A signal detected by a Chinese telescope and originally reported as possible evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence is almost certainly due to human factors, one of the project’s researchers said.
The signal, detected by the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST), was announced this week by China’s Ministry of Science and Technology newspaper Science and Technology Daily, which said it “contains possible technological traces of alien aliens.” civilizations.” However, researcher Dan Werthimer of the University of California, Berkeley told Live Science that the signals “from [human] radio interference, and not from aliens.”
FAST is a huge ground-based telescope that is extremely sensitive and picks up radio signals from different points of the sky. It is used for SETI (the search for extraterrestrial intelligence) research by looking for technosignatures, which are signals that would be produced by the technology of distant civilizations.
FAST searches massive amounts of data to look for evidence of technosignatures, but it’s difficult because it’s so sensitive. SETI researcher Danny Price of Curtin University, who was not involved in the FAST study, explained in The Conversation that because FAST is so sensitive, it will pick up signals from many sources and be sensitive to detecting radio interference. He warned the public to “stay intrigued, but not get too excited” when hearing possible signals from alien civilizations.
The signal detected by FAST was of particular interest because it was in a narrow band, which is unusual for natural sources. But one of the Chinese researchers, Tong-Jie Zhang, also warned in Science and Technology Daily that the possibility that the signal they discovered was radio interference was “very high.”
That’s because there are so many radio signals emitted on Earth that it’s very difficult to avoid them all. “The big problem, and the problem in this particular case, is that we’re looking for alien signals, but what we’re finding are countless terrestrial signals,” Werthimer told Live Science. “They are very weak signals, but the cryogenic receivers on the telescopes are super sensitive and can pick up signals from cell phones, television, radar and satellites – and there are more and more satellites in the sky every day.”