Scientists from a project co-founded by Stephen Hawking have detected radio signals coming from a galaxy around three billion light years away.
The astronomers working on the Breakthrough Listen project recorded 15 fast radio bursts (FRBs), each lasting just a few milliseconds.
Recent signals have emanated from an unidentified source, named FRB 121102, and were originally discovered in 2012.
The research team have stated that they do not know where the signals might be coming from, which has prompted speculation that they could be signs of intelligent life.
But Dr Vishal Gajjar, of UC Berkeley Research Centre isn’t convinced:
“If some form of life would like to produce a signal that is detectable to another civilisation this could be a way to do it, but I don’t think they are coming from intelligent civilisations,” said Gajjar.
“There are more theories than the number of sources. We have opened more questions than answers. As we do more study we find more weird things,” he continued.
Directot of the Breakthrough Listen project added: “Whether or not fast radio bursts 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.”
Professor Stephen Hawking has previously stated that, if a signal from extraterrestrial life was received, responding to it could prove dangerous.
Aliens may be “rapacious marauders roaming the cosmos in search of resources to plunder, and planets to conquer and colonise,” he said.