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Galactic Communications Using a Gravitational Lens

Galactic Communications Using a Gravitational Lens

Gravitational lensing is the process of a large mass bending light from a distant source. Einstein predicted this and astronomers can now detect it. By placing an optical collector or a radio antenna at a distance of 550 AUs or greater from our Sun, it can be used as a lens to focus detail from a great distance. It should also be possible to use an antenna at the same position to broadcast a focused signal across space. A series of these communication devices connected across the galaxy could form an interstellar communications network. Using larger stars or even black holes might increase the effective range and resolution.

A brief history of gravitational lensing – [einstein-online.info]

Einstein’s derivation of the deflection of light in the Sun’s gravitational field, and the agreement between the quantitative prediction for that deflection based on his theory of general relativity and the observations made by an expedition under the leadership of Arthur Stanley Eddington (1882-1944), constitute one of the best-known episodes in the history of general relativity.

However, there is a lesser-known, but closely related fact. As early as 1912, a good three years before his final breakthrough in the formulation of general relativity, Einstein wrote down a concise description of one of the most important consequences of the deflection of light: The possibility of a (geometric) gravitational lens.

The Sun as a Gravitational Lens : A Target for Space Missions A Target for Space Missions Reaching 550 AU to 1000 AU – [spaceroutes.com]

• Wherever in space there are intelligent creatures like us, they will be driven to explore and understand our universe, just as we do. We and they wish to see to the farthest depths of space with the greatest clarity allowed by the laws of nature. To this end, we build, at great expense, ever more powerful telescopes of all kinds on Earth, and now in space.

• As each civilization becomes more knowledgeable, they will recognize, as we now have recognized, that each civilization has been given a single great gift: a lens of such power that no reasonable technology could ever duplicate or surpass its power. This lens is the civilization’s star. In our case, our Sun.

• The gravity of each such star acts to bend space and thus the paths of any wave or particle, in the end creating an image just as familiar lenses do.

• This lens can produce images which would take perhaps thousands of conventional telescopes to produce. It can produce images of the finest detail of distant stars and galaxies.

• Every civilization will discover this eventually, and surely will make the exploitation of such a lens a very high priority enterprise.

• One wonders how many such lenses are being used at this moment in time to scan the universe, capturing a flood of information about both the physical and biological realities of our time.

• Frank Drake, 1999, from his Foreward to Claudio’s book.

A novel SETI strategy targeting the solar focal regions of the most nearby stars – [arxiv.org]

It was hypothesized here that our Galaxy has been colonized by self-reproducing probes and that probes in neighboring systems communicate regularly using the stars they orbit as gravitational lenses for their interstellar communication. Under this hypothesis, an ICD should be present in the Solar System, in the focal region of (at least) one nearby star, at ∼ 1000 AU for the Sun. It was argued that the traditional techniques of optical imaging and stellar occultation would probably not be able to detect the envisioned ICD, and that our best chances of detection in the near future relies on the intense multi-spectral monitoring of these regions, with the hope to catch a communication leakage, and on directly messaging the focal regions in attempts to initiate a reaction of the envisioned probes. While negative results could be explained not only by the non-existence of the envisioned ICD but also by a stealth and discretion policy of the hypothesized probes, a positive result would definitely revolutionize our understanding of our place in the Universe.

The Length of a Civilization
Galactic ET-Net
Imagine a Pea in a Swimming Pool
Singularity Theory May Explain Fermi Paradox

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