Using the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST) dubbed Heavens Eye in China, researchers say they have identified possible signals in outer space coming from intelligent extraterrestrial civilizations. However, scientists around the world throw caution, saying that the alleged alien signals could be nothing other than radio pollution from Earth.
A team of Chinese researchers surveying distant alien worlds for signs of intelligent life say they have discovered “suspicious signals from outer space” that could point toward evidence of an advanced extraterrestrial civilization.
The report appeared in Science and Technology Daily, the official newspaper of China’s Ministry of Science and Technology.
Despite the “exciting” news, the authors of the findings urge caution while examining the findings, as the explanation for what was detected could be more prosaic.
The possibility that the suspicious signal is some type of radio interference is also very elevated, so it must be further verified and ruled out, and this can be a long process, revealed Zhang Tongjie, chief scientist with the China Extraterrestrial Research Group.
China's Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST) has found several possible technical traces and suspected signals of extraterrestrial civilizations, said the research team from Beijing Normal University, which is further exploring the information. pic.twitter.com/ZKFCFYIcy3
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) June 14, 2022
The researchers found the unusual narrowband signals by processing data from 2019 obtained by the FAST radio telescope. This giant extraterrestrial signal hunter in southwestern China is also the biggest of its kind in the world. The Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope is nicknamed Heaven’s Eye and is the world’s largest filled-aperture radio telescope and the second-largest single-dish aperture, after the sparsely-filled RATAN-600 in Russia.
While the claim is obviously enormous, experts were quick to point out that there may be simpler explanations for the signal as well.
We should take these statements with caution. Big claims need even bigger evidence, and there is nothing that requires more than just a claim when suggesting we may have found the ultimate proof for intelligent life in outer space. Furthermore, we have yet to see a scientific article, or a peer review.
“This is interesting, but don’t get too excited,” SpaceNews journalist Andrew Jones tweeted.
The gigantic FAST telescope is better suited to the task of searching for extraterrestrial civilizations than the collapsed Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico, which has been used in the past to scan the night sky for traces of intelligent extraterrestrial civilizations.
“That’s because it’s bigger, twice as sensitive, and can intercept signals from a much wider swath of the sky thanks to its 19-beam receiver,” Tongjie explained. “FAST will repeat observations of suspicious signals that have already been discovered to identify and detect new signals,” he added.
Despite the warnings, the team is already excited about the possibility of confirming the groundbreaking discovery.
“We hope that the FAST radio telescope will be the first to discover and confirm the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations,” Tongjie told the newspaper. But there is another big problem that could prevent the team from confirming that we have indeed made first contact: a tight schedule.
Physicist Stephen Hawking cautioned humans against blindly contacting aliens. The fear of aliens is rooted in the premise that Earth’s resources are finite, and civilizations must compete for them. The universe, Zhang said in a talk last year, is large enough that resources do not need to be fought over.
Peng Bo, a scientists at the National Astronomical Observatories, revealed to the newspaper that he believed the suspicious signals were probably of extraterrestrial origin, “but we don’t have time to identify them.”
Not having the time or an opportunity to identify whether the signals are indeed from intelligent extraterrestrial civilizations is beyond ridiculous.
If there is any chance, as small as it may be, scientists around the world should join forces and effort into studying the star system where the signals supposedly originated from.
Whether these signals are from intelligent alien civilization remains to be seen, but the discovery comes at an interesting moment when NASA and space agencies around the world are openly admitting they are investing resources in the study of UFOs and UAP. We should not forget that to prove the existence of life beyond Earth, the burden of proof is extremely heavy but worth every resource we can invest.
Dan Werthimer, Chair in the Astronomy Department and Space Sciences Lab at the University of California, says, however, the signals FAST spotted are from radio interference; they are due to radio pollution from Earthlings, not from an advanced alien civilization.
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