SETI denies hearing ET's voice

Reports that scientists believe they may have found proof of alien life are very wide of the mark

Reports that a group set up as part of the Search for Extraterrestrial Life (SETI) has detected a radio transmission that it suspects could be a signal from an alien civilisation have been dismissed by the organisation.

"Sorry, but there's nothing new to report," said David Anderson, director of SETI@home.

"The candidate signal in question was essentially ruled out as an ET [extra-terrestrial] signal because its Doppler drift rate varied too widely," Anderson told ZDNet UK, adding that this fact had first been reported back in April.

Many media organisations reported earlier this week that a faint radio pulse had been picked up that could be an attempt by living beings on another planet to get in touch. The signal was at 1420MHz, the frequency of hydrogen, which astronomers frequently monitor as they map the universe.

Alien-seekers expect that a civilisation capable of drawing attention to itself would know which parts of the radio spectrum other life forms might be watching.

The SETI project uses spare CPU cycles on millions of PCs to analyse radio signals.

ZDNet UK's Rupert Goodwins contributed to this report.