The publication of a paper in the scientific journal Nature has set off the next wave of expectations of close encounters of the third kind — among scientists, and not just alien abductees. The radio array of the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (Chime) has reported the sighting (or hearing) of a repeating fast radio burst from a distant galaxy. Though such bursts of very low frequency and timespan have been observed from 2007, this is only the second repeater. It marks the beginning of a pattern, and a hectic search for more burst sources will follow. And there will be theories of alien activity. Interstellar drives powered by radio waves. Or radio waves leaking from some other project, like harnessing a sun for energy, which is the logical opposite of the radio interference leaking from ceiling fans and tubelights, the bane of shortwave radio fans.
But why aliens, when Occam’s Razor would suggest something simpler, like the energy-emitting cataclysmic events which happen routinely in deep space? We have heard the chirp of the gravitational wave set off by a neutron star smashing into a black hole. Why couldn’t this phenomenon be similar? Because, as noted earlier, we have seen a pattern. Humans are pattern-recognising animals. To us, patterns mean signals. Natively, we also suspect that if something is going on, someone is behind it. When we speak of the universe, this explains the popularity of divine creators and intelligent design. When we are speaking of space, aliens will do just as well.
Also, we believe in our projects. We aren’t completely stupid, and we have been sighting aliens from 1440 BCE, when a scribe of the Pharaoh Thutmose III reported fiery disks seen in the Egyptian sky. No sir, aliens exist. We’re not going to let them off so easily.