Irina K. Romanovskaya, a Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Houston Community College, has joined the ranks of university professors to be open-minded to the possibility of the existence of aliens.
In the past few decades, the terms SETA (The search for extraterrestrial artifacts) and SETI (The search for extraterrestrial intelligence) are becoming the increasingly credible study area, with even Harvard Professor Avi Loeb and the late Stephen Hawking involved.
The SETI Institute aims to locate evidence of sophisticated civilizations elsewhere in the cosmos by attempting to detect a potential alien signal, particularly in our Galaxy.
Romanovskaya’s latest paper detailing ideas on finding aliens on floating planets adds more strategies to the growing number of methodologies scientists are trying to use to discover aliens/help aliens discover us.
She proposes a new term SMETI (search for migratory extraterrestrial intelligence).
Astronomers interested in aliens are divided into two schools of thought. There are astronomers who just search for proof, but there are other groups of astronomers that are enthusiasts of METI (Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence). Romanovskaya’s latest research paper will give both of these groups of astronomers more ideas on how to find aliens and further fuel the debate on whether we should be making proactive attempts to contact alien civilizations.
Romanovskaya’s latest research paper states that even if extraterrestrial civilizations don’t have starships, they could still travel and populate the Galaxy using free-floating planets. The report further suggests the methodologies that may help pinpoint evidence of aliens.
The famous Wow! Signal may have been sent by aliens in transit
The reason why astronomers may have failed to find extraterrestrial civilizations is that they have focused their search for the existence of aliens in planetary systems. Romanovskaya suggests that the search for alien signals should also be focused on the possibility that aliens may be in transit on free-floating planets.
If extraterrestrials sent the Wow! Signal in 1977 from an undetected free-floating planet, it would explain why other researchers who have regularly checked for further transmissions from the same exact location in the Sagittarius constellation have failed to receive additional signals.
Scientists are still debating why the signal was only caught once, 45 years later. One possible explanation for the Wow! The signal could have been a one-off broadcast, similar to experiments that people have done, like the 1974 Arecibo message. However, what if the Wow! Signal wasn’t a one-off broadcast experiment from an alien civilization but rather a transmission from a floating planet harboring aliens. This is a theory that Romanovskaya thinks SETI and SETA researchers should open their minds to.
Why should we consider that floating planets may be harboring aliens?
There are numerous reasons why Romanovskaya suggests that aliens not using spacecraft may instead be on floating planets. Aliens could be escaping an existential threat, or they could be sending biological or post-biological species to survey interstellar space. Her paper even uses the term ‘Cosmic Hitchhikers.’
Alien populations may use floating planets to escape threats
Romanovskaya thinks extraterrestrial civilizations may depart their native planetary systems when faced with existential threats. Riding free-floating planets are one of the ways to accomplish it. For huge populations starting on interstellar travel, free-floating planets can provide space and resources and protection from space radiation. Massive starships, often known as world ships, are unlikely to be able to offer the same level of service.
Extraterrestrial civilizations could also use free-floating planets to send biological or post-biological species to survey interstellar space, stars, and planetary systems or establish colonies in multiple planetary systems to preserve and expand their civilizations before facing existential threats at home.
Hitching a lift
Extraterrestrial civilizations may hitch a ride on free-floating planets intruding through their home planetary systems, or they may ride planet-like objects blasted from their planetary systems by dying host stars, according to Romanovskaya’s paper. Extraterrestrial civilizations could also convert Sedna-type Oort-cloud objects in their planetary systems into free-floating planets and ride them among the stars using propulsion systems and gravity assist events.
How would aliens power transit and exist?
Extraterrestrials could use controlled nuclear fusion as a source of energy, and they could live in the underground dwellings and oceans of free-floating planets to avoid space radiation, according to Romanovskaya. This would also prepare people for the colonization of oceans on other planets.
Extraterrestrial civilizations could exploit free-floating planets to reach and colonize planets orbiting stars since free-floating planets cannot sustain their seas indefinitely, and planetary systems offer more exploration options. Extraterrestrials might shift from their free-floating planets to selected Oort-cloud objects of planetary systems as they approached planetary systems, carrying them inwards and towards the planetary systems’ primary planets. Alternatively, such free-floating planets could be captured by planetary systems. The extraterrestrials would then colonize the world systems.
How should scientists search for aliens on the move?
To find extraterrestrials riding free-floating planets, Romanovskaya suggests looking for technosignatures—electromagnetic emissions produced by extraterrestrial technologies on the planets and in their vicinity—and, in some cases, matching signs of terraforming in a few planetary systems, which could indicate that one civilization riding free-floating planets could colonize them.
Have aliens hitchhiked through our solar system before? Can we find them now?
Romanovskaya proposes a very small likelihood that extraterrestrial beings have traveled in our star neighborhood over billions of years.
She outlines numerous strategies to seek their artifacts in the solar and surrounding planetary systems.
Migrating intelligent biological species or post-biological organisms with artificial intelligence may be riding free-floating planets and hunting for new homes hundreds of light-years away from Earth or even closer. Romanovskaya proposes that the search for such extraterrestrial space travelers, known as the search for migratory extraterrestrial intelligence (SMETI), be included in our quest for intelligent life elsewhere in the cosmos.
How should these theories be used?
These theories are explored in a Romanovskaya’s paper published by Cambridge University Press’ International Journal of Astrobiology titled “Migrating extraterrestrial civilizations and interstellar colonization“
The implications of this paper for SETI and SETA are that the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) may have a better chance of success if it includes the search for migrating extraterrestrial civilizations.
Whether we want astronomers to use Romanovskaya’s research suggestions to aid their efforts to make contact with extraterrestrial civilizations is a debate that the scientific community needs to have and potentially regulate communications aimed at attracting aliens as there is an increasing opinion that attracting aliens may be very dangerous for people. Stephen Hawking even warned about alien nomads in 2010. With Romanovskaya’s latest research, we now know that not only could alien colonies be on spacecraft, but rather floating planets or adapted meteorites.