Astrophysics

   

Fast Radio Bursts from Terraformation

Authors: Almog Yalinewich, Mubdi Rahman, Alysa Obertas, Patrick C. Breysse

Fast radio bursts (FRBs) are, as the name implies, short and intense pulses of radiation at wavelengths of roughly one metre. FRBs have extremely high brightness temperatures, which points to a coherent source of radiation. The energy of a single burst ranges from $10^{36}$ to $10^{39}$ erg. At the high end of the energy range, FRBs have enough energy to unbind an earth-sized planet, and even at the low end, there is enough energy to vaporise and unbind the atmosphere and the oceans. We therefore propose that FRBs are signatures of an artificial terraformer, capable of eradicating life on another planet, or even destroy the planet entirely. The necessary energy can be harvested from Wolf-Rayet stars with a Dyson sphere ($\sim 10^{38}$ erg s$^{-1}$) , and the radiation can be readily produced by astrophysical masers. We refer to this mechanism as Volatile Amplification of a Destructive Emission of Radiation (VADER). We use the observational information to constrain the properties of the apparatus. We speculate that the non-repeating FRBs are low-energy pulses used to exterminate life on a single planet, but leaving it otherwise intact, and that the stronger repeating FRB is part of an effort to destroy multiple objects in the same solar system, perhaps as a preventative measure against panspermia. In this picture, the persistent synchrotron source associated with the first repeating FRB arises from the energy harvesting process. Finally we propose that Oumuamua might have resulted from a destruction of a planet in this manner.

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Submission history

[v1] 2019-03-29 13:27:58

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