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Space's mysterious fast radio bursts: What the heck are they?

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Richard Lee
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p Fast radio bursts from space are a uniquely 21st-century mystery.

They were first identified just 10 years ago and, up until very recently, we've only caught about two dozen of them.

But a new telescope in Australia is already making it much easier to detect fast radio bursts, or FRBs, which makes this an appropriate time to delve into some key questions.

For instance, what the heck is an FRB and where do they come from?

"Fast radio bursts are exceedingly bright given their short duration and origin at great distances, and we haven't identified a possible natural source with any confidence," Avi Loeb, a Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics theorist, said in a press release in March.

As with most space stuff that can't yet be explained without a doubt by some natural phenomenon, aliens have been proposed as a possibility, including by Loeb himself.

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Richard Lee
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