No, NASA did NOT Intercept An Intergalactic Distress Call in 1998
Circulating report claims that NASA detected a distress call from another galaxy back in 1998 but has only recently been able to decipher the message.
The claims in the message are fanciful nonsense. The report is not derived from a NASA press release as claimed. NASA has made no announcement about the supposed message. Versions of the fake story have been circulating since at least 2011. And, if a message did come from beyond the Andromeda galaxy, it would take much, much longer than 80,000 years to reach Earth.
NASA Experts Claim to have Intercepted An Intergalactic Distress Call
The signal was detected in January of 1998, however, it took months to decode the message…..
According to a message that is currently circulating via social media and the blogosphere, US space agency NASA has intercepted a distress call from an alien civilization on a planet that was located "beyond the Andromeda galaxy". The social media message links to a longer report presented as a news article. The report claims that the 80,000 year old signal was first detected back in 1998, but NASA scientists have only recently been able to decipher its meaning.
The report quotes "noted Russian space scientist Dr. Viktor Kulakov" who it claims is leading a United Nations research team that is investigating the message. In the report, Dr Kulakov claims that the alien civilization most likely destroyed itself.
Supposedly, the report is a transcript of an official NASA press release.
However, the report is nothing more than fanciful and poorly crafted fiction.
NASA has not issued any press release about such an intergalactic distress call. Nor are there any credible news or media reports about such a message. Of course, if true, such a monumental "first contact" message would be dominating news outlets all over the planet. The world's news media would be in a collective frenzy, with every possible angle reported on and endlessly discussed and debated.
The absence of any real news about the supposed message is enough alone to dismiss the story as nonsense.
Moreover, while the circulating report claims to be new, versions of the very same story have been circulating since at least 2011. Thus, it seems that the website responsible for publishing the latest version has simply recycled an old lie and presented it as current.
And, "Dr. Viktor Kulakov" is neither a noted Russian space scientist nor is he in charge of any United Nations research group. A "Viktor Kulakov" was a high-ranking military leader in the former Soviet Union, but he was not a space scientist. He died in May 2013.
Finally, the absurd message even gets its figures wrong. Scientists estimate that the Andromeda galaxy is around 2.54 million light-years away. Thus, it would take any message from that region of space vastly longer than 80,000 years to get to us.
Furthermore, while Andromeda is the closest major galaxy to our own, several minor galaxies are considerably nearer. According to NASA, the distinction of nearest galaxy belongs to the Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy, which is a mere 25,000 light years away.
Thus, while the story may be vaguely entertaining, it carries not a grain of truth.
Last updated: August 17, 2015
First published: December 2, 2013
By Brett M. Christensen