Researchers doubt, however, that an extraterrestrial civilization serves them.
It is only the second time in history that scientists have recorded a radio signal from a distant galaxy that repeats at identical intervals.
A series of “fast radio bursts” – short pulses of radio waves that come from all over the Universe-lasts for 90 days, followed by 67 days of silence.
This sequence of bursts and calm is repeated every 157 days.
This discovery provides an essential clue to the cause of these mysterious bursts, which come from a dwarf galaxy about 3 billion light-years from Earth.
Radio bursts, first detected in 2007, last no more than a few milliseconds, making it difficult to determine precisely where they come.
Could it be aliens? Hardly, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said in a recent statement.
“The signals indicate energy events that are extreme on a cosmic scale,” the statement explains. “Even highly intelligent species are hardly capable of producing such energies.”