Last week, the internet was abuzz with the news of a mysterious object orbiting a distant star 1,500 light-years away that was blocking a huge amount of its light. With no obvious candidate for what the object could be, one scientist suggested the very faint possibility that it could be artificial in nature – yes, made by aliens.
“Aliens should always be the very last hypothesis you consider, but this looked like something you would expect an alien civilization to build,” Jason Wright, an astrophysicist from Pennsylvania State University, told The Atlantic. Wright wasn’t directly involved in the study, which has been published in Arxiv, but made his comments after discussing the findings with lead author Tabetha Boyajian. Is he right, and if so, what could it be?
Wright has since clarified his comments and said that such a theory is extremely (emphasis on “extremely”) unlikely. But it’s intriguing, nonetheless – if not least to spark discussion as what might be out there. After all, there are hundreds of billions of planets in our galaxy, itself one of hundreds of millions of galaxies in the known universe. It seems doubtful that we are the only planet with life on it, although why we have not found other intelligent life yet is a mystery, known as the Fermi Paradox.