This seems to be becoming something of a trend (which I’ll get to in a moment) but there’s yet another story showing up in the mainstream media this week that takes the subject – or at least the possibility – of extraterrestrial intelligence seriously. This story is the latest in a round of instances where scientists have discovered fast radio bursts coming from distant galaxies and they don’t appear to fit in with the normal background cosmic noise. That’s not to say that they couldn’t be generated by some suspected event that’s entirely natural, but their patterns seem to hint at something more artificial. This is from ABC News.
Astronomers can’t rule out that possibility after an exciting new discovery. A team in Canada recently stumbled upon ultra-brief repeating waves from deep space for only the second time in history.
Appearing on ABC News Live, Senior SETI astronomer Seth Shostak talked about the fascinating find: “Could that be aliens that are in those galaxies and they have some need to get in touch… well maybe.”
These fast radio bursts are actually one of the least interesting possibilities for me when it comes to the idea of detecting some sort of alien civilization. The one they just detected isn’t even coming from our own galaxy. To generate a radio signal that would reach to other galaxies and arrive with enough power to detect it would apparently require a transmitter capable of putting out more energy than the sun. Why build something like that even if you could?
Also, the history of astrophysics is littered with cases of mysterious signals that we thought might have been aliens but turned out to be something else entirely. When we first detected regular, repeating bursts of energy from around our galaxy, some felt they might be extraterrestrial travel beacons or something. They turned out to be quasars.
Still, getting back to my original point, it’s fascinating to see how many mainstream media outlets are doing serious reporting on stories where scientists discuss the possibility of advanced alien life. For a long time, journalists wouldn’t touch these stories unless they treated them as a big joke. Failing to follow that rule could cost you your career in the news industry. But that seemed to change around Christmas of 2017 when the New York Times covered the government’s admission that they had videos of craft they can’t identify (and don’t have the technology to build themselves) and a funded program to study such phenomenon.
There were several others to follow. Most recently, we saw a report last month about that space object from outside our solar system (Oumaumua) that flew past. Some of the scientists studying it still can’t rule out the possibility that it was an alien probe of some type. And the press reported the story in a serious fashion.
What do you think? I’ve often wondered if the government doesn’t know more than they’re telling us on this subject. If they’ve got the military out there chasing around unknown craft, perhaps they’re finally reaching the point of telling people about it. Seems like something we’d want to know, doesn’t it?