The Clarke Exobelt: Detecting Alien Satellites | Summary and Q&A

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March 22, 2018
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John Michael Godier
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The Clarke Exobelt: Detecting Alien Satellites

TL;DR

Geostationary satellites like those in Earth's Clarke Belt could potentially be used by advanced alien civilizations and detected through the study of exoplanet light curves.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What is the Clarke Belt?

The Clarke Belt refers to the orbit of geostationary satellites around the Earth, which is approximately 35,786 kilometers above the equator. These satellites remain fixed in a specific position relative to the Earth's surface.

Q: How could alien civilizations be detected through their satellite presence?

If highly advanced civilizations have populated their own Clarke Belt with satellites, the accumulation of a significant number of satellites could become visible in the light curves of exoplanets. This visibility would indicate the potential presence of advanced alien civilizations.

Q: Are there any challenges in identifying alien satellite rings?

One challenge is that satellite rings could resemble natural planetary ring systems. However, the geometry of satellite rings would differentiate them, as they would be more evenly distributed in the shape of a belt rather than flat and wide like natural rings.

Q: Why is the search for alien satellite rings considered a cheap method of SETI?

The search for alien satellite rings can be done by studying exoplanets, which astronomers already do. It simply requires recognizing and differentiating the presence of satellite rings from natural ring systems by analyzing exoplanet light curves.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • In 1945, Arthur C. Clarke proposed the idea of geostationary communications satellites, which are now widely used for modern communications.

  • The Clarke Belt, where these satellites orbit, could potentially be utilized by alien civilizations, making their presence detectable from Earth.

  • The study of exoplanet light curves could help identify alien satellite rings, which would appear different from natural planetary ring systems.

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