Harvard professor says radio signals could be coming from intelligent alien spacecraft

Posted: 7 April 2017 | By Darcie Thompson-Fields

Scientists have discovered that radio bursts are most likely from alien spaceships.

The source of the burst of energy known as Fast Radio Bursts has previously remained a mystery to scientists.

They have been studied for the past 10 years and attributed to everything from aliens and errors in measurement to interference from Earth. But now a research team has confirmed that the signals are not coming from our planet.

According to Harvard professor Avi Loeb, the source for these “messages” could be leakage from planet-sized transmitters that are powering interstellar probes in distant galaxies.

Artist’s impression of a light-sail powered by a radio beam generated on the surface of a planet. Leakage from such beams could explain fast radio bursts (M.Weiss/CfA)


An artificial origin

“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,” Loeb has said, according to The Independent. “An artificial origin is worth contemplating and checking.”

Fast Radio Bursts (FRB) are bright flashes of radio emission lasting milliseconds. They were first picked up in 2007 when scientists discovered data that showed a burst had occurred in 2001. There have been few incidents since then but scientists have found that FRBs arrive in organised patterns.

In a paper due to be published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, Loeb along with fellow academic, Manasvi Lingman have explored whether the messages could emanate from a radio transmitter. This would require a planet-sized solar-power generator to send messages that reach across the galaxy.

Beyond human capabilities

This technology is far beyond current human capabilities but is not beyond the laws of physics and could be within the capabilities of a very developed alien civilisation, the scientists noted.

They found that such a technology would require such a high level of energy that it would cause itself to melt, unless it were water-cooled and twice the size of earth.

The researchers speculate that the energy being sent out is driving interstellar light sails, where spacecraft ride along on light waves in the same way a boat moves through the ocean. The source that’s generating the FRBs is powerful enough to push around something weighing a million tonnes.

“That’s big enough to carry living passengers across interstellar or even intergalactic distances,” said Lingam.

To power a craft like this the transmitter would have to be constantly pointing its beam to wherever the ship was located in space. If this was the case we would only pick up brief flashes of energy because the ship itself, the planet powering it and its own star would all be constantly moving. This could explain the pattern of the FRB reaching earth.

Loeb has said that his work is speculative and that further work must be done to determine the possibility of the idea.

“Science isn’t a matter of belief, it’s a matter of evidence. Deciding what’s likely ahead of time limits the possibilities. It’s worth putting ideas out there and letting the data be the judge.”

If you want to keep up with the aliens why not read our free guide to artificial intelligence in business.

Related industries

Related functions

Related topics

Related key players