In 1977, scientists shot some gold into space in hopes of communicating with aliens (Nowadays, scientists just teleport things into space). Specifically, two golden records containing images and sounds which would attempt to represent a SparkNotes version of the big blue dot we live on. Two of these discs made it to space on Voyager 1 and 2 and were never seen again.
Three years prior to the launch of the Golden Records, humans made a less gilded attempt at communicating; a radio transmission containing basic information about humanity was sent into the cosmos from the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico.
Two major attempts, and yet earth received no radio waves of note in return—until now. Scientists at the Arecibo Observatory, the very center where humans first attempt radio contact with the greater universe, picked up radio signals from a small red star just 11 light years away.
The signals were noticed during an examination of red dwarfs. The reported source of the signals was placed in the Virgo constellation, specifically in the area of a star named Ross 128.
Radio waves emanate from space regularly, but this particular signal was structured in a way unheard of from a star. Solar flares can produce radio signals, but this particular frequency was much lower than ones historically observed in flares.
The signal is unprecedented, but could it be aliens? The possibility hasn’t been ruled out entirely, but it sits pretty low on the ladder in terms of viable theories, according to Abel Mendez, the director of the Planetary Habitability Laboratory at the University of Puerto Rico.
“In case you are wondering, the recurrent aliens hypothesis is at the bottom of many other better explanations,” Mendez writes.
Maybe the signal is from aliens but the aliens are just humans trying to interact with other humans through a book case, like the movie Interstellar.
Mendez doesn’t dive into this possibility in his blog post on the topic.
(If astronauts someday make contact with extraterrestrial life in space, these foods will not be on the welcome dinner menu).