There’s something out there — maybe.
China’s science ministry said this week that it picked up signs of alien life on the world’s largest radio telescope — then appeared to quickly delete a report about the discovery.
The country’s powerful Sky Eye telescope detected electromagnetic signals of possible civilizations on other planets, according to a report published Tuesday in Science and Technology Daily, the official newspaper of China’s Ministry of Science and Technology.
“[There were] several cases of possible technological traces and extraterrestrial civilizations from outside the earth,” the report said.
The team of researchers, headed by the Beijing Normal University, said the mysterious frequencies were unlike anything they’d previously encountered and were investigating further, according to the report.
But the report had apparently been removed from the newspaper’s website by Wednesday — even as the news began trending on the nation’s popular social network site, Weibo, along with other media outlets, according to TIME.com
It was not immediately clear why the article had been yanked from the website.
But Zhang Tonjie, chief scientist of the university’s extraterrestrial civilization search team, was quoted in the report saying the signals could have been radio interference.
“The possibility that the suspicious signal is some kind of radio interference is also very high, and it needs to be further confirmed and ruled out. This may be a long process,” said Zhang.
The 500-meter, single-dish Sky Eye launched in southwestern Guizhou province in September 2020 with the primary goal of detecting life on other planets.
In 2020, researchers also detected two sets of suspicious signals along with a signal earlier this year linked to so-called “exoplanet targets,” Zhang said, according to the report.
The latest research was also conducted by the National Astronomical Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the University of California, Berkeley.