The British Fantasy Society Forum

Fantasy => General Discussion => Topic started by: Djibril on August 29, 2016, 11:13:14 pm

Title: We are not alone…
Post by: Djibril on August 29, 2016, 11:13:14 pm
Welp, is 2016 going to be the year it happens?

Not a Drill: SETI Is Investigating a Possible Extraterrestrial Signal From Deep Space (

Basically, the story is that scientists have for the last year and a half been keeping secret from the public the fact that they are studying a possible intelligent signal from an alien planet in a Sol-like system 95 light years away. It's a powerful enough signal that—if deliberately created—the society that sent it must be pretty technologically advanced. (It would also take 190 years to send a message back and forth between us, but what's that between friends?)

Maybe someone who understands astronomy better than I do (that wouldn't be hard) could comment on what they're likely to be studying in this signal for now. Looking for the statistical probability that it's non-random and non-natural? Trying to code-break it? Looking for linguistic, communicative content? Studying the origin of it to learn more about the solar system/society that initiated it? Figuring out a way to reply?
Title: Re: We are not alone…
Post by: Andrew Hook on August 31, 2016, 11:28:14 am
I also saw the article and find it fascinating but I can't shed any more light on it!
Title: Re: We are not alone…
Post by: Djibril on August 31, 2016, 05:08:55 pm
I've since seen other articles about it, basically saying that this isn't a very convincing alien signal, and that it was too short to say anything meaningful about. That said, SETI are taking it seriously enough to turn a bunch more telescopes on that planet, and see what else we can pick up, so watch this space, I guess. (For a few years.) Like any other potential alien contact, this has a 99% chance of being something that can be explained in another way—or that is never repeated and we'll never know what it was. But sooner or later we'll find something that is worth exploring further. (Even if it takes 190 years to get any reply.)

Still interested to know what expertise SETI would be turning on this signal. Linguistics, information science, physics, statistics, xenobiology…? I'm pretty sure that if we ever do encounter aliens, they will be totally unlike anything we have imagined or expected, and even more totally unlike us.
Title: Re: We are not alone…
Post by: Djibril on August 31, 2016, 08:21:37 pm
Welp, an official statement from the Russian Academy of Sciences' Special Astrophysical Observatory ( seems to have put the kybosh on the SETI story by announcing that the signal was almost certainly of terrestrial origin. (Boooo…)

Not this time, I guess. But sooner or later. :)
Title: Re: We are not alone…
Post by: Andrew Hook on September 01, 2016, 10:05:47 am
Damn that's annoying!

I'm still waiting to be found and taken home ;)