While the American political system devolves before the watchful eyes of the world, while the Middle East continues their out-of-control spiral into violence and Kim Jong Un has his own men blown away with anti-aircraft guns, a group of scientists specializing in the search for intelligent, extraterrestrial life uncovered a puzzling, and altogether unexpected message from deep space. Contact from beyond…
The message came from a sun-like star known affectionately as HD 164595. Cute name right? This star, 94 million light-years away, has been described as a strong candidate in the search for extraterrestrial life. SETI (the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) is an organization dedicated to scanning the sky, and inspecting the depths above to find life like us – otherworldly intelligent beings. You might think they have a cool job (and they do!) but most of their days are spent listening to nothing, looking into emptiness, and one lifeless disappointment after another. Except, when something extraordinary happens.
On May 15th, 2015 a “strong signal in the direction of HD 164595“ was picked up by the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Special Astrophysical Observatory. The discovery was so perplexing, and the implications so burdensome that the Ruskies kept the whole thing a cold soviet secret until Paul Gister, of the Tao Zero Foundation, stumbled upon the information being quietly circulated amongst researchers and astronomers. He blew the pants off the story, and now the international community is abuzz as the possibility of discovering intelligent life from another solar system swells like a wave.
The signal not only comes from the vicinity of a sun-like star, but it was of such strength that it led experts to surmise that it came from an advanced civilization “with capabilities beyond that of mankind.” Such a civilization would have to be at least Type II on the Kardashev Scale. If that is true, it means that we have come in contact with alien life forms at least (and probably more) developed than we are. Which makes all of our terrestrial squabbles over religion, politics, and money seem suddenly and hopelessly inconsequential. Human history could be on the precipice of galactic change.
Is that a good thing? Renowned physicist and trusted cyborg, Steven Hawking predicted mankind’s first encounter with intelligent life thusly:
“If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn’t turn out well for the Native Americans. We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet.”
Hopeful stuff. But this isn’t the first time that the international space community has gotten excited about the possibility of intelligent interplanetary communication. In August of 1977 Jerry Ehman discovered a strong narrowband radio signal known as the “WOW!” signal which seemed to come from well outside our solar system. The signal was such an amazing phenomena that the entire world paused to consider the implications. All eyes turned upwards and people everyone waited with bated breath as mankind listened to the darkness above in anticipation of another WOW!
But it never came. The incident was a peculiar fluke and within weeks most of the scientific community had turned their disciplined focus towards the new Apple II home computer.
This most recent signal, from HD 164595, could be a similar case. It cold have been Earthly radio interference; or maybe the gravitational field of some star, very far away redirected signals coming from even further away… Maybe it was a prank call. No one’s sure. But it has stirred enough interest, and stoked enough anticipation to put HD 164595 under constant surveillance.
Lo and behold, the skies have remained silent. No further signals have been detected since… none that we’ve been told of, at least. One would hope that the government would let the people know if they had finally established contact with another world, but my intuition tells me those power-mongers would try to keep it a secret. And should that be the case, we better be prepared for a severe surprise
Sources: www.tauzero.aero/, http://www.centauri-dreams.org/?p=36248, http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/30/health/seti-signal-hd-164595-alien-civilization/, http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/Space/stephen-hawking-alien-contact-risky/story?id=10478157, http://theweek.com/articles/609234/even-youre-ready-burn-world-down-dont-support-donald-trump, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/08/30/north-korea-executes-two-officials-with-anti-aircraft-guns/