A Message from Two Centuries Away

Four_antennas_ALMAWhy would some extremely patient alien civilization send a message to a planet 95 light years away?

The RATAN-600 radio telescope in the Karachay–Cherkess Republic of Russia picked up a strong signal that could originate from nearly 95 light years away from our planet.

A team of astronomers logged the signal from the 6.3 billion year old star named HD 164595. They want to focus on this star permanently, hoping that more communications could emerge.

Researchers estimate that it would require “the equivalent of all of humanity’s power usage on Earth” to beam this kind of strong signal straight at Earth.

This would be a “Kardashev Type I civilization,” an alien society with technology far beyond our own that can channel the energy from a sun.  “This particular civilization’s social structure is theorized to be completely globalized and interconnected,” explained writer Robin Seemangal.

Over at the Centauri Dreams, writer Paul Gilster explored the finding in more depth. He reminded readers not to get too excited about this new signal:

“The possibility of noise of one form or another cannot be ruled out … But the signal is provocative enough that the RATAN-600 researchers are calling for permanent monitoring of this target.”

In a post about the signal, the Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI) International raised some fascinating questions about the signal and its purpose.

Check it out:

“Why would they send a message to a civilization that didn’t look as though it could respond? Perhaps they are both prescient and very patient. They knew that a century later, humans would have the capacity to send out signals at the speed of light, so they anticipated that. And they are patient enough to wait two centuries for an answer.”

Image via José Francisco Salgado

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