China says giant telescope may have picked up signs of alien life

·2-min read
The FAST photographed yesterday on its first day of operation in China’s Guizhou (Getty)
The FAST photographed yesterday on its first day of operation in China’s Guizhou (Getty)

Chinese researchers said that the country’s powerful Sky Eye telescope may have picked up signs of alien life, before a report was quickly deleted.

The giant radio telescope detected electromagnetic signals of life on other planets, according to the report published by the official newspaper of China’s Ministry of Science and Technology, Science and Technology Daily.

A team of researchers from Beijing Normal University were said to be investigating the mysterious discovery further.

“[There were] several cases of possible technological traces and extraterrestrial civilizations from outside the earth,” the report said.

But by Wednesday the report appeared to have been removed from the newspaper’s website, according to TIME.com.

Zhang Tonjie, chief scientist of the university’s extraterrestrial civilization search team, told the newspaper that the discovery could have been some kind of radio interference.

“The possibility that the suspicious signal is some kind of radio interference is also very high, and it needs to be further confirmed and ruled out. This may be a long process,” he explained.

The Sky Eye is a 500-metre telescope that came into use in 2020 with the goal of detecting alien life.

Dan Werthimer, of the University of California, Berkeley, works with the SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence) researchers from the Beijing Normal University.

He rubbished claims that the radio signals were from aliens.

“These signals are from radio interference; they are due to radio pollution from Earthlings, not from ET,” he told Space.com.

“The technical term we use is ‘RFI’ – radio frequency interference. RFI can come from cell phones, TV transmitters, radar, satellites, as well as electronics and computers near the observatory that produce weak radio transmissions.”

And he added: “All of the signals detected by SETI researchers so far are made by our own civilization, not another civilization.”

In an interview with Futurism, the scientist added that he still believes in the possibility of alien life.

“I’m actually optimistic about life in the universe,” he said.

“It’d be bizarre if we were the only ones. There’s a trillion planets in the Milky Way galaxy,” including “little rocky planets like Earth with liquid water.”

And he added: “And that’s just our galaxy. There’s 100bn other galaxies — so I’m optimistic about intelligence.”

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