Scientists who monitor the heavens in search of signs of extraterrestrial civilizations are excited because of a signal coming from a star system called HD 164595. The star is much like our sun and resides in the constellation Hercules, according to Geek Wire, and resides 94.4 light years away. The signal might be artificial in origin, which is to say a call from ET.

The discovery of the signal did not cause a mad scramble to summon the media such as occurred in the movie “Contact” for two reasons.

The signal could have a natural origin, so scientists are reluctant to announce the discovery of alien life. Also, the signal was picked up on May 15, 2015, by the RATAN-600 radio telescope in Zelenchukskaya, which is in Russia near the Georgian border. Russians are by tradition secretive, even if it means failing to alert other radio telescopes to confirm the signal and keep HD 164595 under observation.

Better late than never, other radio telescopes, including the Allen Telescope Array in Northern California and the Boquete Optical Observatory in Panama, are scrambling to focus their attention on HD 164595. The only way to determine whether the Zelenchukskaya, event was authentic or more than just a one-off events would be to detect a follow-up signal. So far, nothing of the sort has been observed.

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The natural explanations for the signal include a nearby source of interference, such as a microwave oven, or a natural source in Space that was “ microlensed” by HD 164595. Scientists believe, absent evidence, the signal likely was caused by a natural source.

Still like the “alien megastructure” around Tabby’s Star that may be a megastructure or a swarm of comets or something else, the signal is intriguing enough that it merits further study.

The prospect that we could find definitive evidence that we are not alone in the universe would change human civilization in profound and unpredictable ways, affecting every aspect of culture, including public policy, science, art, literature, and religion. The discovery of ET has often been depicted in science fiction. It would be interesting to see if the reality matches. 

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