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Enigmatic Deep Space Flashes Could Be Powering Alien Spaceships, Say Harvard Scientists
Harvard scientists propose how mysterious Fast Radio Bursts from outer space could actually be powering the spacecrafts of an advanced alien civilization.
Two Harvard astronomers published a paper with an imagination-grabbing explanation of Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs), mysterious space signals that were first observed in 2007. These bursts are likely to be coming from galaxies billions of lights years away and have enormous energy to be visible from such a distance.
The powerful bursts are millisecond-long and while only 18 of them have been recorded so far, scientists think there could be an estimated 10,000 FRBs speeding through the cosmos every day. Previous theories proposed their sources to be newborn neutron stars or even nebulas powered by pulsar winds. But no concrete originator of the radio waves has yet been identified. This led astronomers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics to theorize that the signals could potentially be coming a device that someone created.
"Fast radio bursts are exceedingly bright given their short duration and origin at great distances, and we haven't identified a possible natural source with any confidence," said Avi Loeb, theorist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. "An artificial origin is worth contemplating and checking."
And who would make an “artificial” device in distant space? Yes, it’s aliens.
"We examine the possibility that FRBs originate from the activity of extragalactic civilizations,” said the scientists.
Check out this video from Space.com for some visuals of the idea:
What are some of the clues that point to an unnatural creation for these signals? For one, they are way too hot and bright. According to George Dvorsky at Gizmodo, who interviewed the theorists, the beams have a brightness temperature of 1037 degrees. The number speaks to the amount of microwave radiation of a space object.
Other reasons to suspect aliens - the radio bursts repeat but in a rather unpredictable way and are concentrated around a specific frequency. Both of these factors are not consistent with the neutron star/pulsar explanation of FRBs.
What the Loeb and his co-author Manasvi Lingam suggest may be happening is quite ingenious. They think the bursts could actually be energy beams that are emanating from giant transmitters. Their purpose? To transport spaceships made by advanced alien civilizations at amazing speeds. Imagine solar space vehicles equipped by light sails that absorb the transmitted radio bursts and zip forward through the cosmos.
The scientists went as far as figuring out the feasibility of creating such a device and while the technology necessary is not something humans can yet muster, more sophisticated spacefaring beings could make it happen. The transmitter would have to be a solar-powered and water-cooled contraption twice the size of Earth, concluded the astronomers. We are talking 15,000 miles in length. The power this would generate could propel payloads of a million tons, which their statement compares to “20 times the largest cruise ships on Earth.”
"That's big enough to carry living passengers across interstellar or even intergalactic distances," said Lingam.
To an observer on Earth, the transmission of the radio burst would appear as a brief flash due to relativity. The spacecraft would receive the burst of energy through mirrors that gather the sunlight. The resulting acceleration of the ship could approach the speed of light.
While Loeb readily offers that their work is speculative, he does think there is merit in such thinking.
"Science isn't a matter of belief, it's a matter of evidence. Deciding what’s likely ahead of time limits the possibilities. It's worth putting ideas out there and letting the data be the judge,” explained Loeb.
The scientists also suggested that a way to study the idea further would be to focus on repeated FRBs whose origins cannot be attributed to “cataclysmic astrophysical events”.
You can read their proposal, published in Astrophysical Journal Letters, here.
As far as light sail technology, NASA is planning to test what it calls a Near Earth Asteroid Scout, a sunlight-powered spacecraft, in 2018.
An artist's illustration of a light-sail powered by a radio beam (red) generated on the surface of a planet. The leakage from such beams as they sweep across the sky would appear as Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) Credit: M. Weiss/CfA
Innovation in manufacturing has crawled since the 1950s. That's about to speed up.
Here's why you might eat greenhouse gases in the future.
- The company's protein powder, "Solein," is similar in form and taste to wheat flour.
- Based on a concept developed by NASA, the product has wide potential as a carbon-neutral source of protein.
- The man-made "meat" industry just got even more interesting.
Seriously sustainable<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTk0MDIzNS9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyMjM4NTMzMX0.BCEfYnn6C3z1zUHIS38xOWjXktgamNBi5iyqklSMYK8/img.png?width=980" id="ea524" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="50533380eeb18eb5833b6b6aa3abec38" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Image source: Solar Foods<p>Solar Foods makes Solein by extracting CO₂ from air using <a href="https://www.fastcompany.com/90356326/we-have-the-tech-to-suck-co2-from-the-air-but-can-it-suck-enough-to-make-a-difference" target="_blank">carbon-capture technology</a>, and then combines it with water, nutrients and vitamins, using 100 percent renewable solar energy from partner <a href="https://www.fortum.com" target="_blank">Fortum</a> to promote a natural fermentation process similar to the one that produces yeast and lactic acid bacteria.</p><p>When the company claims its single-celled protein is "free from agricultural limitations," they're not kidding. Being produced indoors means Solar Foods is not dependent on arable land, water (i.e., rain), or favorable weather.</p><p>The company is already working with the European Space Agency to develop foods for off-planet production and consumption. (The idea for Solein actually began at NASA.) They also see potential in bringing protein production to areas whose climate or ground conditions make conventional agriculture impossible.</p><p>And let's not forget all those <a href="https://www.bk.com/menu-item/impossible-whopper" target="_blank">beef-free burgers</a> based on pea and soy proteins currently gaining popularity. The environmental challenge of scaling up the supply of those plants to meet their high demand may provide an opening for the completely renewable Solein — the company could provide companies that produce animal-free "meats," such as <a href="https://www.beyondmeat.com/products/" target="_blank">Beyond Meat</a> and <a href="https://impossiblefoods.com" target="_blank">Impossible Foods</a>, a way to further reduce their environmental impact.</p>
The larger promise<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTk0MDI0MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1NjU4MTg2OX0.7dZZYT5WEV_EupBuLVFwHynarTiz8RYR9aJtC6Ts2C4/img.jpg?width=980" id="3415d" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2e6eebe06d795f844752f9e9d30040d7" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Image source: Solar Foods<p>The impact of the beef — and for that matter, poultry, pork, and fish — industries on our planet is widely recognized as one of the main drivers behind climate change, pollution, habitat loss, and antibiotic-resistant illness. From the cutting down of rainforests for cattle-grazing land, to runoff from factory farming of livestock and plants, to the disruption of the marine food chain, to the overuse of antibiotics in food animals, it's been disastrous.</p><p>The advent of a promising source of protein derived from two of the most renewable things we have, CO₂ and sunlight, <a href="https://solarfoods.fi/environmental-impact/" target="_blank">gets us out of the planet-destruction business</a> at the same time as it offers the promise of a stable, long-term solution to one of the world's most fundamental nutritional needs.</p>
Solar Foods' timetable<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTk0MTEzMS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTU5OTU1OTMwMn0.wnXh56iO_77x2XKV2uIPf78BKw4AJLUpmiyq_JBVGvo/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=172%2C146%2C62%2C135&height=700" id="0297c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="125c9a98ec818f5c241fa28ef1423e67" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Image source: Lubsan / Shutterstock / Big Think<p>While company plans are always moderated by unforeseen events — including the availability of sufficient funding — Solar Foods plans a global commercial rollout for Solein in 2021 and to be producing two million meals annually, with a revenue of $800 million to $1.2 billion by 2023. By 2050, they hope to be providing sustenance to 9 billion people as part of a $500 billion protein market.</p><p>The project began in 2018, and this year, they anticipate achieving three things: Launching Solein (check), beginning the approval process certifying its safety as a Novel Food in the EU, and publishing plans for a 1,000-metric ton-per-year factory capable of producing 500 million meals annually.</p>
The protein powder Solein. Image source: SOLAR FOODS
SEAL training is the ultimate test of both mental and physical strength.
- The fact that U.S. Navy SEALs endure very rigorous training before entering the field is common knowledge, but just what happens at those facilities is less often discussed. In this video, former SEALs Brent Gleeson, David Goggins, and Eric Greitens (as well as authors Jesse Itzler and Jamie Wheal) talk about how the 18-month program is designed to build elite, disciplined operatives with immense mental toughness and resilience.
- Wheal dives into the cutting-edge technology and science that the navy uses to prepare these individuals. Itzler shares his experience meeting and briefly living with Goggins (who was also an Army Ranger) and the things he learned about pushing past perceived limits.
- Goggins dives into why you should leave your comfort zone, introduces the 40 percent rule, and explains why the biggest battle we all face is the one in our own minds. "Usually whatever's in front of you isn't as big as you make it out to be," says the SEAL turned motivational speaker. "We start to make these very small things enormous because we allow our minds to take control and go away from us. We have to regain control of our mind."
Pandemic-inspired housing innovation will collide with techno-acceleration.