Scientists still can’t explain mysterious signals from deep space called fast radio bursts (FRB) that could be evidence of advanced alien technology, according to a new study published Friday.
Research wasn’t able to determine the source of the FRB — millisecond long pulses of radio light originating from extremely deep space. FRBs are roughly one billion times more luminous than anything ever detected in our own Milky Way galaxy.
The study examined the 22nd FRB detected by scientists to date. So far, no FRB has had an identifiable source, making them one of the great mysteries of space science. The baffling nature of these radio pulses has given rise to numerous theories regarding their origin, which range from supernova to intelligent alien communications.
“The burst was followed-up with 11 telescopes to search for radio, optical, X-ray, gamma-ray and neutrino emission,” states the study’s abstract. “Neither transient nor variable emission was found to be associated with the burst and no repeat pulses have been observed in 17.25 hours of observing.”
None of the 11 telescopes used in the research were able to detect anything that might identify its cause, or even exactly where it occurred. The Parkes Telescope in New South Wales, Australia originally detected the burst.
Researchers aren’t sure what caused the powerful signals of FRBs, but many explanations are purely natural. Astronomers once believed aliens cause certain stellar oddities when in reality they were simply unknown, new phenomenon.
Other research has suggested FRBs may be leakage from extremely technologically advanced aliens using planet-sized transmitters to power interstellar probes in distant galaxies. The FRBs 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 previous research into FRBs, 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. Repeated appearances of such a beam could be a sign of its artificial origin.
Radio astronomers detected numerous milliseconds 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.
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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