NASA Received an Alien Distress Call-Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
NASA received a distress call from another galaxy in 1998.
This hoax has been circulating the web for years.
Weekly World News, a supermarket tabloid known for publishing fake news stories, first reported that NASA had received a distress call from another galaxy in September 1998. Although Weekly World News is most famous for publishing fictional stories about “Bat Boy,” conspiracy theories about the alien distress call story have persisted for years.
The eRumor gained new life in 2011 when it was reported that NASA had finally decoded the message, 13 years after it was received. A YouTube video that makes that claim has more than 4 million views:
“Russian Chief of General Staff of the Soviet Armed Forces Victor Kulakov revealed that in 1998 NASA’s radio telescopes received a message from space … a signal transmitted from the galaxy Andromeda. Thirteen years later (in 2011) NASA decoded a message included in this signal and discovered a dramatic call for help from an extraterrestrial civilization…”
The video acknowledges that Weekly World News first reported the story back in 1998, but it defends the original source by giving examples of times when supermarket tabloids were the first to report breaking news stories that turned out to be true.
But that doesn’t make sense in this case. The original story claims that NASA received and decoded the distress signal from space in 1998. The newer version claims that NASA was only able to decode the distress signal in 2011. The video defends the original story as true, and then it directly contradicts it.
In truth, astronomers have been listening for signals from alien civilizations since 1960. Today, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute leads the effort. But researchers say, “No convincing signals have been picked up.”