For years now, we’ve been turning our eyes, radars, and whatever else we could think of to the stars in hope of that elusive proof that live exists in the depths of space. Scientists have been keeping tabs on singnals from 2.5 million stars, and it turns out that 234 of them have been sending out strange, strobe like bursts. These bursts are so unique that they’ve attracted the attention of one of the smartest men in the world, Stephen Hawking, who is now making it his personal mission to find out what’s behind them.
We are a long way from making the leap from radio bursts to “phoning home.” In fact, the paper that makes the claims about these 234 signals has yet to be peer reviewed or replicated independently. It just boils down to the fact that these blips are different enough from the rest of the blips, that they warrant a closer look.
“The one in 10,000 objects with unusual spectra seen by Borra and Trottier are certainly worthy of additional study,” the SETI Research Centre announced in a statement last week.
“However, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. It is too early to unequivocally attribute these purported signals to the activities of extraterrestrial civilisations.”
In reality, these anomalies could very well just be a software error. That’s why SETI, which is funded in part by Hawking, and the Breakthrough Listen Project are teaming up to study them. They’ve established protocols that involves verifying anomalies with two or more telescopes, as well as a 0-10 scale for how the anomalies should be quantified.
This is just the beginning of a lot of work. The good news is that the work is happening. Hell, with everything that’s going on down here, we might just need a new place to start over in the near future.