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China Says It May Have Detected Aliens, Then Delete Report

There is something there – maybe.

China’s science ministry said this week it had detected signs of extraterrestrial life on the world’s largest radio telescope – then appeared to quickly delete a report of the find.

The country’s powerful Sky Eye telescope has detected electromagnetic signals from possible civilizations on other planets, according to a report published Tuesday in Science and Technology Daily, the official journal of China’s Ministry of Science and Technology.

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

The research team, led by Beijing Normal University, said the mysterious frequencies were unlike anything they had encountered before and were investigating further, according to the report.

A 500-meter (1,640-foot) Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) is seen at the final stage of construction, among mountains in Pingtang county, Guizhou province, China, May 7, 2016.
China’s Sky Eye telescope has detected electromagnetic signals from possible civilizations on other planets.
REUTERS/Stringer
PINGTANG, CHINA - JUNE 13: A view of the Five Hundred Meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST) near its completion on June 13, 2016 in remote Pingtang County, China.  The project, one of the nine most important scientific research facilities in China, will be the world's largest radio telescope, with 250,000 square meters of reflective surface.  PHOTO BY Feature China /
China appeared to quickly suppress a report on the find.
Report China/Future Publishing via Getty Images

But the report had apparently been removed from the newspaper’s website on Wednesday – even as the news started trending on the country’s popular social networking site, Weibo, as well as other outlets, according to TIME.com

It was not immediately clear why the article was removed from the website.

But Zhang Tonjie, chief scientist of the university’s Extraterrestrial Civilization Research Team, was quoted in the report as saying the signals may have been radio interference.

The Five Hundred Meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) is nestled in a natural basin in the remote and mountainous southwestern province of Guizhou in China.  Dubbed Tianyan, or the Eye of Heaven, the new radio telescope is seen in this photo taken near the start of its test phase of operations September 25, 2016. Designed with an active surface for pointing and focusing, its enormous satellite dish is constructed with 4,450 individual triangular shaped panels.  The 500-meter physical diameter of the dish makes FAST the largest single-dish packed radio telescope on planet Earth.  FAST will explore the Universe at radio frequencies, detecting hydrogen gas emissions in the Milky Way and distant galaxies, finding faint galactic and extragalactic pulsars, and searching for potential radio signals from extraterrestrials.
The research team said the mysterious frequencies were unlike anything they had encountered before and they were investigating further.
Getty Images/Stocktrek Images

“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. It may be a long process,” Zhang said.

The 500-meter single-antenna Sky Eye was launched in the southwestern province of Guizhou in September 2020 with the primary purpose of detecting life on other planets.

In 2020, researchers also detected two sets of suspicious signals as well as a signal earlier this year related to so-called “exoplanet targets”, Zhang said, according to the report.

The latest research was also conducted by the National Astronomical Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the University of California, Berkeley.

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