Alien Signals

“Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the universe or we are not, both are frightening.”- Arthur C. Clarke

Astrophysicists have been meticulously working to detect interplanetary lifeforms for decades. The prospect of extraterrestrial presence has always piqued the curiosity of scientists and as a result, they are tirelessly engaged in their attempt to locate evidence. However, the certainty of ‘life beyond earth’ might have been proved via a recently detected strong radio signal.

To achieve success in decade-long research for an alien broadcast, numerous technologies have been introduced to catch a signal from a distant world. One of these advanced inventions includes China’s Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST), nicknamed ‘Sky Eye’, which is regarded as the largest radio telescope in the world. It came into existence in 2019 with an aim to deep scan space for extraterrestrial life by receiving radio signals. 

On June 15th, an unusual narrow-band radio signal was picked up by the Sky Eye. The announcement sparked excitement however, scientists exercised caution stating that this finding was preliminary and yet to be thoroughly analyzed. 

As mentioned in the original paper, the signal was located from the direction of an exoplanet within the habitable zone of Kepler-438, acknowledged as a doppelganger of earth. However, the habitability of Kepler-438 has not been confirmed yet. The suspicious signal was discovered during the targeted alien-hunting mission. Furthermore, the paper stated that the signal was monitored for 20 minutes, demonstrating that it was approaching from an orbital celestial body, most likely the earth-like exoplanet. 

“These are multiple narrow-band electromagnetic signals distinct from the past,” said Zhang Tongjie, chief scientist at Beijing Normal University’s China Extraterrestrial Civilization Research Group. “The team is currently conducting more research,” he stated. “The possibility that the unusual signal is radio interference is also very strong, and it has to be confirmed and ruled out further. This might be a lengthy process.”

Nevertheless, this isn’t the first time that scientists have been baffled by a mysterious signal. In the year 1977 a search executed by the Big Ear telescope at Ohio State University discovered a mind-bogglingly brief electromagnetic burst that blazed at a frequency that scientists believe could be utilized by alien civilizations. However, the proceeding searches revealed that the signal could have been received from a sun-like star located in the constellation Sagittarius.

Dan Werthimer, a researcher at the Beijing Normal University SETI poured cold water on the signal possibilities and remarked “All of the signals received by SETI researchers thus far have been generated by our own civilization, not by another civilization. Observing SETI from the surface of our planet is becoming increasingly difficult. As more transmitters and satellites are created, radio pollution is increasing. Some radio bands are no longer available for SETI.”

In addition, Zhang Tongjie spoke to the Chinese government-affiliated publication Science and Technology Daily. “It may take some time to verify one way or the other, but even if the signal turns out to be interference, it will provide vital information for our future SETI investigations.”

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Futuristic Sci Fi writer.

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