There are two ways to verify the existence of Vulcan. The first appears relatively benign. A simple search for (the estimated 21 - 22 magnitude) Vulcan at the posted ephemeredes 1 - See Ephemeredes could be conducted. A large aperture telescope (like the 120 inch Lick reflector) could acquire an image, but a nightlong exposure would be required. Alternately, a search for alien Electro-optical transmissions from its vicinity may provide another detection mechanism. This approach has been outlined by Beishline et. al.in their "Dowsing For Extra-Terrestrials" paper and a small part of that paper is reproduced here.2 Both these ways offer a technical approach which could verify Vulcan's existence (and possibly the existence of extra- terrestrial aliens as well).
2. TECHNOLOGICAL VERIFICATION VIA LIDAR SIGNATURES
Empty space isn't completely empty. Our own Earth is being constantly bombarded by meteors. While the density of this matter is expected to diminish between stars, there is no evidence that it entirely vanishes. In fact gaseous nebulae and interstellar dust often diminish the intensity of light from known stars. Space ships travelling between stars must, by necessity, contend with this debris. What's more, to travel between even the nearby stars within normal human lifetimes, these space ships must travel at speeds that are a large fraction of the speed of light. The previous section estimates the arrival intervals of the Greys to be about every 2.2 and 2.8 years. If so, each of four space ship shuttles leaving every 2.3 years and traveling at 0.5 c, would spend 9.2 years in transit. Here, c is the speed of light.
Collisions between near stationary interstellar debris of even pebble size can prove disastrous to a space ship moving at a significant fraction of the speed of light. Thus, these vessels must monitor the space directly in their path and undertake either evasive maneuvers to avoid debris, or take measures to destroy it. These activities form the basis of a means for Earth based observers to detect the presence of these vessels as well as determine the origin of their journey. More importantly, the means utilized by these alien space ships to negate potentially hazardous collisions with interstellar debris provides a means to verify their existence.
Assume an alien space ship is traveling at 0.5 c. Also assume this vessel collided with a spherical silica pebble 6.2 millimeters in diameter (whose weight would be about 0.4 grams). This collision could yield an explosion from the resulting release of kinetic energy equivalent to that of a one kiloton nuclear detonation. To avoid impacts that would release energy equivalent to detonations the size of a one ton bomb, a detection mechanism would have to be able to detect particles less than 620 microns in diameter. Even particles smaller than these would leave permanent scars on a heavily armored space ship. Clusters of smaller particles could also pose a threat.
A millimeter band radar operating above 150 GHz or a LIDAR (a radar operating at optical wavelengths) seems the most likely choice for such a detection system. Particles in the sub millimeter range lend themselves to detection by optical means rather than millimeter waves. Consequently, laser radiation may be expected to scan the space immediately in front of these interstellar space ships. Since the interstellar debris cannot be expected to be at rest relative to the incoming space ship, a small angular volume of frontal space must be scanned for these particles.
Once an impending collision is detected, the space ship would have three options. First, turn to avoid the debris; second, destroy the debris; or third, sustain the collision. Calculations indicate that at speeds of half that of light, a spaceship would be given only milliseconds of warning of an impending collision even if detection of the debris particle extended outward one thousand kilometers.
Interstellar space is expected to be relatively free of debris, so the only interference for LIDAR returns would be from stars (including our Sun) whose positions would be fixed relative to the space ship. Any obscured debris would have to maintain a constant bearing towards the space ship for only milliseconds for an undetected collision to occur. However, the few millisecond reaction time (based on a thousand kilometer detection range may be too short to permit adequate space ship reaction. A dowser was employed to verify these numbers and, interestingly, he dowsed the detection range to be 66,000 miles, which at 0.5 c, would permit a warning time of half a second.
Should only nearby (within five hundred miles) debris be of interest, distant returns could be filtered out by range-gate techniques applied to the reflected signal. The trajectory of threat debris would have to be established (presumably by computer means) and corrective action promptly taken. This implies that a relatively precise track of the debris particles must be generated, and this in turn requires a laser with fairly narrow, yet high power, pulse. A space ship moving at one fifth the speed of light will move at about a hundred miles a millisecond. The LIDAR would have to acquire about 20 pulses on a debris particle at 500 miles and display the resultant data on some sort of photoactive surface (like a charged-coupled array) so range, velocity and bearing angle could be determined. A burst of 20 - 100 pulse Doppler like pulses with a frame rate of a few milliseconds (270 milliseconds for a 66,000-mile detection range) may be one possible waveform. Both the pulse Doppler requirement and a bank of narrow band optical filters would require a very stable laser, one that would not drift in wavelength with temperature or age during the space flight.
Since the space ship is assumed to be heading towards our solar system, the Earth will likely be in the angular region monitored by these LIDARs. Earth based, airborne or orbiting telescopes, should monitor the directions from which alien space ships are anticipated to be approaching. Detection of the LIDAR's pulsed radiation a half light year (or more) out (See Appendix A, Calculation C-4 , not provided on this web site), should be attempted. Alternatively, the destruction of a debris particle, or the collision with a small debris particle with the space ship may be possible. Such actions are expected to continue as the interstellar space ship closes on our solar system and the density of the threatening debris increases. While the approaching speed of the space ship may diminish, the occurrence and size of this debris, along with LIDAR or debris destruction signatures, will increase with proximity to our solar system. Our solar system's Oort Cloud or Kuiper Belt are principal sources of this debris.
Alien LIDAR laser wavelengths are of immediate importance. While alien technology remains generally unknown to us, lazing materials are expected to remain somewhat the same throughout the galaxy. Table V-1 lists candidate pulsed lasers that may be employed by the aliens. Solid rather than gaseous lasers are likely the most robust (a factor of significant importance on an interstellar journey) while gas lasers are the most powerful.
|Atom or Molecule||Material|
g = gas, s = solid
|Pulse Rep Freq.|
|0.157||F2||g||6||10||50||105 to 106 pulses/gas fill.|
|0.266||Nd:YAG||s||4||50||0.02||4 th harmonic of Nd..|
|0.347||Cr:Al2O3||s||25||100||0.1||2 nd harmonic of ruby..|
|0.355||Nd:YAG||s||5||100||0.1-20||3 rd harmonic of Nd.|
|0.502||HgBr||g||50||100||5-100||> 150 deg. C required.|
|0.532||Nd:YAG||s||7||200||20||2 nd harmonic of Nd.|
|0.511||Cu||g||30||2.3||6 kHz||High temperature required.|
|0.578||Cu||g||30||2.3||6 kHz||IBID above.|
|0.694||Cr:Al2O3||s||20||104||0.02||Q switched ruby laser.|
|0.850||GaAs||s||100||0.01||1 kHz||Semiconductor diode array.|
|1.06||Nd:Glass||s||15||2 x 104||0.03||IBID above.|
|2.64-||HF||g||500||300||2||Discrete (~50) line spectra.|
|5-6||CO||g||100||8 X 103||5||IBID above.|
|12-13||NH3||g||100||100||10||Pumped with CO2.|
The wavelength variable lasers are of the least interest because a stable line is required for the interference filters to reject interfering stellar radiation. Short wavelength lasers (such as fluorine or rare gas lasers with halide donors) are usually limited to about a million pulses per gas re-fill, and the need for continuous gas recharge would reduce reliability on long space journeys. Our dowser examined the entire known spectrum and came up with wavelengths of 0.260, 0.578 and 0.965 microns. If the dowser was observing these values as they would appear to us, they are close to the (wavelength shifted) first and fourth harmonics of the Nd:Glass laser. The copper (CU) laser is another potential candidate because it radiates at 0.578 microns, but it currently suffers from low power capabilities. Alternately, this value may arise from a wavelength shifted Ruby (Cr:Al2O3) laser. Both the Nd:Glass and Ruby lasers are capable of high powers
Just as distant stars and galaxies experience a relativistic Doppler "red shift" as they speed away from us, laser radiation from incoming space craft will experience a "violet shift" as they approach our solar system. The miss-matched of the dowsed Nd:Glass laser values indicate their velocities. The actual value for the fourth and first harmonics for this laser should be 0.266 and 1.06 respectively. These correspond to incoming spaceships going 0.15 c and 0.30 c. Considering the Ruby laser, the 0.578-micron value could be coming from an incoming space craft going 0.41 c. All these values are consistent with the ASTRO-METRICS estimate of spacecraft velocities less than 0.98 c or this section's estimate of 0.5 c.
As an alien space ship travels between their home star and our solar system, our Sun will eventually come within the region where its radiation could mask the presence of threatening debris. This is especially true in the last half light year (about 30,000 AU) of its journey as it nears our solar system and the velocity of debris particles becomes a significant fraction of its velocity. Solar radiation falls off slowly as a function of wavelength in the long optical wavelength region, but quickly at short wavelengths. Thus, the fourth harmonic of the Nd:Glass laser is offered as an attractive LIDAR. As the dowsed results suggest, these values may be strongly shifted towards the violet. But the Sun's irradiation will also be shifted towards the violet (as viewed from their space ship) due to the relative closure velocities. Atmospheric ozone (O3), carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O) may intermittently attenuate some terrestrial observations as the relative velocity of the spacecraft slows down or speeds up.
Figure 11-1 in the previous (HILL ALIENS) section indicates that they are aware of Vulcan and may frequently visit it. It is thought that the single pair of solid lines (connecting stars S and V) indicates that the aliens operate within the Sun/Vulcan system. If Vulcan is only 454 AU distant, their mother ships may be placed in orbit about it. Space debris increases as their ships near our solar system, especially when they are near Vulcan. It attracts debris from the Oort cloud and collision with that debris can be fatal. The aliens likely "sling shot" around it to slow down their incoming space craft or accelerate departing ones. Obviously, monitoring these LIDAR transmissions offers an attractive detection mechanism.
Figure V-1 - The Sun's Irradiance.
Ruby (Cr:Al2O3) and the Nd/Glass lasers, offer both the stability and durability needed on a long space mission. See Figure V-1. Whereas both the Sun's irradiance and debris particle's Doppler shift will be different, Relativity will limit these competing effects. The Ruby laser's wavelength (0.694 microns) is just above the peak in the solar spectra and the Doppler effect will likely not take it out of the Sun's peak radiation range. The best bet may be the fourth harmonic of the Nd/Glass laser if very high levels of power could be generated. Otherwise, the Ruby laser may offer the best solution. Either, or both, may be a good choices for an alien debris detector LIDAR. Of course, alien technology could provide an unexpected alternate detection mechanism.
Telescopes of substantial aperture (twenty-four to thirty-six inches) are becoming available at modest costs. Detection sensitivity computations have yet to be made, but considering that they must detect a 500 micron sized particle at an estimated 66,000 miles, they should be quite powerful. Several automated telescopes employing a bank of automatically interchangeable narrow band optical interference filters and flash detectors could monitor the night skies in the region of Vulcan or the relevant star systems considered earlier. Monitoring Alpha Centauri offers the greatest promise due to the "Greys" apparent frequent re-visitation of our system. Others may come along with them. Detection of LIDAR or debris destruction when the space ship is well over half its journey from its home stellar system is desired because both high signal intensity and significant angular separation of the space ship from its home star is anticipated. Alternately, detection of incoming or outbound spacecraft "rounding" Vulcan is attractive because Vulcan's orbital ephemeredes are provided.1 - See Ephemeredes
2.Beishline, Blackburn and Warmkessel; DOWSING FOR EXTRA- TERRESTRIALS; American Association Of Dowsers; Fall 1995.