Skip to content
Culture & Religion

How to Find Alien Life? Look for Nuclear Weapons Blasts.

Researchers are looking for signs of life in different places: in their destruction, like that of a nuclear apocalypse.


It’s hard to believe we’re alone out here in this endless universe. But, in such a vast expanse, there’s a chance it may all end without us ever meeting another intelligent civilization. Until we become more of a spacefaring civilization, able to explore the universe, we’re left to merely look at the stars to find what could be or what could have been a civilization.

Astronomer Jason Wright has already searched 100,000 galaxies for waste and heat signatures emitted by “supercivilizations,” but his team of scientists has come up empty-handed so far. The search is still on, but recently another group of researchers has turned to look for simpler signatures indicating life… or what used to be life.

Astronomer Jason Wright has already searched 100,000 galaxies for waste and heat signatures emitted by “supercivilizations,” but his team of scientists has come up empty-handed so far.

Researchers are looking for signs of life in different places: in their destruction, like that of a nuclear apocalypse. A planet undergoing one nuclear explosion wouldn’t be enough to send a discernible heat and light signature light-years away — at least not enough for our telescopes to detect. There would need to be a multitude of blasts, so this civilization would probably be dead.

These researchers have crafted a paper devising several apocalyptic scenarios that could produce a heat and light signature strong enough to be detected by us. These scenarios would have to produce “significant changes in atmospheric composition,” they write. This might include decimation by atomic bombs, pathogen, or pollution. Even the destruction of the planet itself could tell researchers if it once held an intelligent civilization. By looking at production of debris through the explosive disc rings, they “may indicate signs of artificial construction in their chemical composition.”

Is there intelligent life out there in the universe? Theoretical physicist Brian Greene says it’s complicated.


Related