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The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Heats Up

by Dirk Schulze-Makuch                  March 11, 2019                    (airspacemag.com)

• A remarkable meeting occurred over the weekend of March 9-10 in Tutzing, Germany, just outside of Munich. Its theme: Are we alone in the Universe? Eminent German astrobiologists and scientists were invited to give presentations, including Karl Menten, Director of the Max Planck Institute, Gerhard Haerendel, recipient of the Allan D. Emil Memorial Award for pioneering achievements in space sciences, Andreas Losch from the Institute of Systematic Theology at the University of Bern, Switzerland, and the article’s author, Dirk Schulze-Makuch, who spoke on the Cosmic Zoo hypothesis.

• The meeting was hosted by the evangelical academy, underscoring the continuing interest of religious groups in the possibility of extraterrestrial life and what it might mean for faith communities. The Catholic Church appears to me to be the most interested group of all. In 2014 the Vatican Observatory even co-hosted a conference in Arizona on whether we are alone in the Universe.

• Earlier this year, the discovery of a new source of Fast Radio Bursts suggested that they could be messages from advanced technological civilizations. Tabby’s Star, which suddenly dips its light curve, has been linked to alien megastructures.

• Last November, Avi Loeb of Harvard University suggested that ‘Oumuamua’, the first object seen to enter our Solar System from interstellar space, could be a lightsail built by an advanced intelligent civilization. Its motion seems to indicate that something other than simple gravitation might be at work.

• The longest unresolved enigma is the Wow! signal, which has all the hallmarks of an alien transmission but unfortunately was only received once. It may have been a transmission from one starship to another, or perhaps from a ship to its home base, and Earth just happened to be in the way.

• However likely or unlikely these anomalies, it is clear that interest in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence is on the rise again, as shown not only by this latest conference near Munich, but by NASA’s renewed interest in what’s now called “technosignatures” of advanced life. Many people, beyond just scientists, understand what a detection of extraterrestrial intelligent life elsewhere would mean – nothing less than a complete re-assessment of our place in the Universe.

 

A remarkable meeting occurred outside Munich, Germany this past weekend. Its theme: Are we alone in the Universe? The most eminent German-speaking scientists in the field of astrobiology were invited to give keynote presentations, which included talks by Karl Menten, Director of the Max Planck Institute for Radioastronomy, on the search for extraterrestrial intelligent life; by Gerhard Haerendel, recipient of the Allan D. Emil Memorial Award for pioneering achievements in space sciences, on messaging to extraterrestrial civilizations (METI); and by Andreas Losch from the Institute of Systematic Theology at the University of Bern, Switzerland, on the scientific, philosophical and theological consequences of the presence of extraterrestrial civilizations. I also gave a talk, on the possibility of complex life on other planets based on the Cosmic Zoo hypothesis.

The meeting was hosted by the evangelical academy in Tutzing, Germany, underscoring the continuing interest of religious groups in the possibility of extraterrestrial life and what it might mean for faith communities. The Catholic Church appears to me to be the most interested group of all. In recent years I’ve seen many of its representatives at scientific meetings. In 2014 the Vatican Observatory (yes, they have their own observatory) even co-hosted a conference in Arizona on whether we are alone in the Universe.

So, are we?

If you were to ask Avi Loeb of Harvard University, he would likely direct your attention to ‘Oumuamua, the first object seen to enter our Solar System from interstellar space. Last November Loeb pointed to six strange facts about ‘Oumuamua, suggesting that it could be an artificial object, possibly a lightsail built by an advanced intelligent civilization. Most puzzling of all is its shape: long, shiny and unusually thin for a rock. And its motion seems to indicate that something other than simple gravitation might be at work.

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Alien Civilizations Could Be Behind The Deep Space Fast Radio Bursts That Puzzle Astrophysicists

by Vadim Ioan Caraiman                January 30, 2019                (canadianhomesteading.ca)

• Not long ago, a team of Canadian astronomers spotted weird and repeating fast radio bursts (FRB) signals coming from deep space for the second time in history. Senior SETI astronomer Seth Shostak believes that alien civilizations could be behind mysterious deep space fast radio bursts.

• While humanity has not yet “officially” established contact with an alien civilization, we have sent signals and probes into space, hoping to get in touch with extraterrestrials. The aliens may be doing the same thing using fast radio bursts to establish contact.

• “Could that be aliens that are in those galaxies and they have some need to get in touch? Well, maybe,” said Senior SETI astronomer Seth Shostak on ABC News Live.

• “It is something new, every time we see something we’ve never seen before that is an opportunity to learn something new about the universe,” said astrophysicist Dr. Hakeem Oluseyi.

• Shostak unveiled on ABC News Live that, in 1997, SETI recorded a signal that was really promising. “We had picked up a signal, and it was passing all the tests. That looked like the real deal. I was there waiting for the Men in Black to show up,” said Shostak.

[Editor’s Note]   The 1997 SETI signal that Shostak refers to is apparently not the other FRB in history. The first FRB was the “Wow! Signal” detected at Ohio State University’s Big Ear radio telescope in 1977. See this ExoArticle on the Wow! Signal.

 

Not long ago, a team of Canadian astronomers spotted weird and repeating fast radio bursts (FRB) signals coming from deep space. That was the second time in history when scientists detected a repeating deep space FRB. While the origins of these fast radio bursts remain a mystery to astronomers, some other scientists have an even more bizarre theory on this topic. Senior SETI astronomer Seth Shostak, for example, believes that alien civilizations could be behind mysterious deep space fast radio bursts.

                            Seth Shostak

Despite the many photos and footages showing UFOs or even extraterrestrials, humanity has not yet established contact with an alien civilization. At least, not officially, if we are to believe conspiracy theory enthusiasts. However, we sent signals into space and even probes, hoping that we could get in touch with extraterrestrials.

But what if the aliens are doing the same things? What if extraterrestrials themselves are struggling to contact other civilizations? In case they’re indeed doing that, advanced alien civilizations might use fast radio bursts to establish contact.

Alien Civilizations Could Be Behind The Deep Space Fast Radio Bursts

“Could that be aliens that are in those galaxies and they have some need to get in touch? Well, maybe,” said Senior SETI astronomer Seth Shostak on ABC News Live. “It is something new, every time we see something we’ve never seen before that is an opportunity to learn something new about the universe,” also added Dr. Hakeem Oluseyi.

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Mysterious Radio Signals From Deep Space Detected

by Helen Briggs                   January 9, 2019                  (bbc.com)

• Astronomers at the CHIME (Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment) observatory in Canada scan the entire northern sky on a daily basis. The observatory, located in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, consists of four 100-metre-long, semi-cylindrical antennas. (see image below) The telescope got up and running only last year, detecting 13 ‘fast radio bursts’ (FRBs) almost immediately. One of these was a ”repeater” signal from a distant galaxy 1.5 billion light years away.

• A “repeater” FRB signal has only been reported once before, by another telescope. (see article on the “Wow Signal” here) “We have discovered a second repeater and its properties are very similar to the first repeater,” said Shriharsh Tendulkar of McGill University, Canada.

• Fast radio bursts are short, bright flashes of radio waves which appear to be coming from almost halfway across the Universe. So far, scientists around the world have detected about 60 single fast radio bursts, and two that repeat. They believe there could be as many as a thousand FRBs in the sky every day. Theories about what could be causing them include a neutron star with a very strong magnetic field that is spinning very rapidly, two neutron stars merging together, or even some form of alien spaceship.

• “Knowing that there is another (repeater) suggests that there could be more out there,” said Ingrid Stairs, an astrophysicist from the University of British Columbia (UBC). “And with more repeaters and more sources available for study, we may be able to understand these cosmic puzzles – where they’re from and what causes them.”

• The astronomers’ research was published in the scientific journal Nature.

 

Astronomers have revealed details of mysterious signals emanating from a distant galaxy, picked up by a telescope in Canada.

The precise nature and origin of the blasts of radio waves is unknown.

Among the 13 fast radio bursts, known as FRBs, was a very unusual repeating signal, coming from the same source about 1.5 billion light years away.

Such an event has only been reported once before, by a different telescope.

“Knowing that there is another suggests that there could be more out there,” said Ingrid Stairs, an astrophysicist from the University of British Columbia (UBC).

                    CHIME Observatory

“And with more repeaters and more sources available for study, we may be able to understand these cosmic puzzles – where they’re from and what causes them.”

The CHIME observatory, located in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, consists of four 100-metre-long, semi-cylindrical antennas, which scan the entire northern sky each day.

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