Fast Radio Bursts may be unexplained at the moment, but Harvard physicists are now proposing that these bursts could be the product of alien technology. Fast Radio Bursts are extremely powerful and generate the equivalent of 500 million suns in terms of the energy that is created. In 2016, astronomers detected 16 Fast Radio Bursts, and all of these were mysteriously coming from the same place outside of the Milky Way.
Theoretical Physicist Avi Loeb explained that so far, scientists have not been able to discover any natural source for these Fast Radio Bursts, but suggests that if they are artificial, they are certainly worth exploring further.
“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. An artificial origin is worth contemplating and checking.”
While mysterious, Fast Radio Bursts certainly aren’t uncommon. In fact, scientists believe that there are 2,000 of them occurring on any given day. The greatest challenge faced by scientists trying to investigate Fast Radio Bursts stems from the fact that they are so exceedingly fast, with bursts lasting for just five milliseconds.
Even though these Fast Radio Bursts are so random and short-lived, researchers lucked out in 2016 when they discovered 16 bursts, which were all repeated and coming from the same place in space. Then, early in January, researchers again detected six further Fast Radio Bursts which were coming from the exact same location. After much work, scientists were finally able to deduce that the bursts were 3 billion light years away from Earth and were coming from a faint dwarf galaxy, as Science Alert report.
The Fast Radio Bursts which have been repeating since 2016 are officially known as FRB 121102, and while scientists have given these bursts a name, they are no closer to understanding what is causing them. The most popular theory at the moment is that they are sparked by “explosive” events occurring out in space, such as supermassive black holes that are spluttering out material or massive explosions from superluminous supernovae.
Even though researchers have theories about what is causing these Fast Radio Bursts, it is important to remember that, at this point, it is all speculation. With that speculation have come other theories, especially in light of FRB 121102, which has been repeating since 2016.
— Desclaux chantal (@Villa2Monde) March 10, 2017
Now Avi Loeb, from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, has suggested that Harvard physicists are open to the possibility that Fast Radio Bursts are coming from alien civilizations, as Loeb speculated in a new study.
“We examine the possibility that Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) originate from the activity of extragalactic civilizations. Our analysis shows that beams used for powering large light sails could yield parameters that are consistent with FRBs. The characteristic diameter of the beam emitter is estimated through a combination of energetic and engineering constraints, and both approaches intriguingly yield a similar result which is on the scale of a large rocky planet.”
Light sails are a photonic propulsion system that use the movement of photons to power them. This could be done by using the sun’s rays to harness energy or by using a giant laser propulsion system, which NASA speculates could get us to Mars in just three days, according to Science Alert.
Avi Loeb and his team of researchers say that these Fast Radio Bursts may be coming from an alien civilization that could be using a radio transmitter on their planet in order to make traveling by light sails possible for them. And although this is only a theory, and is written to show that it is a scientific possibility, it will be up to scientists in the future to either prove or disprove the team’s hypothesis.
“We envision a beamer that emits the radio waves as a method of launching a light sail. In the same way that a sailboat is pushed by wind, a lightsail is pushed by light and can reach up to the speed of light. Although the possibility that FRBs are produced by extragalactic civilizations is more speculative than an astrophysical origin, quantifying the requirements necessary for an artificial origin serves, at the very least, the important purpose of enabling astronomers to rule it out with future data.”
Do you believe it is possible that these Fast Radio Bursts could be caused by an alien civilization as Harvard physicists have speculated?
[Featured Image by NASA/Getty Images]