It’s becoming more and more unlikely that we’re alone in the universe.
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Ever since we gained a sense of our place in the universe, we’ve been waiting for the day when extraterrestrial intelligent life would make itself known. According to research published in Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, it appears we are probably getting closer to that day.
In a preprint version of the paper that was published online, the authors offer an alternative to its primary title, calling their findings “signals probably from extraterrestrial intelligence.” Apparently, astronomers have been hearing strange signals from an unusually small portion of stars — 234 out of 2.5 million — after surveying a vast swath of the sky. In the paper, scientists Ermanno Borra and Eric Trottier, both from Laval University in Quebec, write:
“We find that the detected signals have exactly the shape of an ETI (extraterrestrial intelligence) signal predicted in the previous publication and are therefore in agreement with this hypothesis. The fact that they are only found in a very small fraction of stars within a narrow spectral range centered near the spectral type of the sun is also in agreement with the ETI hypothesis.”
Basically, due to the small sample size and unusual method by which the team received the signals, astronomers came to the conclusion that they could only be the work of intelligent beings. To support their argument, they collected the groundbreaking data with a massive telescope — otherwise known as the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.
As exciting as these findings sound, there is still work to be done to confirm the presence of extraterrestrial life. In agreement are the study’s authors and the alien life search group Breakthrough Listen, backed by Stephen Hawking and Mark Zuckerberg.
But the $100 million dollar organization warns alien enthusiasts not to celebrate just yet. To prove the veracity of these signals, at least two independent research teams would have to conduct their own research and come to the same conclusions. As they reiterated in a statement, “It is too early to unequivocally attribute these purported signals to the activities of extraterrestrial civilizations. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”
Even with the little information we have so far, it’s inspiring to think there could be life in the universe beyond our own tiny sphere. Our incessant search for life easily equates to a search for humanity’s purpose and place in the vast unknown of space. And ultimately, as we find evidence for civilizations existing light years away from our own, we can finally absorb the reality that we humans are far more alike than we are dissimilar.