Mystery radio bursts may signal that we aren't alone in the universe...maybe


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Alien-invasion sensationalism aside, I know I’m not the only one who feels that an extraterrestrial encounter is more a matter of “when” than “if.” All signs point to the possibility of the existence of life outside of our solar system (or even in it), and while not actually proof, CSIRO’s (the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization) discovery of a “single-burst of radio emission of unknown origin” made me sit up and pay attention.

Lasting only a millisecond each, CSIRO scientists report measuring four separate sources of energy from different locations, and this seems to confirm a "flash" of radio energy that was initially detected six years ago but went unconfirmed.

What could the radio bursts be? It’s an enigma, but it is known that in order to reach us here on Earth (and judging by the characteristics of the transmission) from what appears to be a source 11 billion light years away, the signal released as much energy instantly as our sun does in about 300 thousand years. That’s quite the burst. Scientists are on the bench about the possible sources, opinions running through a gambit from insanely strong magnetic fields surrounding colliding neutron stars to evaporating black holes and more.

Between you and me, I think the most obvious explanation for the phenomenon has been left unsaid: Galactic communications spanning the vast cosmos by a highly advanced alien society. Moving around us like we do insects in our own world, firing off bursts of communication that we’ve only now noticed, almost accidently.

Whether or not that's the actual source remains to be seen, of course. Still, I’d say it’s time to circle the wagons and get serious about space exploration. Well, that and go back to going to bed with a flashlight within easy reach, right?

[CSIRO via]

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