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Space agencies have increased their efforts to look for signs of life outside our home planet. A recent discovery made by scientists suggests that aliens may be a lot closer than we think in the universe.
In April and May 2019, the Parkes Telescope in Australia detected a sequence of radio waves that were coming from the direction of our neighboring star, Proxima Centauri. However, even as a thorough analysis has been done on the radio waves, astronomers have yet to determine any land-based equipment or satellite that the radio waves may come from. Although scientists from the Breakthrough Listen project often receive radio signals along with the Green Bank Observatory in West Virginia, all these signals have been found to come from either man-made or natural sources.
This latest incident would be the first time the signals were found to be coming from space, from the direction of Proxima Centauri that is 4.2 light-years away. One official described the sounds as the first possible contact with aliens since the “wow!” signal that was detected in Ohio back in 1977.
However, other scientists have advised caution when making the claim that the latest sounds were from aliens. “We first need to examine the data and verify that it cannot be explained by either radio interference from Earth or a natural emission mechanism from Proxima Centauri and its planets,” said Professor Avi Loeb of the Breakthrough Starshot Advisory Committee, a subsidiary of the Breakthrough Listen project. “The nature of the source can be identified by additional observations from radio telescopes at other locations -- where the terrestrial interference should be different. It is too early at this point to draw conclusions for our aspirations in space based on available information.”
Aside from aliens, agencies are also on the lookout for exoplanets that have similar characteristics as our own. Astronomers have previously released a direct image of a newly-discovered brown dwarf star that could signal progress in understanding the properties of this kind of star. Brown dwarf stars are known to be smaller than stars but larger than giant planets. Brown dwarf stars are also described as “failed stars” because they are not big enough to trigger nuclear fusion in their cores and thus cannot shine.