By Joe Harker
A mysterious series of fast radio bursts from deep space could conceivably be caused by another intelligent and technologically advanced life form. This is only the second time astronomers have detected repeated bursts of radio waves since the initial discovery in 2007.
Most scientists say the origin of fast bursts of radio waves from deep space are generated by astrophysical phenomena billions of light years away from our galaxy, events such as black holes or super dense neutron stars merging together. Other scientific theories are more exciting with the prospect of advanced alien technology the cause for the radio waves.
Obviously the prospect of alien life out there and the possibility that they are technologically advanced enough to be sending out radio waves is exciting. However, the chances of meeting and interacting with another life form are unlikely.
These radio waves probably are from astrophysical phenomena and even if they are from aliens they are coming from billions of light years away. Whatever is causing them or sending them out is a long way away, not even in our own galaxy.
Without the ability to travel faster than light we cannot go and check what it is, while the long distance from the source almost certainly means that whatever sent out the waves did so a very long time ago.
Professor Avi Loeb of Harvard University has suggested aliens are already attempting to send messages to humanity, but we have just misunderstood their transmissions. He believes the fast radio bursts first detected in 2007 could be evidence of alien technology and argues that the possibility of the radio bursts being an alien transmission must be considered.
The apparent "organised patterns" of the fast radio bursts could be intentional, the sign of a message sent and designed to indicate that there some intelligence behind the bursts. The technology to send a similar message is far beyond our current capabilities but not outside the laws of physics or the capabilities of a technologically advanced alien civilisation.
It's probably not aliens, but just on the off chance that it is the human race should be ready to make a good first impression with another species. So long as first contact wasn't hostile or threatening we would reportedly take the news that we are not alone in the galaxy rather well.
Most of us would apparently take the news of intelligent alien life positively, though there might be disagreements over who got to make first contact and what organisation they would be representing. Would they be acting on behalf of all people of Earth, or representing a specific nation?
Also, it might be a good idea to hide certain science fiction films until we work out how to say "don't take it personally" in their language.