We just got a message back from 13 billion miles into interstellar space, but it wasn’t from an alien civilization. However, coupled with recent data compiled from the UTMOST, Molongo telescope, it looks as if we are possibly being contacted by non-Earth inhabitants.

NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft – the only spacecraft we’ve (publicly admitted to) sending into interstellar space – just got a second life. Voyager 1’s altitude control thrusters have been wearing down, with some concern that we’ll lose the spacecraft completely once its antenna can no longer point toward earth. However, scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California decided to “shoot the moon” in another attempt to contact and use a set of thrusters that have been dormant for 37 years.

NASA’s Voyager 1 just returned a message to Earth from 13 billion miles into interstellar space. Image: NASA

A statement provided by the Voyager team said that they agreed on trying an “unusual solution” that involved firing up a set of four backup thrusters, which hadn’t been used since 1980.

What’s more fascinating than the time the Voyager 1 has been “offline” is the fact that It took 19 hours and 35 minutes for Voyager to send the results of the thruster contact test back, owing to its distance from Earth (21 billion kilometers or 13 billion miles). On Wednesday, November 29, NASA got confirmation that their attempt at contact had been successful.

Suzanne Dodd, project manager for Voyager at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), said: “With these thrusters that are still functional after 37 years without use, we will be able to extend the life of Voyager 1 spacecraft by two to three years.”

What NASA isn’t stating overtly, is that we have the ability to make contact with individuals in deep space (from Earth, and possibly elsewhere) possibly from trillions of miles away.

This is an interesting bit of information to match with recent suggestions that fast radio bursts coming into earth since at least 2007, could be alien in nature.

Professor Matthew Bailes from Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, who has contributed to new research concerning Fast Radio Bursts states that,

 “Perhaps the most bizarre explanation for the FRBs is that they were alien transmissions.”

Just recently, researchers from Australian National University have detected three FRBs using the Molonglo radio telescope, near Canberra.

The Molonglo Observatory Synthesis Telescope (MOST) is a parabolic cylindrical antenna consisting of 88 bays that each comprise 4 identical modules, for a total of 352 independent antennae. It is owned and operated by the University of Sydney’s School of Physics.

The widest fast radio burst (FRB) recorded to date. Image: Astronomy.swin.edu.au

Molongo found the widest FRB to date just months ago, on September 22, 2017. 11:23:33.4 UTC (2017-09-22.4746921296), UTMOST found a new FRB as part of the ongoing search program at the Molonglo Radio Telescope (see Bailes et al. 2017, arxiv.org/abs/1708.09619). This is the fifth Molonglo FRB overall (See ATel #10697 and Caleb et al. 2017, MNRAS, 468, 3746).

So, while we are communicating billions of miles away with a once defunct spacecraft, there may be alien civilizations billions of lightyears away, trying to communicate with us.

Image: ‘Artist’s concept of Voyager in flight’/NASA/JPLNASA.