Recently I read an online comment suggesting that a worldwide “Space Night” could be fun. The idea was that, on a specific hour of a specific night, all the lights in the world would be turned off at once, so we could enjoy the vastness of space. Perhaps cookies shaped like Saturn and glow-in-the-dark milk could be served!
While this idea is noteworthy, it’s both impractical and unscientific.
Impractical, because no one wants to dim car lights, stoplights, or their smartphones for an entire hour–that’s just ludicrous.
Unscientific, because it would confuse the aliens.
You see, unless we send out an interstellar “FYI” message, any intelligent life forms watching us will be quite alarmed when the “silent planet,” us, suddenly goes dark. I can just imagine the ensuing conversation:
Alien 1: “Sir, could you take a look at this?”
Alien 2: “Yes, what is it?”
“Sir, planet X normally appears right here, in quadrant 5.”
“Well, sir… it isn’t.”
“What are you talking about?”
“It disappeared, sir! Its moon is still in orbit, and there’s a certain amount of light fluctuation where it was, but it just… disappeared! I’ve never seen anything like it, sir!”
“Impossible, planets don’t just disappear.”
“Sir, it’s been nearly an hour, and there has been no light detected from planet X, none!”
“But how… send the planet’s records to my office, I’ll have a team look at this immediately.”
15 minutes later
Ensuing scramble to pull up the data
“What in blazes–”
“Sir, I am at a complete loss to explain it!”
As you can see, an event such as “Space Night” could throw our celestial neighbors’ scientific progress into disarray.