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Is it possible that Earth is receiving signals from outer space which could be that of some extra terrestrial life source? A new research paper has not ruled out this possibility.
The paper dated 30 March 2015 is titled Discrete Steps in Dispersion Measures Of Fast Radio Bursts. It explores the origin behind recent radio signals from space and considers "an artificial source (human or non-human)," as a possible source.
Fast radio burst or FRB is one of the many phenomena occurring in space. These radio signals are extremely fast, lasting about a millisecond and giving off as much energy as the sun does in a day, according to Global News. And just this year, one of these FRBs was seen in action for the first time.
In order to figure out how far these FRBs travel, astronomers use something called the dispersion measure (DM). The farther the signal has come, the bigger the DM.
"The new research paper discovered that 10 of these FRBs travel in a multiple of 187.5 cm. This would suggest that each one came from separate sources at regularly spaced distances from Earth (we're talking billions of kilometres away, of course)," states the GN report.
The paper concludes that there is a five in 10,000 probability that the line-up of these signals is coincidental.
The authors say that it's unlikely that the source of these regularly spaced FRBs are from another galaxy as the dust between the distances would mess up that regular spacing. It could be within our own galaxy, but they believe that it would be "most surprising".
"If both of these options could be excluded, only an artificial source (human or non-human) must be considered, particularly since most bursts have been observed in only one location," they concluded.
That's not to say that they firmly believe FRBs are of extraterrestrial origin. They believe that more research is needed.
In an email to Global News, famed astronomer Jill Tarter of SETI - an institute dedicated to the search for life in the universe – agreed to the possibility.
"Since the Lorimer pulse [in 2007], I've commented that these could be engineered signals — in my case I just wondered if the engineers were extraterrestrial. More data will tell us what the right interpretation is," she said.