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Floating planets can become spaceships


The most advanced extraterrestrial civilizations could use free-floating planets as interstellar transportation to reach, explore and colonize other planetary systems, according to a new study. The researchers believe that it would be feasible to discover the technological signatures of such interstellar travel.

New research recently published in the International Journal of Astrobiology concludes that floating planets, also known as wandering or rogue planets, could be used by intelligent alien civilizations to make interstellar travel and conquer new worlds. In this way, they would not require spacecraft or other similar technologies to explore the cosmos beyond their host star.

Technological firms and interstellar travel

According to astronomer Irina Romanovskaya, a professor at the Houston Community College in the United States and the sole author of the study, it is possible to search for and discover the technology firms related to those interstellar trips. The technological signature refers to the “traces” left by civilizations when interacting with the Universe with the technologies they create. For example, an extraterrestrial civilization could find probes sent by human beings into space and thus discover our existence in the vast cosmos.

According to the conclusions reached by Romanovskaya in her research, the advanced alien civilizations they can produce observable technological signatures when they migrate within their planetary systems and to other planetary systems. The scientist proposes that these alien societies can use free-floating planets as interstellar transport: in this way, they would be able to explore and colonize new worlds.

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Nomadic planets that harbor life

The “rogue” planets, floating or wandering they are nomadic stars that travel freely through space, since their orbit is not related to the influence of any star. Previous studies have identified their presence in different areas of space and there are even theories that suggest that they could be habitable. According to an article published in the Planetary Society, which analyzes some of these scientific hypotheses, nomadic planets and moons could be a place conducive to life.

Scientists believe that planets that do not orbit any stars originally form around stars like any other star, but at some point they are ejected from their system due to the gravitational effects of the giant planets within them. This could even have happened at some stage in the history of our own solar system.

For Romanovskaya, the search for migratory extraterrestrial intelligence (SMETI), should focus on discovering potential technosignatures and artifacts that may be produced by extraterrestrial civilizations using free-floating planets for interstellar migration and colonization. As a concrete example, he studies the case of the star GJ 433, which underwent a close flyby of the Solar System a few thousand years ago. According to the specialist, interstellar migration by flybys of stars, as in the case of GJ 433, can also be used for travel between planetary systems through rogue planets.

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According to an article published in Universe Today, the author of the new research argues that nomadic planets can provide a constant surface gravity, large amounts of space and resources. These stars with surface and subterranean oceans can provide water as a consumable resource and for protection against space radiation.

Civilizations that reproduce

In the same sense, the astronomer concludes that a “mother civilization” sufficiently advanced it can create unique and autonomous daughter civilizations that inhabit different planets, moons or regions of space. These civilizations would use the rebellious planets as “ships” to move to other worlds with more interesting conditions for long-term life, as they would have the protection and energy of a star.

In this way, a “progenitor civilization” could spread the seeds of “daughter civilizations” in the form of colonies in multiple planetary systems: whether they are biological or post-biological species, that is, life forms that integrate biological and artificial characteristics. Although it seems like part of a science fiction novel, the scenario proposed may be part of a concrete need for humanity, when in about 5,000 million years the Sun becomes ungovernable and makes life in the Solar System unviable.


Migrating extraterrestrial civilizations and interstellar colonization: implications for SETI and SETA. Irina K. Romanovskaya. International Journal of Astrobiology (2022). DOI:https://doi.org/10.1017/S1473550422000143

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