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Mysterious Space Signal Comes From Unexpected Place

by Michael Freeman

Though space is full of interesting mysteries, astronomers recently found something that has them scratching their hands. They traced a mysterious signal and found it originated from an unexpected place.

Science Alert reports astronomers discovered a repeating fast radio burst (FRB) named FRB 20200120E. They tracked its location to a galaxy 11.7 million light-years away, making it the closest known extragalactic FRB now. What makes this discovery particularly mysterious is its origins: a globular cluster, which is a clump of old stars. As you might guess, this isn’t the type of place normally sending FRB signals.

So, what could this discovery mean? It might suggest the stars formed differently than we previously thought. This means FRBs could come from other environments we never suspected until now.

FRBs were first discovered in 2007 and baffled scientists initially. They consist of incredibly powerful signals from deep space, millions of light-years away. Some of these signals are capable of discharging more energy than 500 million Suns and are only detectable in radio wavelengths, hence the name.

These bursts are brief, not even lasting longer than the blinking of an eye. With their duration only being a few milliseconds and most of them not repeating, they are near impossible to predict, trace, and understand. For some time, neutron stars were thought to be the primary causation, though a massive breakthrough occurred a few years ago. Scientists detected an FRB from within the Milky Way galaxy which originated from a magnetar, a type of neutron star.

As time has gone on, scientists wondered if white dwarf and exoplanets could also emit FRBs. Luckily, since FRB 20200120E is repeating the signals, it presents a rare opportunity to discover them in more detail than ever before.

SpaceX’s Starship Could Change how Future Space Travel Works

Just like how the newly discovered FRB could change our understanding of them, SpaceX could be doing the same with space travel and Starship.

The Economist recently broke down information concerning Starship and how it could form the basis for future space travel. For years now Elon Musk has been providing updates on it and it’s proving remarkably versatile with its size, cost, and reusability.

As of now, most rockets take tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars to get off the ground. SpaceX’s Starship on the other hand hopes to soar through space and only cost somewhere in the low millions. This is due to its size and cost-effectiveness. Along the lines of efficiency, Starship will be reusable. Most rockets only have one voyage and then another has to be built. Starship won’t and even its fuel is made to be used repeatedly.

Musk hopes Starship will have embarked on its first orbital launch by the end of the year, but that hinges on it passing Federal Flight Administration (FAA) reviews.