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Flashes of energy detected in distant galaxies could be evidence of aliens powering interstellar spacecraft, according to scientists at Harvard University.
Discovered in 2007, Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) are intense radio pulses lasting up to a millisecond.
Their origins remain unknown, and fewer than two dozen have been detected by the world's largest radio telescopes - but they appear to occur in remote galaxies billions of light years away.
Now, a team from Harvard has suggested FRBs could be leaked energy from powerful transmitters built in order to send giant light sail ships on interstellar voyages.
A light sail uses the tiny amount of pressure exerted by light to produce a small but constant acceleration which allows a spacecraft to reach a great speed.
Professor Avi Loeb, from the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics, said: "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.
"An artificial origin is worth contemplating and checking."