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Astroboffins moot massive Moon-mirror heliograph

How to catch ET's eye

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

A pair of US astrobiologists have come up with a cunningly simply way of attracting the attention of alien lifeforms - just cover half the Moon's surface with mirrors to throw back some extra sunlight in ET's direction.

According to New Scientist, Shawn Domagal-Goldman and Jacob Haqq-Misra of Pennsylvania State University in State College reckon the Moon-mirror could act as a kind of heliograph to beam a "code of prime number flashes" - just so distant beings fully get the message.

As an added bonus, when the mirrors aren't chatting to the universe, they could be "flipped" to present photovoltaic cells sunwards, generating electricity for microwave dispatch back to Earth.

Domagal-Goldman, who outlined the plan to the recent 2008 Astrobiology Science Conference in Santa Clara, California, said: "You could help solve the climate crisis, too."

Sorted. We can't help feeling though, that the fatal flaw in this scheme is how to protect delicate lunar mirror/solar panel installations from apocalyptic dwarf star impact.

Doubtless the lads have a parabolic collector solar death ray weapon in mind for this eventuality, one which doubles as the world's largest eco-friendly barbecue when not fending off hostile bodies. ®

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