April 21, 2024

Excerpts below from yesterday’s full original article at Popular Mechanics:

Harvard Scientists Theorize That Fast Radio Bursts Come From Alien Space Travel

Could these mysterious flashes of radio waves come from a planet-sized device to power alien spacecraft?

“Fast radio bursts (FRB) are perhaps the most mysterious phenomena we observe in the cosmos. Earlier this year, astronomers announced they had pinpointed an FRB for the first time in a dwarf galaxy that sits three billion light-years away. These intense blasts of radio waves last only 1 to 5 milliseconds, and they have perplexed astronomers since the first one was discovered in 2007.

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The leading theories suggest that FRBs come from incredibly volatile cosmic events, such as material being ejected from supermassive black holes, the explosions of superluminous supernovae, or rotating magnetars that lash surrounding material with their immense magnetic fields. But researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) have proposed a much more enticing theory. What if FRBs aren’t natural phenomena at all, but rather come from a massive artificial structure used to power alien spacecraft?

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,” said Harvard professor Avi Loeb in a press release. “An artificial origin is worth contemplating and checking.

The idea is that FRBs come from an immense alien power plant that is used to propel ships using light sails. A powerful beam of light can propel a reflective surface in the vacuum of space, which is the basis for light sail technology. Current human light sail experiments use light from the sun, but scientists are also working to develop a worldwide system of lasers that could propel small nanoprobes to about 20 percent the speed of light. Such technology, called photonic propulsion, could send a probe to Alpha Centauri, the closet star system to us, in roughly 20 years.

It’s possible that a more advanced alien species uses photonic propulsion to power much larger spaceships. Loeb and fellow Harvard researcher Manasvi Lingam found that if an object twice the size of the Earth were harnessing solar power and converting the energy into a laser beam to propel spacecraft, then the radio emissions from it would be detectable even across billions of light-years. Such a planet-sized power system would be capable of accelerating a spaceship weighing a million tons, which is about 20 times bigger than the biggest cruise ships.

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

The team’s findings are outlined in a paper titled, “Fast Radio Bursts from Extragalactic Light Sails,” which has been accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal Letters…”

Read more at the link to Popular Mechanics above

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