Have Aliens Contacted Us?


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As we discussed the possibility of alien life in class, I recalled a newspaper article that discussed sending a response to aliens... A response however would require previous contact, which is why I was stunned when I read about The WOW Signal. 
 
In 1977 Jerry Ehman was volunteering for an SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) project at Ohio State's Big Ear radio telescope when something very strange happened. While scanning for deep space radio waves near a star called Tau Sagittarii, over 120 lightyears away, he came across a loud narrowband signal that lasted for the full 72 second interval it was being recorded. On the report Ehman wrote "WOW!" next to the recorded data giving it the name 
Thumbnail image for wow signal.jpg

What could this be? Nothing manmade had ever been sent in the remote area of the star; so what was out there sending this signal? 

The media and SETI immediately looked toward extraterrestrial life. However, others didn't resist bringing up other possible explanations. Some speculated that it could be a manmade signal that happened to reflect off space debris, or could also be interstellar scintillation and atmospheric twinkling that caused this phenomenon.

The SETI refuted these claims with the nature of the signal itself. It was a 1420 MHz signal which is almost dead on the hydrogen line. Hydrogen is speculated to be the most abundant element in space and therefore could be the best method for extraterrestrials to send a strong signal. Also on Earth the 1420 MHz signal is a "protected spectrum" meaning it is only used for astronomical purposes. This made the possibility of a reflected human signal extremely unlikely.

Since the discovery in 1977 many have attempted to find the signal again with more powerful advanced equipment but all efforts have been fruitless, only adding to the mystery behind it. Where did the signal go and why was it temporary? Does it have a meaning we can't understand?While many have stumbled around the meaning and source of the signal, action hasn't been taken until recently.

 More than 35 years since the signal was found, a response is being sent. Regaining the attention of media ranging from NPR to Fox News, the idea is to send digitized versions of tweets and a Stephen Colbert video regarding the extraterrestrials towards where the signal originated. 

Are we really tweeting @ #Aliens? Could they favorite our tweet or message back? What would they think of us if they saw Colbert and a bunch of tweets that they could not understand? If we were to receive a message that contained a mess of foreign texts that no one could decipher how would we handle it?   Only time will tell... For now, what exists120 lightyears away will have to be left up to speculations and imagination.

5 Comments

Wow! (no pun intended) but really this is interesting. I don't understand the picture though.. why did he circle those numbers? Maybe I'm just challenged when it comes to understanding extraterrestrial life. I believe in aliens. I mean what are the chances that Earth is the only place where life exists. Space is huge - an unimaginable amount of vastness. The chance of life somewhere is very likely and will hopefully be found one day in my lifetime. Those chances may not be in my favor though. Like you said, only time will tell.

From the face of the article,it is really interesting.But my view of exploring ET could be said as pessimistic.I do not openly doubt that scientists will be able to find the existence of ET with the prospect of future technologies,but what I concern is the consequences of such contact.Though we may have to wait for eons of years to have the message delivered to a planet where ET truly lives in,but if this sought-after companion in the universe is by far the most inimical species beyond our imagination,there is no opposition could be make to deny the possibility that they will launch an armageddon-like war against us.So my take on this issue is no matter how smart we think we are as human beings,awes should always be observed toward ET.Until some whimsical technology comes out,with which we can possibly predict the temperance of a specific ET life,any attempts of correspondence has the pontentiality to bring nemesis to the mankind.

From the face of the article,it is really interesting.But my view of exploring ET could be said as pessimistic.I do not openly doubt that scientists will be able to find the existence of ET with the prospect of future technologies,but what I concern is the consequences of such contact.Though we may have to wait for eons of years to have the message delivered to a planet where ET truly lives in,but if this sought-after companion in the universe is by far the most inimical species beyond our imagination,there is no opposition could be make to deny the possibility that they will launch an armageddon-like war against us.So my take on this issue is no matter how smart we think we are as human beings,awes should always be observed toward ET.Until some whimsical technology comes out,with which we can possibly predict the temperance of a specific ET life,any attempts of correspondence has the pontentiality to bring nemesis to the mankind.

there are various videos on youtube concerning this topic and some people have claim to have access to more send signals that received a signal back but the credit-ability is ambiguous. I think there is a possibility that aliens do exist because of the simple fact that is the universe is so vast that we can't even imagine to reach everywhere and our scientists only can do so much. maybe, within years from now, we will be able to communicate like how the they do in the science fiction culture.

The possibility of any sort of ET contact is fascinating to me! Do you think that scientists will be able to find the signal again? If it really was from ET life, I think that they would be making efforts to send the same signal again in hopes to the same reply from the ET. Also, I am skeptical about the fact that scientists are just now sending out a reply. If scientists really thought that the WOW Signal was from ET life then I feel like they would have sent one out a long time ago. Why do you think this is that they are just now sending out a reply?

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