Australia's Dr. Benjamin Pope points out that it is the first time radio signals from planets outside our solar system have been picked up. "This could potentially lead to the discovery of planets throughout the galaxy," Pope says.
The sounds, detected by the world's most powerful telescope, appear to be from hidden planets. They are possibly generated by a planet's magnetic fields interacting with the solar wind. The Earth, for example, emits powerful radio waves that cause phenomena like the Northern and Southern Lights. Jupiter's volcanic moon, Io, also creates a similar aurora effect.
The radio signals were picked up by the Netherlands-based Low-Frequency Array radio telescope. Dr. Joseph Callingham of Leiden University says: "This is a spectacle that has attracted our attention from light years away."
An even more powerful telescope, due to switch on in 2029, is expected to reveal hundreds more planets. (Related: Alien surveillance? Physicist says alien life forms may have bugged space objects to observe Earth.)
However, American theoretical physicist Michio Kaku has said that contacting alien life is a terrible idea.
"Soon we'll have the Webb telescope up in orbit and we'll have thousands of planets to look at, and that's why I think the chances are quite high that we may make contact with an alien civilization," said Kaku, referring to the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) that is set to launch on Dec. 18 and will peek into worlds at the far reaches of the universe.
"There are some colleagues of mine that believe we should reach out to them. I think that's a terrible idea. We all know what happened to Montezuma when he met Cortes in Mexico so many hundreds of years ago."
As legend has it, Montezuma accidentally ceded the entire Aztec Empire to Cortes, a Spanish conquistador, over a language misunderstanding. Kaku apparently fears that if we send a message such as "we come in peace" when we discover them, the aliens may interpret it to mean "come rule us."
The Aztec Empire was eventually destroyed by the Spanish so Kaku may have legitimate concerns for the future of humanity. "Now, personally, I think that aliens out there would be friendly but we can't gamble on it. So I think we will make contact but we should do it very carefully," says Kaku.
The Hubble Space Telescope is the Earth's most famous piece of technology to see space, but the JWST is 100 times more powerful and uses infrared scanning technology to see things further away and with greater detail.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is sending the new telescope to the second Sun-Earth Lagrange point (L2) – a special place where the JWST can stay in line with Earth – while it orbits around the sun 1.5 million kilometers (0.93 million miles) away from home. The Hubble, on the other hand, just hung out right above our planet a mere 325 kilometers (202 miles) away.
It can also scan thousands of potentially habitable worlds for signs of life, something Hubble is not designed to do. Once in place, researchers will be able to look at the origins of the universe and search for planets that can support life.
If everything goes according to plan, the JWST will reach its destination, calibrate its sensors and be fully operational by May 2022.
Some think that aliens are already here on Earth. Unidentified flying object (UFO) expert Gary Heseltine believes that contact preparations with aliens should involve wetsuits and submarines.
"UFOs are often seen coming in and out of water so suspect that in our deepest oceans and trenches we may well have alien bases. That sounds crazy but if you think about it we only know 5 percent of ocean, we know more about the surface of the moon or Mars than our own oceans – so that would seem to me why UFOs are seen regularly coming in and out of water," says Heseltine, vice president of the International Coalition for Extraterrestrial Research (ICER).
ICER is a not-for-profit organization comprised of scientists, academics and leading UFO researchers from 27 countries whose mission is to prepare people for a massive psychological change once contact is made with aliens.
Heseltine has predicted that contact will happen soon, but more likely deep in the ocean than deep in space. (Related: Cradles of life? New research says oceans on exoplanets may harbor more life than Earth.)
To Heseltine's point, the Navy captured on camera a UFO entering the ocean off the coast of San Diego in July 2019. The video footage shows a dark spherical object, seen through an infrared camera, flying over the ocean and then vanishing into water. A voice can be heard in the background saying "it splashed" as the object disappears. The leaked footage was released by veteran documentary filmmaker Jeremy Corbell on May 15.
The military calls the UFO seen by Navy personnel as a transmedium vehicle. The Pentagon uses that term to refer to an unidentified craft that moves through multiple mediums, such as air, water or vacuum space.
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