An international team of astronomers, led by Peter Ma of the University of Toronto, Canada, has discovered eight suspicious radio signals that would confirm that we are not alone in the universe.
According to a report published on the website of Vanguardexperts believe the signals “may be evidence of technological life beyond Earth.”
Ma and his colleagues developed a new artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm that detected these radio signals during an examination of 820 stars at the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia.
This algorithm uses machine learning to differentiate between human-caused signals, such as those from GPS satellites and cell phones, and possible extraterrestrial signals. But due to interference, the eight suspicious signals were not detected in previous observations that were carried out with the same telescope.
Where do the eight signs come from?
In his paper published in the journal Nature Astronomy, Ma said: “We need to distinguish exciting radio signals in space from uninteresting radio signals on Earth.”
The astronomer claimed that while the eight signals were not definitive evidence of life beyond our planet, their inexplicable nature fuels theories of extraterrestrial life.
“The key problem with any search for technology signatures is looking through this huge haystack of signals to find the needle that could be a transmission from an alien world. The vast majority of signals detected by our telescopes originate from our own technology,” he added.
For his part, Steve Croft, another of the study participants, stated that the signals could come from an extraterrestrial source because they are of a “narrow band”, since signals caused by humans tend to be broadband.
Also, the signals had a “slope,” meaning that their source had an acceleration relative to the antennas and probably did not come from Earth.
“They are present when we look at the star and absent when we look away, unlike local interference, which is usually always present. The signals also change frequency over time in a way that makes them appear far from the telescope,” she clarified.
Ma hopes to use the algorithm to examine more stars and other reaches of space. His future plan is to expand the effort to examine one million celestial bodies through the MeerKAT telescope, located in South Africa.