By Jesse Emspak
Need to send a message across interstellar space? Use the sun for a signal boost. A new proposal suggests that the sun’s gravity could be used to amplify signals from an interstellar space probe, allowing video to be streamed from as far away as Alpha Centauri. Better still, the technology to do it has already been invented.
Though we don’t have probes far out enough to take advantage of this technology yet, it may eventually come in handy for interstellar communications. Building the communications grid now makes calls to our own spacecraft – or that of another alien race – a future possibility.
To receive even a single-watt signal from a probe in Alpha Centauri, the nearest star system to our own, independent astrophysicist Michael Hippke found that an Earth-based instrument would need to be 53 kilometres across – bigger than New York City.
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