According to Fox News, the claims made by hacktivist group Anonymous about an announcement regarding ‘evidence of alien life’ is false.
In a YouTube video published on June 20, Anonymous said that NASA is close to announcing the discovery of alien life. The hackers said that a NASA scientist had announced this at the previous meeting of the US Science, Space and Technology committee.
However, NASA has issued a statement to Fox News to clarify that the claim is not true.
Anonymous’ video could have been a misinterpretation of a few of NASA’s latest updates.
According to The Sun, the video came after news that NASA’s Kepler space observatory found 219 “potential new worlds” in other solar systems, ten of which are “rocky” and belong in the “Goldilocks zone” because of their ability to support life with appropriate temperatures.
Anonymous also cited in their video the announcement made by NASA Science Mission Directorate Professor Thomas Zurbuchen during a congressional hearing on ‘Advances in the Search for Life’ in April that they were extremely close to finding proof of life forms in the cosmos.
They could have also misinterpreted Professor Zurbechen’s Tweet on June 20.
— Thomas Zurbuchen (@Dr_ThomasZ) June 19, 2017
A Science Alert article was closer to guessing that Professor Zurbuchen may have been excited about the progress made in our ability to look for extraterrestrial life instead, similar to NASA’s statement to Fox News.
For example, the Kepler space telescope was launched into orbit around the sun in 2009 and continues searching for other exoplanets today. It is capable of noticing small dips in a distant star’s brightness, which occurs in transit – when a planet goes in front of it.
Kepler has found 4, 034 exoplanets, of which 2, 335 have been verified till date. Only 30 of these are similar to Earth and may be able to support life.
NASA also made a groundbreaking discovery which was announced in February this year – the “sister solar system”, a star system named TRAPPIST-1. This system has seven planets similar to Earth orbiting it, and is only a close 39-light years away.
Come 2018, NASA will be launching the James Webb Space Telescope, “an even more sensitive planet hunter” that is capable of detecting the chemical fingerprints of water, methane, oxygen, and ozone in an exoplanet’s atmosphere, according to Science Alert. These are all key indicators of habitability of an exoplanet.