(By Stephen Serjeant). My favourite science news is the stuff that changes the way I think about the world and our place in the universe.
The search for extraterrestrial intelligence has looked for many different signs of alien life, from radio broadcasts to laser flashes, without success. However, recent research suggests that mysterious phenomena called fast radio bursts, millisecond-long flashes of radio emission, could be evidence of advanced alien technology. Specifically, these bursts might be leakage from planet-sized transmitters powering interstellar probes in distant galaxies.
NASA’s orbiter Cassini will make a series of decreasing orbits that will end in a fiery death dive into Saturn’s atmosphere in September. This deliberate termination of a still serviceable spacecraft is to comply with “planetary protection” protocols, designed to minimise the risk of depositing stowaway Earth microbes into an environment where they might be able to reproduce.