A new study concluded that quantum signals could travel interstellar distances. Therefore, it is possible that an alien civilization is sending messages to Earth.
Light particles, or photons, could be transmitted across vast interstellar distances without losing their quantum nature. This was reported by the researchers last year in Physical Review O.
This means that scientists looking for extraterrestrial messages could also be looking for quantum messages.
Quantum messages from aliens
Experts are currently developing Earth-based quantum communication. A technology that uses quantum particles to send information and has the potential to be more secure than standard communication.
Intelligent aliens, if they are out there, could have embraced quantum communication as well. This was revealed by the theoretical physicist Arjun Berera.
A major obstacle to achieving quantum communication is decoherence. This means that a quantum particle loses its quantum character when it interacts with its environment.
“Quantum states are usually considered very delicate, and if there is some kind of external interaction, that state is destroyed.”
Because the average density of matter in space is much lower than on Earth, it is necessary to wait for particles to travel much farther before succumbing to decoherence.
For this reason, Berera, together with the theoretical physicist Jaime Calderón Figueroa, both from the University of Edinburgh, calculated the distance that light, specifically X-rays, could travel unscathed through interstellar space.
Much longer lasting missives
X-ray photons could move through the Milky Way without any problem. Potentially traveling hundreds of thousands of light-years or more, according to the researchers.
Based on such results, both Berera and Calderón Figueroa considered strategies to search for quantum messages sent by some advanced civilization.
One potential type of communication to look for is quantum teleportation. In which the properties of a distant particle can be transferred to another.
Because the technology needs both quantum and common signals, experts could search for those simultaneous signals to identify any alien quantum missives.
It is possible that an advanced extraterrestrial civilization has already tried to communicate with humanity. It is possible that this new study will lead to the discovery of messages that the Earth has received without our knowledge.