Research on SETI, black holes, XRB and star lifting

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This page is meant to stimulate SETI research on black holes, X-Ray binaries (XRB) and star lifting. It was initiated by Clément Vidal (2011). If you want to collaboratively edit it, you are welcome to Join EDU. You can also email Clément Vidal.

Situation

The Search for Extra-Terrestrials (SETI) has been unsuccessful so far. Additional new methods needs to be taken into account, and, since we don't know anything about ETIs, it is wise to promote a variety of hypotheses and approaches.

Here, we especially look at the possibility that ETIs have, are or will be engaging in star lifting. Consequences of such operations are likely to be observable.

According to Vidal (2011), XRB are good ETI candidate. How can we assess this hypothesis?

Problems

General SETI strategies

  • What is the highest Energy Rate Density (ERD) we can imagine in the universe?
    • What kind of system could achieve it?
    • Could we use this as an heuristic to search ETIs?
  • What are the highest ERD we can observe in the universe (outside Earth)?
    • Could we use this as an heuristic to search ETIs?
  • Can we find evidence of control in the XRB's energy flow?

Energy flow regulation or control is a necessary condition for the growth, maintenance, evolution and reproduction of complex systems (see e.g. Aunger 2007; Chaisson 2011). Are some XRBs displaying such a feature?

  • What are the energy rate densities of accreting binary star systems?

How can we calculate it more precisely, using Eric Chaisson's (2001;2003) "energy rate density" metric?

  • How can we distinguish a natural process from an artificial and unknown one?

Accretion is an ubiquitous astrophysical process in galaxy and planetary formation, so XRBs may simply always be natural. Let me however introduce an analogy. Fission can be found in natural forms, as well as fusion, which is one of the core energetic processes in stellar evolution. Yet, humans try to copy them, and would greatly benefit to -always- control them. So it is not because a process is known to be natural that its actual use is not driven by an intelligence.In fact, the situation may be even more subtle. The formation of XRBs might be natural, but controlled or taken over by ETIs, like a waterfall is a natural energy source humans can harness with dams. So, how can we develop criteria for natural versus artificial? Non-equilibrium thermodynamics, systems theory, artificial life, etc. because of their general concepts and applicability, will certainly provide key conceptual frameworks. Metrics like Freitas' (1984) sentience quotient or Chaisson's (2001, 2003) energy rate density are certainly very promising, and a KII-BΩ civilization should score high on them. Those metrics also indicate that the distinction natural versus artificial may be of a continuous nature.

  • What is the origin, evolution, fate and possible migration of XRB?

With this question I mean that a compelling argument for the existence of advanced ETIs will most likely come from an evolutionary and global cosmic understanding of natural and possibly artificial stellar evolution in our and other galaxies.

Progressing on these issues

Benefits

People Interested

Tools

Bibliography

Aunger, Robert. 2007. “A rigorous periodization of ‘big’ history.” Technological Forecasting and Social Change 74 (8) (October): 1164-1178. doi:10.1016/j.techfore.2007.01.007.

Chaisson, E. J. 2001. Cosmic Evolution: The Rise of Complexity in Nature. Harvard University Press.

———. 2003. “A Unifying Concept for Astrobiology.” International Journal of Astrobiology 2 (02): 91-101. http://www.tufts.edu/as/wright_center/eric/reprints/unifying_concept_astrobio.pdf .

———. 2011. “Energy rate density as a complexity metric and evolutionary driver.” Complexity 16 (3): 27-40. doi:10.1002/cplx.20323. http://www.tufts.edu/as/wright_center/eric/reprints/EnergyRateDensity_I_FINAL_2011.pdf.

Freitas, R. A. 1984. “Xenopsychology.” Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact 104: 41-53. http://www.rfreitas.com/Astro/Xenopsychology.htm.


Vidal, C. 2011 Black Holes: Attractors for Intelligence? Presented at the Kavli Royal Society International Centre, "Towards a scientific and societal agenda on extra-terrestrial life", 4-5 Oct 2010. http://arxiv.org/abs/1104.4362