifty years ago the physicists Freeman Dyson speculated vast structures could ring or completely enclose their parent star. These Dyson Spheres, the work of a Kardashev Type II civilization — would be capable of drawing on the entire energy output of its star.
Now, Geoff Marcy, Professor of Astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley, who is famous for discovering more extrasolar planets than anyone else, 70 out of the first 100 to be discovered, has received a grant from the UK’s Templeton Foundation to look for Dyson spheres. Marcy plans to study thousand Kepler systems for telltale evidence of such structures by examining changes in light levels around the parent star as well as possible laser traffic among extraterrestrial civilizations.

"Fermi Bubbles,"  which might appear as a void in visible light in spiral galaxies, is the term used by Richard Carrigan in his work on the search for cosmic-scale artifacts like Dyson spheres or Kardashev civilizations. A Fermi bubble would grow as the civilization creating it colonized space, according to Carrigan. 

As Carl Sagan observed, the time to colonize an individual system is small compared to the travel time between stars. A civilization, believes Carrigan, could engulf its galaxy on a time scale comparable to the rotation period of the galaxy, or every 225–250 million years, and perhaps shorter.

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