Extraterrestrial life, commonly referred to as alien life, is the life that does not originate from the Earth. Some cosmologists believe alien life ranges from simple bacteria-like organisms to civilizations that are far more advanced than that of human beings.
Some exobiologists also suspect that alien life exists, although there is no empirical evidence to prove it. Exobiology is the knowledge and study of alien life.
Many science fiction movies on alien life have also been released to the public. This has increased the public interest in the search for alien life, especially among the Western public. Some researchers encourage aggressive methods to try and contact alien life.
However, some also believe that contacting aliens will be dangerous for humanity. There are other researchers who are completely skeptical about alien life.
Since the mid-20th century, there has been a significant surge in the search for signs of alien intelligence by researchers. Radios have been deployed to detect possible extraterrestrial signals; telescopes have also been mounted to search for potentially habitable extra solar planets.
It has emerged that Russian astronomers engaged in the Search of Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), have detected a strong mysterious radio signal on a sun-like star, around 94 light years from Earth. Light years is a unit of length used informally to express astronomical distances. One light year is approximately 9 trillion kilometers.
According to the Russian researchers, the strange signal was detected from the direction of HD164595. The researchers revealed the Ratan-600 radio telescope in Zelenchukskaya detected the signal. In fact, the Russians detected the signal in 2015, but decided to keep it secret until August 27, 2016. It is unclear why they kept it secret until recently.
The international team of astronomers searching for alien life, Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI) has said that what the Russians have detected is remarkable, and could possibly lead to the discovery of alien life.
The Italian astronomer, Claudio Maccone, who together with his team has been studying the signal the Russians, announced the signal as a “strong candidate for SETI.” Maccone said whenever a strong signal is detected, it is a possibility for nearby civilizations to be detected.
President of METI, Douglas Vakoch said if the signal is found to be artificial, it will prove that there is life somewhere, apart from what exists here on Earth.
“The signal from HD 164595 is intriguing, because it comes from the vicinity of a sun-like star, and if it’s artificial, its strength is great enough that it was clearly made by a civilization with capabilities beyond those of humankind,” he told CNN in an interview.
Mr Vakoch further said, despite the interest the detection has sparked among the astronomy community, astronomers need to come together and analyze the detection to make the findings more credible. He said: “Without corroboration from an independent observatory, a putative signal from extraterrestrials doesn’t have a lot of credibility.”
Paul Gilster of the Tau Zero Foundation, which conducts interstellar research, also told CNN that if the signal was artificial, its strength suggested it would have to come from a civilization more advanced than what is currently on Earth.
Mr Gilster revealed such a civilization is likely to be Type II on the Kardashev scale. The Kardashev scale was invented by Russian astronomer, Nikolai Kardashev, for the measuring of the level of technological advancement of civilization based on the amount of energy a civilization is able to use for communication.
According to experts, at present, the human species is somewhere near Type I on the scale, whereby a civilization can harness the energy available on its own planet, including solar, wind, earthquakes, and other fuels. It is said a Type II civilization would be able to harness the entirety of the energy emitted by its star, billions of billions of watts.
Recently, the German investigative weekly news magazine, Der Spiegel revealed that researchers at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) have discovered a new Earth-like planet with water. Several attempts by journalists to have the ESO confirm or deny the report by Der Spiegel proved futile, prompting some Conspiracy Theorists to say the organization has discovered a planet inhabited by aliens, and is hiding it from the public.