Researchers dispute Chinese claims that it picked up extraterrestrial signals

These were close encounters of the wrong kind.

Researchers dispute China’s short-lived claim that it has detected extraterrestrial signals from the world’s largest telescope.

The country’s science ministry released a report last week saying its Sky Eye had picked up signals indicating extraterrestrial life – before suddenly scrapping the study.

Now, researchers familiar with the telescope and its findings have said the signals have far more terrestrial origins.

“The signals we’ve found so far are all interference, they’re not from extraterrestrials, they’re from terrestrials,” said Dan Werthimer, a researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, who worked on the Sky Eye search.

Werthimer said the profusion of signals from cellphones and satellites makes it difficult to determine whether the signals are from Mars or Milwaukee.

“All this TV and cellphones and satellites are getting worse and worse and it’s hard to understand what the interference is and what might be coming from a distant civilization,” he said.

China has sparked interstellar imaginations after releasing its tantalizing findings.

The researchers disputed claims by China's science ministry that the Sky Eye telescope detected extraterrestrial signals.
The researchers disputed claims by China’s science ministry that the Sky Eye telescope detected extraterrestrial signals.

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

Researchers from Beijing Normal University observed that the frequencies bore no resemblance to anything they had encountered before.

Although he hinted at the alien theory, Werthimer said he was still pretty confident there was something up there.

“I’m actually optimistic about life in the universe,” he said. “It would be weird if we were the only ones. There are a trillion planets in the Milky Way galaxy,” including “small rocky Earth-like planets with liquid water.”

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