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Bad news: Now the Aliens are talking to us

Two weeks ago we had the revelation from a retired senior Israeli general that Alien life exists in the universe and has been in regular contact with humanity. At the time, we were dubious about that.

But now? It’s time to start preparing for the inevitable invasion, isn’t it? Take note of the parts in bold;

A team of researchers from the Breakthrough Listen project have detected a mystery signal coming from Proxima Centauri, our closest cosmic neighbor. This latest detection was captured in 2019 and, after confirming the signal,  researchers are now considering some unlikely causes, even alien ones.

it’s not only the proximity of the signal that has researchers at least considering such an earth-shattering hypothesis as extraterrestrial technology but the make-up of the signal itself.

“We don’t know of any natural way to compress electromagnetic energy into a single bin in frequency,” said Siemion when describing this signal in an interview with Scientific American, one which has since been named BLC1. “It’s the most exciting signal that we’ve found in the Breakthrough Listen Project because we haven’t had a signal jump through this many of our filters before. For the moment, the only source that we know of is technological.”

A lot of the time, when we get stories about strange radio signals being picked up from outer space, there’s a fun explanation, and then, sadly, a more boring explanation. The boring explanation is usually that what we’re hearing is the echo of some solar event somewhere – a star exploding in a distant galaxy, or something like that.

This one is fascinating, though, because as the scientists note, the signal is so tightly compressed into a single radio band that, in their estimation, it could only have been sent to us using technology.

And it’s coming, what’s more, from Proxima Centauri. That’s exciting for two reasons.

In the first instance, Proxima Centauri is one of the closest stars to us – only 4.3 light years away. That is to say, travelling at the speed of light, you’d get there in 4.3 years. That doesn’t sound too bad, does it? The problem, of course, is that using present space technology – the hottest stuff we have – we’re nowhere near the speed of light. It would take us 16,000 years just to travel one light year.

The other reason it’s so exciting, though, is this, courtesy of Wikipedia:

Proxima Centauri has two confirmed exoplanets: Proxima Centauri b and Proxima Centauri c. Proxima Centauri b orbits the star at a distance of roughly 0.05 AU (7.5 million km) with an orbital period of approximately 11.2 Earth days. Its estimated mass is at least 1.17 times that of Earth. Proxima b is orbiting within Proxima Centauri’s habitable zone—the range where temperatures are right for liquid water to exist on its surface—but because Proxima Centauri is a red dwarf and a flare star, its habitability is disputed.

In other words, this isn’t coming from any old star. It’s coming from a star with several planets, at least one of which, our scientists think, might have the potential for life. Could it really be?

There are several reasons to be sceptical, some of which involve boring alternative explanations like this being a weird side effect of a solar flare – the usual kind of thing, even though the signal is so unusually focused.

The more compelling argument against it being Aliens, though, is this: The signal didn’t actually say anything. There’s no data encoded in it. It’s much like picking up a radio signal from a radio station when the station is broadcasting nothing.

If it was a signal from an alien intelligence, presumably they’d say hello.

Of course, maybe there is a signal in there, and we don’t have the ability to detect it yet.

Anyway, chalk this one up as one to watch.

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