SETI, the University of California, Berkeley’s research center tasked with searching for extraterrestrial intelligence, has posted a concerning tweet:
Researchers at #BreakthroughListen – the initiative to find signs of intelligent life in the universe – have applied machine learning techniques to detect 72 new fast radio bursts emanating from the "repeater" FRB 121102. #SETI https://t.co/ECnxC6dP9h pic.twitter.com/nMzwuSTtYL
— The SETI Institute (@SETIInstitute) September 11, 2018
Their “Breakthrough Listen” team recently used neural net technology and powerful algorithms to examine and analyze data they’ve collected with their massive satellites, and they’ve discovered something weird: a set of strange, very fast radio bursts (FRBs) from a far-off galaxy that they have no explanation for.
From UC Berkeley’s press release: “Theories range from highly magnetized neutron stars blasted by gas streams from a nearby supermassive black hole, to suggestions that the burst properties are consistent with signatures of technology developed by an advanced civilization.”
Potentially, there are a lot of explanations for these bursts, but right now, they are very poorly understood. As one of the researchers explained, “Whether or not FRBs themselves eventually turn out to be signatures of extraterrestrial technology, Breakthrough Listen is helping to push the frontiers of a new and rapidly growing area of our understanding of the Universe around us.”