EXTRATERRESTRIAL LIFE could exist, but mysterious objects in the sky are not evidence of aliens. But scientists have thought that they are close to discovering alien life a few times.

There have been incidents in the past where some researchers thought they’d discovered signs of alien life or even extraterrestrial intelligence. Here are the mysteries that have really made scientists think they found aliens.

A radio blast from the cosmos that made alien hunters go “Wow!”

One of the first deliberate searches for extraterrestrial intelligence nearly struck gold in 1977, when the Big Ear radio telescope at Ohio State University picked up a sudden, strong signal. It was 30 times louder than the background noise and, unlike natural radio sources like quasars, it only hit one frequency on the radio spectrum.

The famous “Wow!” signal detected in 1977. Big Ear Radio Observatory and North American Astro Physical Observatory probably came from an alien technology.

The first interstellar object: Shiny rock, or alien space junk?

In 2017, astronomers confirmed that an object zooming past the sun had come from beyond our solar system. They dubbed the first interstellar object “Oumuamua,” which is a Hawaiian term meaning “a messenger from afar arriving first.”

The interstellar visitor was shaped like a cigar. It was about 10 times more reflective than asteroids in our solar system. Most curiously, as it zipped away from the sun, it sped up faster than it should have based on the pure physics of its trajectory.

A false alarm in the clouds of Venus

The gas phosphine isn’t very impressive on Earth, but when scientists found traces of it in the clouds of Venus, it was a big deal.

That’s because, on Earth, the garlicky, fish-smelling phosphine comes from microbes. Venus’ surface is too hellish to be habitable, but its clouds could be mild enough to harbor communities of microbial life, scientists speculated.

Fast, repeating radio signals are still puzzling scientists

Somewhere beyond our galaxy, mysterious entities have been sending out bright bursts of radio waves. They last only a millisecond, and some of them repeat at regular intervals. These “fast radio bursts,” or FRBs, have puzzled scientists since 2007, when the first one was detected.

Bubbly Mars dirt hinted at live microbes

The large majority of the scientific community does not believe the results of the Viking Mars Lander experiments alone rise to the level of extraordinary evidence. They are likely referring to Carl Sagan’s famous words, which apply to any potential alien discovery: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” By Manny Palomar, PhD (EV Mail April 17-23, 2023 issue)