Fast radio bursts may point to alien solar powered sails

The search for alien life has been very extensive and scientists looked for many signs like radio broadcasts.

New research suggests that fast radio bursts could be the evidence of extraterrestrial technology. They can come from planet-sized radio transmitters powering interstellar probes in space.

“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 theorist Avi Loeb. “An artificial origin is worth contemplating and checking.”

Fast radio bursts are millisecond long flashes of radio emissions. They were first discovered in 2007, and dozens of them were detected by large telescopes like the Parkes Observatory in Australia. Astronomers believe they come from galaxies billions light years away.

Loeb and his co-author Manasvi Lingam, from the Harvard University, were examining the possibility if they can be created by alien technology. A transmitter that is solar powered needs a area twice the size of the Sun.While we cannot create such technology currently, its not impossible by the laws of physics.

They were considering if such a large energy will melt any underlying structure. However, they found that a water-cooled device twice the size of Earth could survive the heat.

The most plausible use of such instrument is to power interstellar solar sails. Such a massive amounts of energy can power ships of millions tons, over twenty size of the largest ship on Earth.

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

To power such a sail, the beam must stream at it continuously. From the Earth we will see just a brief pulse of light. Because of this the beam will sweep across the sky and point at us only once. The repeated appearances of it can be explained if its from an artificial design.

The author of the study admits that this is speculative and when he was asked if he believes that this could be aliens , he replied, “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.”