While warp drive will almost certainly never exist, there is no law of physics that forbids interstellar travel. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why a sci-fi idea is not beyond the realm of possibility, and why some scientists are not afraid to seriously think about how such a thing could work.
Imagine a new research article in the International Journal of Astrobiology in which author Irina Romanovskaya, a professor of physics and astronomy at Houston Community College, suggests that extraterrestrial civilizations could already do this in a particular way. Indeed, Romanovskaya says that interstellar travel is likely to create technosignatures — such as radio waves, industrial pollution, light pollution, or anything that involves the use of advanced technology — when aliens participate in such travel.
Astronomers and astrophysicists have routinely searched for extraterrestrial life by looking for biosignatures – such as water, oxygen, or chlorophyll – on other planets. But interestingly, Romanovskaya suggests that interstellar travel can be done with the help of free-floating planets, and not spaceships, as we see in the films.
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“Some extraterrestrial civilizations may migrate from their home planetary systems to other planetary systems,” writes Romanovskaya. “Most likely, they will face serious or insurmountable technical problems when using spacecraft to transport large populations over interstellar distances.”
“With little starlight reaching free-floating planets, aliens could use controlled fusion as a power source, and they could populate the underground habitats and oceans of free-floating planets to protect themselves from cosmic radiation.”
Essentially, Romanovskaya believes that aliens may be “space hitchhikers,” taking advantage of various flyby events through free-floating planets. Unlike Earth, free-floating planets are not bound by gravity to their stars like Earth is, making them more mobile. A study published in the journal Nature Astronomy has found at least 70 nomadic exoplanets in our galaxy, suggesting they are not as rare as scientists previously thought. It is possible that these planets have liquid oceans under thick layers, and some may even have simple life forms.
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“Some advanced civilizations can send their population or technology to other stars during a flyby, some advanced civilizations can build stellar engines, and some advanced civilizations can use free-floating planets as interstellar transport to move their populations to other planetary systems,” she wrote. Romanovskaya. “Various methods of interstellar migration and interstellar colonization can contribute to the spread of highly developed extraterrestrial civilizations in the Galaxy, and each method of interstellar …