If extraterrestrial life exists in our neck of the Milky Way, how would we make our presence known to one another? Could we just shoot a massive, unmistakable signal out into space?

As it turns out, this wild-sounding idea could actually be carried out with current and developing technologies. A new MIT study found that by shining a powerful laser through a gigantic telescope, humans could produce a beam of infrared radiation detectable from 20,000 light-years away. A feasibility study on the concept was published in the The Astrophysical Journal on November 5.

As part of a project for one of MIT’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics classes, graduate student James Clark wanted to see if we could make ourselves visible to aliens as they hunt for nearby life. And what better way than by projecting a massive beam of infrared radiation into the sky?

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