Mysterious signals from deep space called fast radio bursts (FRB) could be evidence of advanced alien technology, according to a new study.
The study suspects these FRB might be leakage from extremely technologically advanced aliens using planet-sized transmitters to power interstellar probes in distant galaxies. The FRB’s level of power could plausibly be used to push payloads of a million tons of probes or spacecraft to extremely high speeds using interstellar light sails.
“Fast radio bursts are exceedingly bright given their short duration and origin at great distances, and we haven’t identified a possible natural source with any confidence,” Dr. Avi Loeb, a theorist at the Harvard University-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who was involved in the research, said in a press statement. “An artificial origin is worth contemplating and checking.”
Such a transmitter would need to focus a beam on a sail continuously to power it, meaning observers on Earth would only see a brief flash because the sail and its host planet are moving relative to us. A repeated appearances of such a beam could be a sign of its artificial origin.
Radio astronomers detected numerous milliseconds fast radio bursts, from various parts of space. FRB 121102 was particularly intriguing to scientists, as the signal sporadically repeated and scientists have long thought that a repeating signal could be an indicator of an intelligent alien civilization.
“These radio flashes must have enormous amounts of energy to be visible from that distance,” Dr. Shami Chatterjee, an astronomer at Cornell University who was involved in the research, told Universe Today. “It was like trying to find a needle in a terabyte haystack. It took a lot of algorithmic work to find it.”
Researchers aren’t sure what caused the powerful repeating signal, but many explanations are purely natural. Astronomers believed stellar oddities were caused by aliens before, when in reality they were simply unknown, new phenomenon.
Scientists estimate that the odds of humanity being the only civilization in the universe are less than one chance in about “10 billion trillion.”
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