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Earlier this week, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute announced it was examining a signal detected by Russian astronomers in 2015. The signal was “interesting,” because it seemed to come from a star system not unlike our own some 94 light-years away.
But the SETI astronomers were quick to urge caution: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence,” astronomer Franck Marchis said. And now the evidence is in, and it is decidedly not-extraordinary.
NPR reports that after the initial media interest in the signal, Russian outlets clarified that the signal was terrestrial in origin; a sort of “butt dial” from the planet Earth. It seemed that the “beam” was merely a misread signal from a Russian military satellite.
This news may be disappointing or relieving, depending on your attitude toward alien intelligence, but it’s certainly not surprising. There are many reasons why we may not have heard from alien life, but either they’re not trying to contact us, we can’t hear them, or they don’t exist (yet).
Cynthia McKelvey covered the health and science for the Daily Dot until 2017. She earned a graduate degree in science communication from the University of California Santa Cruz in 2014. Her work has appeared in Gizmodo, Scientific American Mind, and Mic.com.