CHINA — Chinese state media is reporting that the nation’s Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) has detected what could be signals sent from ‘extraterrestrial civilizations‘. FAST is a radio telescope capable of picking up signals from space.

Researchers from Beijing Normal University published their findings in a report Tuesday. In the report, translated using Google Translate, the team claims to have discovered “several cases of possible technological traces of extraterrestrial civilizations from outside the Earth.” Those traces include narrowband signals, which are used for short-range transmissions.

According to the report, “electromagnetic waves are the most suitable carrier or messenger for interstellar communication. Regardless of wind or rain, (the waves) can penetrate the earth’s atmosphere regardless of weather.”

The Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST) is seen at the National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academies of Sciences (NAOC) in Pingtang county in Guizhou, southwest China on December 13, 2020. (Photo by Noel Celis / AFP) (Photo by NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Peng Bo, a researcher at the National Astronomical Observatory, said that the signals are likely alien civilizations, but they are currently unable to identify the source of the signals.

The researchers on the team say that the possibility of the signal just being interference is “very high.” They plan to repeat the observations of the signals to discover if this is the case or if they are in fact from aliens.

In an interview with the science and technology website Futurism, Dan Werthimer, with the University of California, Berkeley said that he believes the signals they detected were not from aliens, but actually from Earth. Werthimer is a SETI researcher (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) and a co-author on the paper that reported the discovery.

Read more about Werthimer’s analysis in this follow-up article.

What is the FAST telescope?

FAST is the world’s largest filled-aperture telescope and second largest single-dish radio telescope on Earth, following Russia’s RATAN-600. FAST is 500 meters in diameter. It has been nicknamed “China’s Sky Eye.” It is located in southwest China in the Guizhou province.

FAST’s chief scientist, Li Di, said that the telescope will focus on three things in the future, including the discovery of new planets and alien species.