The alien civilizations we search might be too advanced to be found.
A research team from Pennsylvania State University has recently poured through data from the WISE space telescope on 100,000 galaxies – in search of evidence of alien life in some of the oldest galaxies known.
The search for Type 3
To understand the reason why, we must first pour through a logic-experiment conceived of by Soviet astronomer Nikolai Kardashev in 1964. Here are the basics of it:
Type 1 Civilization: the civilization is able to harness virtually every single energy resource of an entire planet.
Type 2 Civilization: the civilization is able to harness virtually every single energy resource of an entire solar system.
Type 3 Civilization: the civilization is able to harness virtually every single energy resource of an entire galaxy.
For comparison, we humans don’t even make it to the ‘Type 1’ level – because we do not yet harness EVERY possible energy resource our Earth can provide us.
Back to the Penn-State team, they were sifting through the light patterns of 100,000 galaxies, taken by the WISE probe, for any possible evidence of civilizations belonging to the ‘Type 3’ level.
The ‘evidence’ that this team was looking for was determined by physicist Freeman Dyson (the same man who was the inspiration behind the ‘Dyson sphere’ of Star Trek fame), where he hypothesizes that such ‘Type 3’ civilizations could be ‘seen’ from Earth via the unique infrared signature given off by some of their largest pieces of technology – we’re talking about the size of a small solar system, here.
Unfortunately, the team didn’t seem to find any such evidence in their study. One reason for this may be that no race in those 100,000 galaxies has yet reached that level of civilization. Another reason, I think, may deal with my own ‘though-experiment’, below.
The oldest known exoplanet so far is 12-billion-year-old ‘Methuselah’, which orbits a white dwarf and neutron star (and I list it in my very first post on UA, ‘Tatooine, Anyone?’), so we may assume that potentially the oldest habitable exoplanets are also of this age.
The rest we can assume based on the history of life on Earth. Life would’ve been established on this oldest world by about 11.5 billion years ago. 4 billion years later (7.5 billion years ago), and the first advanced species would’ve evolved.
Given how far we humans have come in the past 6 million years since our very first appearance onto the scene, one can finally assume that, by the 7-billion-years-ago mark, this ‘first race’ would’ve likely become a Type 3 Civilization.
One reason, I can think of, that no convincing evidence for a Type 3 civilization thus far have been found may be that, being so advanced, the Type 3 civilizations that do exist are able to shield such heat-signatures and the like.
Or maybe they are able to disguise these ‘emissions’ such that they appear as ‘stars’.
But, that’s just my own logical deduction on the matter…
Griffith, R., Wright, J., Maldonado, J., Povich, M., Sigurđsson, S., & Mullan, B. (2015). THE Ĝ INFRARED SEARCH FOR EXTRATERRESTRIAL CIVILIZATIONS WITH LARGE ENERGY SUPPLIES. III. THE REDDEST EXTENDED SOURCES IN The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, 217 (2) DOI: 10.1088/0067-0049/217/2/25