Applied Physics


Searching for Intelligent Life

RAMADAR: In a new result, we have demonstrated that the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) is a powerful instrument in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). LIGO’s ability to detect gravitational waves (GWs) from colliding black holes opens the door to detecting Rapid And/or Massive Accelerating spacecraft (or RAMAcraft).

While prior radio searches have only probed tens of thousands of nearby stars for such extraterrestrial activity, LIGO can probe all 1011 stars in the Milky Way galaxy for warp drive-like objects. Our results allow existing GW observatories like LIGO, Virgo, and KAGRA to search for evidence of RAMAcraft right away, turning these observatories into the first-ever RAMAcraft Detection And Ranging (RAMADAR) devices. Future observatories like DECIGO and the Big Bang Observer (BBO) will be 100 times more sensitive than LIGO in detecting RAMAcraft, expanding the search volume of a RAMADAR by a million-fold. This new frontier will allow us to probe thousands of galaxies for advanced technology.