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space aliens?

Mar 15, 2017

US scientists ask, Have we already heard from space aliens?

The answer to 'Where are the aliens?' may have been heard but not understood at The Dish

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Even greater fame may await The Dish

For all of the space age, astronomers have occasionally asked ‘Have we seen aliens and not recognised them?’

According to this rather soberly quizzical report in New Atlas a US team at Harvard think they may have identified signals of possible alien origin from widespread locations in the observed universe.

And not only that, but it all began 10 years at The Dish, the iconic radio telescope at Parkes, where Elvis through quantum entanglement,  appears simultaneously in dozens of forms during the annual festival celebrating his memory.

Anyhow, and seriously, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, says the incredibly brief and intense fast radio bursts first observed by The Dish may be technological in origin, and being used perhaps to help propel spacecraft on long journeys, perhaps even between stars.

The paper will excite amateur as well as professional astronomers, not to mention sci-fi fans.  Apart from the astonishing scale of such technology being deployed by far more advanced civilisations, the distribution of these FRBs would imply that space faring life forms have appeared at very different times in widely separated locations in galaxies far away.

They might also be used not for travelling between separate star systems but within them, as many stars are in fact multiple stars, distantly linked by gravity, but only separated by light days or light months, rather than light years.

If FRBs are being used to propel spacecraft, they might nevertheless never get close to the velocity of light, since that requires vast increases in energy the closer a craft moves toward light speed, yet they might make movements around a loosely bound star system possible.

A spacecraft that ‘only’ achieved 10 percent the speed of light might be the stuff of ‘local’ interstellar empires rather than intergalactic travel lasting longer than the lifetimes of some stars themselves.

We can only dream and speculate. But strange, repeated, apparently highly focused and potentially purposeful uses of energy may just prove to be a technological rather than natural phenomenon.

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32 comments

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32 thoughts on “US scientists ask, Have we already heard from space aliens?

  1. Dan Dair

    Bloody-hell,
    I take it all back…..

    It looks like space-aliens really did take MH370/9M-MRO !!!

  2. comet

    Ah, the Alien Signals story has emerged again. It comes around every ten years or less.

    There was the 1960s story about Little Green Men sending signals, which turned out to be pulsars.

    Then there was the WOW signal of the 1970s. And many more since.

    1. Dan Dair

      Comet,
      Just because we can’t understand it, doesn’t automatically mean it’s not so.?

      As you mention, Pulsars hadn’t been discovered when those first signals were analysed.
      Keep discovering…..
      “….a man’s reach should exceed his grasp,
      Or what’s a heaven for?” – Robert Browning.

  3. Raven Usher

    If aliens have found a way to convert themselves into pure energy, then the radio bursts might even be the aliens themselves

    1. comet

      Ha! One day we’ll all be converted back into pure energy 🙂

      1. Dan Dair

        Comet,
        It’s always tough to argue with Einstein (amongst others),
        not least because he’s dead & I’m not that clever.!!!

        1. comet

          People do argue with Einstein.

          There are some religious orders that believe the earth + universe was created 6,000 years ago. But to believe that you have to disbelieve the speed of light.

          For example, the FRB signals referred to in this article are coming from a dim dwarf galaxy 3 billion light-years away. But to accept that distance you have to also accept the speed of light, and accept it was travelling for 3 billion years.

          There are more and more people who don’t accept the basics of science. For example, One Nation senators – but I won’t go into that.

          1. Dan Dair

            Comet,

            I blame the education system
            & the rubbish on the internet
            & the fake news on the internet
            & the rubbish in the ‘news’papers
            & the rubbish on TV (The Paranormal Files……. Fact or Faked—-(FAKED, obviously.!))
            ………Huff

            People believe all this b0110cks,
            partly because they are ‘fed’ is as truth,
            partly because it’s easier than finding-out for themselves,
            but mostly they’re not discerning enough to realise that the stuff they’re being told MAY not actually be true or wholly true.?
            (truth is very much in the voice of the teller anyway.?)

    2. Dan Dair

      Raven Usher,
      For example, as in the Kevin Spacey movie, K-Pax.?

        1. Dan Dair

          Well, I liked it……
          Slow, but enjoyable

      1. Raven Usher

        Actually, it wasn’t from a movie.
        It’s one of the ideas that has been proposed by scientists working in the area of quantum physics and consciousness, like Fred Alan Wolf and Robert Lanza.
        Advanced civilisations – if they don’t destroy themselves first – develop technologies that enable consciousness to make a transition into a non-physical or energy-based state.
        It would explain why we are not able to detect their existence by conventional means (a.k.a Fermi Paradox).

  4. comet

    This has happened before.

    In 1998, strange signals called perytons were picked up by the Parkes radio telescope. Many thought the signals had to be coming from aliens (after all, the Perytons sounds like an alien civilisation).

    Seventeen years later (in 2015) the source of the weird signals was discovered. It was not coming from the 47-Tucanae Star Cluster at all, but was being emitted by the microwave oven in the tearoom at the Parkes observatory.

    1. Dan Dair

      Damn, Comet,
      Where’s your sense of wonder…….

      1. comet

        I like the real science better.

        The microwave oven only emitted interference when staff opened the oven door before it had finished cooking. If they sat back and waited for the oven to beep, it wouldn’t have happened.

        I hope the Parkes Observatory checked the oven this time ’round.

  5. Jaeger

    Is it April already?

    Super short, super strong pulses of energy sounds like a weapon to destroy solar sails – not a means to propel them.

  6. comet

    The concept of a speed-of-light spacecraft is beyond my brain.

    Even at a quarter of that speed, any sand-like grain that is floating in space somewhere along the path is going to destroy the spacecraft. We can’t even see planet-sized objects outside our solar system, let alone tiny particles.

    And how does the spacecraft stop? Would it have to begin decelerating some years before it gets to its destination?

  7. Ben Sandilands

    Comet,

    Easy. Just turn on the electromagnetic spaceshield force field and convert the released kinetic energy of grains of spacedust into more thrust. I have applied for patents….

    1. comet

      We’re talking about a civilisation of highly intelligent Perytons. It will need something much more advanced than electromagnetism to stop them.

    2. Dan Dair

      There you go Ben,
      It was probably the ” electromagnetic spaceshield force field” which inadvertently sucked MH370 into oblivion.?

      1. comet

        MH370 = Out of bounds for this discussion

        1. Dan Dair

          Simply a reference to the very first comment placed on this thread.
          It’s not actually like I meant it, is it.?
          (I assumed you knew me better than that by now.???)

          1. comet

            Many MH370 relatives read Plane Talking.

  8. Stuart Coyle

    The great Polish author Stanislav Lem wrote the novel “His Master’s Voice” based on this sort of idea. If alien life exists it may communicate in ways that we have no hope of understanding.

    1. Dan Dair

      When you open you mind to the wealth of those kinds of possibilities’
      it is conceivable (not that I am a person of faith) that alien life may communicate with us without our conscious knowledge.?
      Telepathy & mind-reading (of the science fiction not carnival sideshow kind) has long been the staple of books, comics & movies.
      Once you’ve suspended your disbelief, it’s not too hard to imagine that those who hear the voice of ‘God’, might be the ones in our species who are conscious of the space-aliens who control & direct our everyday lives, where the rest of us are insufficiently advanced to hear those words.?

      The rest of us unconsciously follow the messages implanted in our brains by the space aliens, without benefiting from the euphoria of ‘actually’ hearing ‘God’ speak, for ourselves.?

      (If anyone can make a good science fiction story out of this concept, I’d like a credit & 2% of the net profit (or 1% of the gross) please.!!!)

      1. comet

        You must have been reading the works of Erich von Däniken.

        1. Dan Dair

          Comet,
          I did read ‘Chariots of the Gods’ when I was quite young.
          Now I’m older I realise how little basis it has in fact.!

          However, my mind is open to possibilities,
          even though my older brain has much more scepticism & a big pile of salt in reserve as required.!

          Generally-speaking, generationally, we are cleverer than our parents. Our species builds upon the cumulative knowledge of those that went before us and moves forward (not always for the better) based upon a greater understanding.?

          Whether that will always be so is a matter of conjecture.?
          “….The kids today, etc, etc……”

  9. comet

    I don’t believe space aliens have visited earth. And they probably never will.

    The distances to other inhabitable solar systems are too vast.

    I think intelligent life is possible, somewhere in the universe. But another earth-like planet needs to be in a goldilocks zone. It also has to be just the right size, so gravity isn’t too strong to impede intelligent activity. Maybe it also requires an astroid impact to gain an iron core and protective magnetic shield.

    The other curiosity about life on earth is that it only happened once on this planet. You’d think that all sorts of different types of life would have sprung up, but nope, it’s just us and our animal / plant friends. We all share some DNA in common. It tells me life doesn’t start very often, even in perfect conditions over billions of years.

    1. Dan Dair

      Comet,
      I think you’re a bit narrow in your thinking.?
      May I say,
      “It’s life Jim, but not as we know it” Mr Spock, Star Trek (original series).

      I agree completely that to create life forms which are similar to us humans, the ‘Goldilocks zone’ is significant.
      However, a weaker or stronger gravity would not necessarily preclude life, but wouldn’t create the same kind of ‘humaniform’ body-type.
      Equally, an element other than carbon might conceivably be the basis for life and there is no reason why a reptilian or other kind of creature couldn’t have evolved into the dominant & sentient form of life.
      The idea has been postulated by science & explored by science-fiction that sentience might not be the sole preserve of biological life-forms.

      “Space is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly hugely mindbogglingly big it is. I mean you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space” Hitch-hikers guide to the galaxy, Douglas Adams.
      In all that vastness, almost anything the drunken-mind can imagine in it’s wildest imaginings is potentially possible, given the right set of circumstances and in a ‘mindbogglingly big’ universe the right set of circumstances is almost inevitably out there somewhere or other.?
      (of course having the right set of circumstances doesn’t guarantee anything sentient, at least as we’d understand it.?)

      1. comet

        Dan said: “there is no reason why a reptilian or other kind of creature couldn’t have evolved into the dominant & sentient form of life.”

        It may not be a coincidence that the dominant sentient form of life on Earth previously possessed the most dexterous hands in the of any species. Our ape ancestors used them to swing from the trees and open fruit. They were using their hands before they gained human-level intelligence. It provided an immediate payoff for greater intelligence to rapidly evolve.

        But in your alternative scenario, where reptiles take over the world, it can’t be a worse outcome for the planet.

        1. Dan Dair

          Comet,
          Were the planet to last long-enough,
          it’s conceivable that mankind might leave the planet or eventually die-off and be replaced by an evolution of the existing reptilian life-forms as the sentient & dominant species on the planet,
          but,
          I was actually postulating that in ‘our’ search for other ‘intelligent’ life & sentient beings across the universe, we should neither restrict ourselves to the ‘Goldilocks zone’, nor presume that only humaniform, carbon-based life-forms are the only possible bearers of that particular flame.?

  10. comet

    In an earlier post here, I wrote that for a planet to sustain life:
    Maybe it also requires an astroid impact to gain an iron core and protective magnetic shield.

    Today in Science magazine it was revealed why Mars transformed from from a wet, warm planet containing a substantial atmosphere and running water, into today’s cold, arid place.

    The authors of the paper say 66 per cent of Mars’ atmosphere was ‘spluttered’ away into space by solar winds. Most of its water was swept away too. Earth is largely protected from solar winds by its magnetic field.

    So it’s looking like the location of a planet in the Goldilocks zone isn’t enough to sustain long-term life. Life may require that the planet collides with an iron-carrying asteroid. This greatly diminishes the number of viable planets available to host intelligent life.

    Life must be extraordinarily rare. But it might just be possible for us to receive their distant radio waves, if they are there.

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