SETI Reveals 1st Signals in Hunt for Alien Life

But radio signals were generated by human-launched satellites
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 8, 2012 3:31 PM CST
SETI Reveals First Radio Signals in Hunt for Extraterrestrial Life
This 1986 file picture shows part of the Milky Way galaxy as seen from Australia.   (AP Photo)

Good news for ET lovers: We've spotted radio signals from outer space matching what we expect to hear from extraterrestrials. Only problem: The signals were generated by our own satellites orbiting Earth. "Even though these signals are interference ... [the finding provides] a good indication that the first steps of our detection algorithms are working properly," notes the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence website.

SETI's radio signal scan works by aiming its Kepler space telescope around the sky, PC Magazine reports. When signals are picked up, the telescope is aimed elsewhere—that way, a signal emanating from a far-off planet would diminish. Signals that persist must be coming from a human-launched satellite generating a strong nearby signal. SETI plans to keep analyzing the 50 terabytes of data produced by its Kepler Space Telescope, and will update its blog accordingly. (For a spicier extraterrestrial story, read about the White House denial of UFOs.)

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