Here on the little space rock we call Earth, humans often wonder whether or not we are alone in this universe. Though that question was not answered in 2020, many discoveries seemed to increase the prospect of extraterrestrial entities existing. Findings on the closest planet to us, in the outer solar system and the far beyond seemed to point to the possibility that other worlds could host organisms ranging from bacteria to technological beings. Perhaps, new results in the coming year will finally reveal who else might be out there.
Is E.T. phoning us from Proxima Centauri?
The answer to weird signals happening in the universe is never aliens, until maybe it is. Earlier this month, researchers announced that they had captured a very mysterious beam of energy in the radio part of the electromagnetic spectrum at 980 megahertz, coming from the closest star to our own. Proxima Centauri, which is just 4.2 light-years away, hosts one gas giant and one rocky world 17% larger than Earth that happens to be in its star’s habitable zone, meaning liquid water could exist there.
The unexplained signal reportedly shifted slightly while it was being observed, in a way that resembled the shift caused by the movement of a planet. Researchers are excited but cautious, explaining that they will need to figure out if more mundane sources, such as a comet, hydrogen cloud or even human technology, could be mimicking an alien signal, and that it will likely take time before they know one way or another if E.T. is phoning us.