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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)

(Newser) – 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.

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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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