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Alien megastructures: we shouldn’t search for ourselves in the stars

Extraterrestrial civilisation would look like nothing we can imagine

By Philip Ball  

We have no idea what an alien civilisation would look like

I spoke recently at a scientific gathering about a theory suggesting that life, far from being very rare in the cosmos, might be expected to spring up wherever planetary circumstances permit. Afterwards, an eminent cosmologist asserted that this idea couldn’t be right, because then intelligent civilisations would have spread throughout the universe and we’d be surrounded by neighbours—who would surely have made themselves known by now. He was…

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