As the human race plans to colonise Moon and Mars with its ambitious missions, a sign of alien life may have been detected by scientists.
A report by The Guardian reveals that last year in April and May, scientists at the Breakthrough Listen Project received signals from the direction of Sun’s nearest star, Proxima Centauri. The signal, which was a narrow beam of radio waves, was picked up during 30 hours of observations by the Parkes telescope in Australia.
Since its reception, scientists have been analysing the beam and they are yet to identify a terrestrial source such as ground-based equipment or a passing satellite, states the report.
Most of the time, the signals received have a source in man-made satellites. However, what has piqued the interest of the astronomers is the direction of the narrow beam being around 980MHz and a speculated shift in its frequency, which is said to be consistent with the movement of a planet.
The Guardian reports that the beam came from the direction of Proxima Centauri, which is a red dwarf star at a distance of 4.2 light years from earth. A scientist who spoke to the news website said that the star has not been spotted since the initial observation and their community is still working on the analysis of the signal, so nothing can be revealed at the moment.
The astronomer also said that this is the first serious signal that has the potential of revealing alien life existence since the ‘Wow! signal.’ The “Wow! signal” was a narrow radio signal, which was picked up in 1977 during a search for extra-terrestrial intelligence by the Big Ear Radio Observatory in the US.
After receiving this new hopeful candidate of extra-terrestrial life, scientists are now preparing a paper on the beam, named BLC1, after Breakthrough Listen Project.
The project was launched in 2015 to search for evidence of life in space. Renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking and Yuri Milner, a science and technology investor, launched this project at the Royal Society in London, which included some of the world’s leading experts in its team.
The $100m Breakthrough Listen project has received multiple strange radio waves with the Parkes telescope in Australia or the Green Bank Observatory in West Virginia. However, all of them so far have been traced to human-made interference or natural sources. With this new signal, hopes of scientists have been renewed as they verify the source of this far-away signal.