CHINA (KXAN) – Earlier this week, Chinese state media reported that the nation’s  Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) detected a signal from a possible “extraterrestrial civilization”. Now researchers are questioning those findings.

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.

In the interview, Werthimer said that when looking at weak radio signals from outer space, the signal can be overwhelmed by “radio pollution on Earth.” This includes television, cell phone and signals sent by Earth’s satellites. He said that “even though the [FAST] telescope is pretty far from most big cities” it can still pick up transmissions from other places on the planet.

Werthimer says that inexperience likely led to the alien civilization conclusion. The signal was detected during the first alien-hunting missions undertaken by FAST between November 2020 and September 2021.

In the paper published by researchers from Bejing Normal University, the team said that the signal just being interference was “very high.”

The signal was originally detected in the direction of several habitable planets in the Kepler-438 zone. These planets orbit a red dwarf star and around 473 light years from Earth. Kepler-438b, one of the planets in that solar system, is considered one of the most “Earth-like” ever discovered.