Anthropic Principle

The anthropic principle is the philosophical consideration that observations of the universe must be compatible with the conscious and sapient life that observes it. Wikipedia
  • Weak anthropic principle. The observed values of all physical and cosmological quantities are not equally probable, but they take on values restricted by the requirement that there exist sites where carbon-based life can evolve and by the requirement that the universe be old enough for it to have already done so.

  • Strong anthropic principle. The universe must have those properties which allow life to develop within it at some stage in its history.

  • Final anthropic principle. Intelligent information-processing must come into existence in the universe, and, once it comes into existence, it will never die out.

We describe the framework and strategy of the Ĝ infrared search for extraterrestrial civilizations with large energy supplies, which will use the wide-field infrared surveys of WISE and Spitzer to search for these civilizations' waste heat. We develop a formalism for translating mid-infrared photometry into quantitative upper limits on extraterrestrial energy supplies. We discuss the likely sources of false positives, how dust can and will contaminate our search, and prospects for distinguishing dust from alien waste heat. We argue that galaxy-spanning civilizations may be easier to distinguish from natural sources than circumstellar civilizations (i.e., Dyson spheres), although GAIA will significantly improve our capability to identify the latter. We present a zeroth order null result of our search based on the WISE all-sky catalog: we show, for the first time, that Kardashev Type III civilizations (as Kardashev originally defined them) are very rare in the local universe. More sophisticated searches can extend our methodology to smaller waste heat luminosities, and potentially entirely rule out (or detect) both Kardashev Type III civilizations and new physics that allows for unlimited "free" energy generation.


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