Quest to know about the presence/existence of aliens in our solar system, galaxy or universe has always been as a top priority of science and technology missions of any nation. Their (aliens) existence/appearance has dominated the cinema world in all most all the countries. Many mythological, historical and scientific statements always make rounds in the society and media about the knowledge of aliens and their communication and landing on earth. But these things to happen are people specific and do not have a mass base. Most of the people still are looking towards science to solve the mystery of aliens’ existence. In the era of science and technology almost on its peak in general and in communications in particular, people are relying more on the mode of communication with aliens. Thinking on the lines as is always projected that aliens being more smart people than earthly human beings, they might be communicating with us, if we are not able to communicate with them. Need is to catch and analyze their communication signals reaching to earth. This article presents the state of developments in this regard and highlights how the communication engineering has prepared itself to catch and understand the alien messages reaching on earth.
Rare and brief bursts of cosmic radio waves have puzzled astronomers since they were first detected 10 years ago. Some suggested these mysterious bursts of energy could be a sign of alien life trying to contact us. Now scientists have confirmed that the mysterious signals really do come from outer space. Fast radio bursts, or FRBs, are radio emissions that appear temporarily and randomly, making them not only hard to find, but also hard to study. The mystery stems from the fact it is not known what could produce such a short and sharp burst. This has led some to speculate they could be anything from stars colliding to artificially created messages. Every so often, we hear about a strange radio signal winging its way Earthward from the cold, lifeless depths of outer space. Suddenly, bored news personnel around the world come alive and begin churning out sensational stories with lurid headlines promising that this is really it — our first contact with alien minds. In fact, radio astronomers have a long history of detecting mysterious signals that just don’t seem to fit into their carefully ordered vision of the universe. For instance, pulsars were initially thought to be intelligent signals from beyond the solar system. When discovered by astronomers in Cambridge, England, the first pulsar signals were dubbed “LGM” —that’s “little green men”. It is expected that strange signals from the sky which are not matching with the communication frequencies and languages prevailing on earth may be the signs of aliens.
- These instances are hardly the first —Nikola Tesla and Guglielmo Marconi, those indefatigable pioneers of technology and radio, claimed to have heard interplanetary transmissions in the early years of the 20th Century. Tesla wrote of the signals he detected during his work that the changes were taking place periodically and that they were not traceable to any cause then known. He said that a feeling is constantly growing on that he had been the first to hear the greeting of one planet to another. However, we are still waiting that momentous day when the announcement of such a communication will be verified as true.
- The famous “Wow!” signal of 1977, was detected by astronomer Jerry Ehrman at Ohio State University’s (USA) “Big Ear” radio telescope. It was a 72-second anomalous transmission in the 1,420 MHz range — the natural frequency of neutral hydrogen emissions,which physicists speculated might be the medium of Extra Territial (ET) communications, given its cosmic ubiquity. The signal is still unexplained, and its like has never been seen again.
- In 2001, the Parkes Observatory, in Australia, picked up an unusual signal. It was a burst of radio waves coming more or less from the direction of the Small Magellanic Cloud, a miniature galaxy that orbits the Milky Way. This burst was as brief as it was potent. It lasted less than 5 milliseconds but, during that period, shone with the power of 100m suns. It was, though, noticed by astronomers only in 2007, when they were poking around in Parkes’s archived data. As far as they can tell, it has never been repeated. Similar unrepeated signals have since been noted elsewhere in the heavens. So far, 17 such “fast radio bursts” (FRBs) have been recognized. They do not look like anything observed before, and there is much speculation about what causes them. One possibility is magnetars—highly magnetized, fast-rotating super dense stars. Another is a particularly exotic sort of black hole, formed when the centrifugal force of a rotating, super dense star proves no longer adequate to the task of stopping that star collapsing suddenly under its own gravity. Researchers suggest that FRBs might be generated by giant radio transmitters designed to push such spaceships around. With the rotation of the galaxies in which these transmitters are located, the transmitter-beams sweep across the heavens. Occasionally, one washes over Earth, producing an FRB. Researchers suggest that FRBs might be the result of vastly bigger takes on the same principle, except that they employ the radio portions of the electromagnetic spectrum rather than visible light.
- The alien signal needn’t be restricted to radio or other electromagnetic transmissions encoding deliberate messages but it could be something as innocuous as the absence of a signal – repeated or arranged so as to arouse a suspicion of intelligent origin. For instance, there’s the controversy surrounding the mysterious “Tabby’s Star” (KIC 8462852), which has been amply reported in Futurism. Scuttlebutt has itthat Tabby’s Star might be surrounded by some sort of alien megastructure that’s causing the astonishing dips in the star’s bolometric luminosity – at least, that’s what some astronomers have suggested, with tongues at least partially planted in cheek.
- Late last month, the Stephen Hawking-backed Breakthrough Listen initiative released its first set of alien-hunting data gathered from huge listening devices like the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia to target a list of 692 different stars. Sophisticated software scanned billions of radio channels for unique signals that might be coming from a distant alien civilization. While there were no obvious messages from E.T. in all the petabytes of data, the analysis did surface 11 “events” considered to be significant.
What the opponents say?
- Strange radio waves that have been reaching Earth might actually be leakage from a huge, light-powered ship deep in space.
- Researchers, however, remain far from establishing whether the source of these “messages” is the leakage from planet-sized transmitters that are powering interstellar probes in distant galaxies.
- 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.
- Such technology is far beyond human capability now, but it is not beyond the laws of physics or out of the reach of a very developed alien civilization. Such a technology would require so much energy it would just end up melting itself – unless it were water-cooled and twice the size of the Earth. What is less clear is why an alien civilization would build such a thing in the first place.
The truth about the strange signals received is to say that it must be of extraterrestrial origin because intelligence could be responsible for virtually anything. In a universe that doubtless has many more surprises in store for us, it’s safer to search for alternative explanations. Although the search has not yet detected a convincing signal from extraterrestrial intelligence, to be clear, no one is saying breakthrough listen has picked up signals from a civilization on a distant terraformed planet. In fact, the researchers say it’s far more likely they’re picking up radio interference from our own human technology. Still, they plan to gather more data and more rigorously analyze the data they’ve already gathered which has already been tempting our imaginations for years now.
Dr. S. S. Verma, Department of Physics, S.L.I.E.T., Longowal, Distt.-Sangrur (Punjab)-148106.