There’s this star out there that was spied by the Kepler Space Telescope with the ubiquitous title of KIC 8462852 that has created quite the buzz amongst astronomers due to the fact that it doesn’t seem to conform to anything they’d expected to find with Kepler.
In short, it’s something new and if there’s one thing scientists love the most, especially astronomers, is a new discovery.
When Kepler was launched in 2009 its primary mission was to stare at a field of stars looking for a tell-tale decrease in light that would indicate the presence of a planet orbiting around its parent star and, so far, Kepler has found thousands of planets in its field of view which will keep astronomers busy looking over the data for decades, if not centuries, to come.
When Kepler views a star that has a planet orbiting it the amount of light that dims is small – around 1% – when that planet comes into view. In other words, it’s a lot like spotting a firefly in front of a detonation of a thermonuclear weapon.
Kepler’s instruments are sensitive enough to pick up on this faint dip.
Which now brings us to KIC 8462852.
Kepler has detected a decrease in the light from this star at a whopping 22%. Whatever this object is that’s causing that big of a dip in the light from KIC 8462852, it’s many times larger than Jupiter.
Today I was watching a video from the CBS website and the reporter was talking to Michio Kaku, a Professor of Theoretical Physics at the City College of New York and while he cautioned that KIC 8462852 needs to be examined thoroughly, that the scientists need to continue their studies for the foreseeable future, he seemed to imply that because this phenomena is unlike anything that would expected to be discovered by Kepler may in fact be…
…an alien mega structure.
For the record, I don’t believe this is some kind of alien construction – at least, not yet and certainly not without more study. I, like most people, prefer to wait until the data has been examined in detail and every possible alternative has been safely ruled out.
Having said that, I’m willing to entertain the idea (for this moment) that this object obscuring the light from KIC 8462852 by 22% is some kind of artificial mega-structure.
Two words: Holy Shit.
Two more: We’re Screwed.
This would be a civilization that can not only build structures in space larger than Jupiter but can also harness and utilize the energy from their parent star. This would be a civilization whose technology dwarfs ours by thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of years. This would be a civilization for whom, if they’ve invested the same technology into war as they did in building their space structures, an invasion and occupation of our planet would be over with in a matter of minutes.
I am, of course, being very generous in my assessment that we could hold out for a matter of minutes against this kind of advanced civilization.
This is well above and beyond our own history of what happens when so-called lesser cultures come into contact with more advanced ones, such as Cortez and the Aztecs, the Native Americans and the first colonists from England in Virginia but, at a minimum, these cultures are of the same species and have virtually the same limitations.
A civilization that can harness the power of their own sun? This is more like a confrontation between Bambi and Godzilla – and we’re Bambi.
If this is an artificial structure constructed by an advanced alien civilization, we can’t hope to compete – let alone defend ourselves – with or against them should they one day decide that we’re sitting on a pile of something they want.
If this is evidence of an advanced alien civilization then it means this galaxy is populated by many more advanced civilizations and by civilizations even more advanced than the most advanced alien civilization we’ve discovered.
If this is evidence of an advanced alien civilization then we’re not only not alone in the universe, we’re completely at their mercy.
Some scientists have suggested that such advanced alien civilization may have evolved or transcended the concept of wars and exploitation of lesser civilizations and cultures. I find this line of reasoning naive at best and hopelessly delusional at worst. The Spanish Conquistadors were technologically advanced of the Aztecs but the history of that meeting clearly showed they hadn’t transcended war or exploitation.
Why would the aliens be any different?
We can’t afford to sit idly by and wait for the Capitana to drop anchor in the bay because by then it’s already too late and we’ve already lost – much like the Aztecs, much like the Native Americans and much like every other civilization and culture on this planet that has had the unfortunate circumstance of suddenly finding themselves at the mercy (if there ever was any) of a technologically superior one.
If this is evidence of an advanced alien civilization then we as a species are going to have to take a hard look at ourselves and decide where our priorities are really at.
Ronald Reagan once wondered aloud at a United Nations meeting that maybe in the face of a existential threat of a hostile alien race having arrived on this planet that we might put aside all our differences and come together to fight a common enemy.
If this is evidence of an advanced alien civilization we may, for the sake our own survival, continuation of our species and way of life overcome our differences or hope the aliens will show us compassion and mercy.