Tuesday, June 6 at 9 PM ET/PT on Science Channel
For centuries we’ve looked up at the night sky and wondered, are we alone? We’ve sent probes to the farthest reaches of the Solar System and broadcast messages out into the depths of space, but in all that time we’ve heard nothing back, until now. In the last few years a mysterious signal from space has shaken astronomy to its core. A special episode of “SPACE’S DEEPEST SECRETS,” tells the story of a genuine scientific mystery, the recent discovery, confirmation, and on-going attempts to understand the origin of Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs), enigmatic pulses from deep space that have so-far defied explanation. Theories of their origin range from colliding stars, to alien beacons created by an advanced civilization. “SPACE’S DEEPEST SECRETS: STRANGE SIGNALS FROM ALIEN WORLDS” premieres Tuesday, June 6 at 9pm ET/PT on Science Channel.
Among the experts interviewed in the special is Tabetha Boyajian, an astronomer from Louisiana State University, who in 2015 detected a distant star using data collected from the Kepler Telescope. The star, which has become known as Tabby’s Star, was observed to undergo unusual changes in brightness. One of the theories associated with Tabby’s Star is that its light fluctuations are large megastructures created by aliens that are orbiting the star.
This episode also speaks with Dr. Frank Drake, one of the pioneers in the scientific search for extra-terrestrial intelligence, and the founder of the SETI Institute. Also heard from is West Virginia University astronomer Duncan Lorimer, who in 2007, accidentally found the first FRB that was recorded, now known as the Lorimer Burst, while analyzing data from the Parkes radio telescope in Australia.
FRBs are just one of a long line of mysterious signals that have reached the Earth. In 1967, Cambridge University Professor Jocelyn Bell Burnell, who discovered the first radio pulsars, noticed one that pulsed with great regularity. In the program, she describes how she even marked the signal LGM1 – LGM standing for Little Green Men. It was later found to be a rapidly rotating neutron star.
One reason we might expect intelligent aliens to make contact is because we’ve been sending our own messages in hopes of contacting them. Earthlings have sent the sounds of rain, a mother’s kiss, sheep herding, a heartbeat, JS Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No.2, a ship’s horn, the bark of a ‘tame dog’ and 25,800 text messages from Australians out into the cosmos. At this very moment, the Beatles’ song “Across the Universe” is traveling across the Universe at 186,000 miles a second on its way to the North Star Polaris, 431 light years away.
“I believe we’re closer now to potentially detecting alien life than we’ve ever been,” said Wyatt Channell, Executive Producer, Science Channel. “And while incontrovertible proof remains elusive, research from brilliant astronomers all over the world continues to provide us with new clues that suggest we probably inhabit a universe teeming with life.”