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Star Trek-style detector could spot aliens darting through Milky Way

Named LIGO, the instrument holds the key to identifying extraterrestrial mega-technology, scientists said.

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by Mark Waghorn via SWNS

A Star Trek-style detector could spot alien spaceships darting through the Milky Way, according to new research.

It picks up gravitational waves - incredibly fast ripples formed by the movement of massive objects.

Named LIGO, the instrument holds the key to identifying extraterrestrial mega-technology, scientists said.

It would smoke out "warp drives," theoretical engines that fuelled the USS Enterprise's interstellar missions in the cult TV series.

They would only have to come within about 326,000 light-years of Earth. More sensitive machines are already being planned to extend the distance much further.


Lead author Gianni Martire, CEO of New York think tank Applied Physics, said: "With trillions of stars out there, you are telling me that one doesn't have aliens that haven't done this? Just one? I think the odds are in our favor."

Experts say vehicles powerful enough to surf the universe will be massive - as big as a giant gas planet.

The study found it would have to be moving at about a tenth the speed of light - almost 20,000 miles a second, reported New Scientist.

Martire, an inventor and physicist, said: "I wouldn't want to be on the team figuring out how to build a Jupiter-sized spacecraft, but the odds aren't zero."

Warp drives work by deforming the fabric of space-time around the spaceship - creating their own "wrinkles."

The existence of gravitational waves was first predicted by Albert Einstein over a century ago.

They were confirmed when the twin LIGO interferometers located in Louisiana and Washington captured the collision of two black holes.


Martire said: "How do you know the difference between a comet and the starship

"You can tell between a rock and a warp drive the same way you can tell whether a jet
ski went past or a boat.

"They both create waves, but they have a particular signature in their wake."

Even if it isn't an alien spacecraft but simply a huge object moving far faster than we expect anything that big to go, it would be an important find.

Martire said: "Even if it's not aliens, it'd be something new. It would be exciting no matter what it is."

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