An artificial intelligence used by SETI (the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) has found several previously overlooked possible signs of alien intelligence.
Unusual and “mysterious radio bursts” have been detected 3 billion light years away from Earth, thanks to an artificial intelligence program at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI).
Astronomers have detected yet another mysterious and powerful fast radio burst hitting Earth from an unknown source in space. If that’s not strange enough, this particular fast radio burst is incredibly low, in the 580 megahertz frequency range – nearly 200 MHz lower than any other fast radio burst we’ve picked up on before.
A massive number of new signals have been discovered coming from the notorious repeating fast radio source FRB 121102 – and we can thank artificial intelligence for these findings. Researchers at the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) project Breakthrough Listen applied machine learning to comb through existing data, and found 72 fast radio bursts that had previously been missed.
“Not all discoveries come from new observations,” Pete Worden, executive director of Breakthrough Initiatives, a SETI project, said in a statement. “In this case, it was smart, original thinking applied to an existing dataset. It has advanced our knowledge of one of the most tantalizing mysteries in astronomy.”
“This work is only the beginning of using these powerful methods to find radio transients,” said Gerry Zhang in the statement. “We hope our success may inspire other serious endeavors in applying machine learning to radio astronomy.”
It’s still unclear what is causing the FRBs, with SETI describing their source and mechanism as “mysterious.” Theories include “highly magnetized neutron stars, blasted by gas streams near to a supermassive black hole, to suggestions that the burst properties are consistent with signatures of technology developed by an advanced civilization.”
What makes the FRBs that are emanating from FRB 121102 interesting is that these are usually one-time events. However, FRB 121102 has been unusually active since it was discovered in 2012, with researchers calling it a “repeater.”
The researchers used the scientific program Breakthrough Listen to help go through 400 TB of data and find the 21 bursts, which were all seen within one hour, “suggesting that the source alternates between periods of quiescence and frenzied activity.”
It’s unknown how common FRBs actually are. FRBs, which were first discovered in 2007, are relatively new to astronomers and their origins are mysterious. According to ScienceAlert, some of them can generate as much energy as 500 million Suns in a few milliseconds.
Last month, an FRB that hit Earth was nearly 200 megahertz lower than any other radio burst ever detected. …
… astronomers, including those from Harvard, have also previously said they could not rule out that FRBs may stem from advanced civilizations deep in space.
On Aug. 26, 2017, astronomers with the Breakthrough Listen project — a $100 million effort to hunt in for signs of intelligent alien life — spotted 21 repeating light pulses called fast radio bursts (FRBs) emanating from the dwarf galaxy FRB 121102 within the span of 1 hour.
Some scientists think FRBs come from fast-rotating neutron stars, but their source has not been nailed down. And that explains Breakthrough Listen’s interest: It’s possible that the bursts are produced by intelligent extraterrestrials, perhaps to blast space-sailing craft through the cosmos at incredible speeds, some folks have speculated.
Is there any pattern in these Fast Radio Bursts that looks statistically like an intelligent signal?
Odd Thought: Imagine FSBs are encrypted signals from drone space ships the most advanced humans among us are sending sent out to explore the universe using secret “faster than light” technology. I don’t think so, but it would be great if our secret stuff was that good now.
If this is all an advanced virtual reality simulation, three billion light years is nothing because space as we know it is an illusion.
If there are aliens out there, here’s hoping they send over a few tips on how to survive our current predicaments.