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Finally a Hello Back: Did Aliens Reply to Our Message?

Since the early 1960s, America has been broadcasting messages out into the universe in the hopes that those living on other worlds might respond. It’s been a long time coming, but last week, a half-century later, the universe replied. Its message was picked up on an advanced telescope at the Sloan Digital Sky Survey in New Mexico as signals pulsed simultaneously from 234 stars in the universe far, far away.

“We find that the detected signals have exactly the shape of an ETI [extraterrestrial intelligence] signal predicted in the previous publication,” wrote Ermanno F. Borra and Eric Trottier of Laval University in Quebec City, referring to an earlier hypothesis. Although they expressed skepticism themselves about the findings, which appear in the latest Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific Journal, they did note that intelligent life would more likely use light pulses than radio.

Scientists at Breakthrough Listen, a $100 million global program funded by Steven Hawking and Mark Zuckerberg among others, are also skeptical.

“It is too early to unequivocally attribute these reported signals to the activities of extraterrestrial civilizations,” Breakthrough Listen responded in a press release. “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

So it’s got to be a lot more than just a jump up and down and a shout hi.

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