The Milky Way has roughly four malicious extra-terrestrial civilisations that could attack Earth, a researcher has claimed.
Alberto Caballero, a PhD student at University of Vigo in Spain, said he pinpointed the exact source of the “WoW Signal”, detected in 1977, reports said. The WoW Signal was a strange, minute-long radio energy burst.
Caballero said the Big Ear telescope at Ohio State University had received a burst of radio waves lasting a minute and 12 seconds. Contained in the signal was an alphanumeric code, dubbed the WoW Signal, considered the best sign of extra-terrestrial life since the search began over 60 years ago.
Over the decades, researchers have studied the signal and its origins in detail. Now, in a paper titled Estimating the Prevalence of Malicious Extraterrestrial Civilizations, Caballero has claimed that he had pinpointed the signal’s exact source. He believes the WoW Signal originated from a Sun-like star 1,800 lightyears from Earth.
The research by Caballero is considered to be more of a “thought experiment”. He said the aim of his paper was to warn scientists and put a number on the civilisations that could possibly revert to messages sent from Earth.
While putting together the study, Caballero counted the number of invasions on Earth, including the WoW Signal, and applied this to the estimated number of Milky Way exoplanets. From his calculations, Caballero estimated that there were four extra-terrestrial civilisations that could possibly invade Earth. He also warned scientists to use caution when using Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI) for fear it could provoke an invasion.
However, The New York Post reported that he had also concluded that the odds of extra-terrestrials wiping out humans was about the same as Earth being hit by a “planet-killer asteroid”. In his paper, Caballero wrote such events took place once every 100 million years.
He also said that there were likely to be fewer than one malicious extra-terrestrial civilisation in the Milky Way that mastered interstellar travel. The researcher said as societies advanced, they were less likely to engage in conflict.
Caballero hopes that his research would help start a conversation about the risks of sending messages into space. His research comes at a time when the United States government has become increasingly serious about the signs of extra-terrestrial life despite there being no definitive proof.