A team of physicists has put forward the idea of using the LIGO observatory to look for gravitational waves from alien spaceships.
Originally proposed by Albert Einstein as a consequence of his General Theory of Relativity, gravitational waves are ripples in the fabric of space-time that carry energy across the universe.
After years of struggling to pick up direct evidence of the phenomenon, a team of researchers at the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) finally succeeded in detecting gravitational waves for the first time back in February 2016.
So impressive was this feat that the team behind the breakthrough, Rainer Weiss, Barry Barish and Kip Thorne, earned themselves a Nobel Prize in physics the following year.
Fast-forward to the present day and now a different team of physicists has published a new paper suggesting that LIGO’s ability to detect gravitational waves could potentially enable us to pick up indications of alien vessels in deep space.
That said, for this to work the ship would have to be truly massive – perhaps the size of Jupiter – as well as moving very quickly and relatively close to us (within 326,000 light-years).
But what if our closest neighboring extraterrestrial civilization happens to be using warp drive or something similarly exotic to propel its ships through the interstellar void ?
According to the paper, such a propulsion system should (in theory, at least) produce gravitational waves as well.
In summary, then, if a warp-enabled Death Star ever ventures inside our galactic neighborhood, there’s a small chance that we might be able to pick it up…