When ‘Oumuamua — the name means “first messenger” in Hawaiian — was discovered floating through the solar system in October, SETI nuts immediately started checking the boxes that suggested the rod-shaped object might be an alien spacecraft of some kind. After all, it’s the first interstellar object we’ve ever seen pass through the solar system. UFO enthusiasts point out that rods (along with flying saucers) are the two most common shapes cited by witnesses in UFO sightings, and the cigar shape would allow it to be slim enough to avoid collision with other objects as well as maximize aerodynamics for travel. Both the SETI Institute and the Breakthrough Listen initiative pointed their instruments toward the object but found no unusual signals emitting from it. Of course, maybe it’s an ancient relic from an interstellar civilization, or maybe the aliens just weren’t interested in making contact (that asteroid-ness could’ve just been camouflage). With the object on its way out of the solar system, we may never know.
And There Could Be an Alien Mega-structure Much Farther Out
In the fall of 2015, Penn State astronomer Jason Wright posited that erratic shifts in brightness coming from a newly discovered star 1,280 light-years from Earth couldn’t be explained by exoplanets or other astrophysics that we understand. He theorized, instead, that the fluctuations may be the result of massive objects passing in front of the star, in a kind of orbit — a whole array of massive satellites or other kinds of structures, presumably produced by a civilization of advanced intelligence. Whoa.
Aliens Could Be Dancing to Earth Music Right Now
Last year, two planets were discovered orbiting a red dwarf 12.36 light-years from Earth. At least one of these planets is in the Goldilocks zone, so METI International decided to beam some musical signals over to the planet. With a closer proximity to Earth than most potentially habitable exoplanets, it’d be an exciting planet to start an interstellar pen-pal relationship with — assuming there’s someone around to hear our notes and listen to them as a welcoming tune instead of a battle cry.
And We’re Getting Radio Signals From … Something
Fast radio bursts (FRBs) are one of the most mysterious phenomena ever observed by scientists. Though they last only a few milliseconds, these pulses, first detected in 2007, emit more energy in that time than the sun does in 24 hours. Three more were found this month, and we’re no closer to understanding their origin — except that they’re coming from outside the Milky Way. So naturally, many experts have begun to think perhaps they’re produced by an ultra-advanced civilization from afar, trying to speak to us through signals we can barely comprehend.