On Monday, someone purporting to be from the Anonymous hacker group made a video claiming that NASA had found alien life.
It made a juicy headline, so unsurprisingly media outlets jumped on it.
The video was posted on a channel called Anonymous Global. In it, a person in the trademark Guy Fawkes mask opens with a quote from a NASA science director, who told a congressional hearing that NASA was on the verge of some “profound” and “unprecedented” discoveries.
But if you read the whole testimony, it becomes apparent that the science director was referring to the recent discovery of exoplanet and some interesting things on one of Saturn’s moons, not aliens.
After that, there isn’t anything really new in the video. We see the usual montage of blurry UFO footage and hear some conspiracy theories.
So far the video has racked up almost 1.5 million views. Don’t bother clicking, or do. We’re not your mum.
When will we get a UFO video shot in perfect HD with decent lighting? Every smartphone has a great camera, there are no excuses anymore. Failing that, any kind of alien artefact would be nice. We have never got either of those things. Until then, I’m cynical about aliens visiting us.
OK, so the video is hogwash, what about the channel?
The YouTuber calls himself Anonymous Global, and the “About” section states “Anonymous is NOT a group, organisation, or coherent collective of any sort. Anonymous is more like…an idea, a concept. Technically everyone and anyone is Anonymous. It’s simply the name given to any collective action carried out virally by a large mass of people.”
So basically, anyone with a camera, a voice modulator and a two dollar mask can claim to be a member of Anonymous. And we are all Anonymous. Deep.
Full disclosure: I love a good conspiracy theory. If anything, they are highly entertaining and involve some really creative thinking.
If you delve into the YouTube comments of the Anonymous Global video, you might find reference to “Project Blue Beam”. As far as conspiracy theories go, Project Blue Beam is one of the gold standards.
According to the theory, NASA is attempting to create a New Age religion with the Antichrist (who else?) as the leader. It will do this by orchestrating a technologically-simulated Second Coming. Hey, they faked the Moon Landing, right? Why stop there?
The Washington Post reached out to NASA for a comment on the claims of the Anonymous Global video and a spokesman for the space agency wrote the following reply:
While we’re excited about the latest findings from NASA’s Kepler space observatory, there’s no pending announcement regarding extraterrestrial life. For years NASA has expressed interest in searching for signs of life beyond Earth. We have a number of science missions that are moving forward with the goal of seeking signs of past and present life on Mars and ocean worlds in the outer solar system. While we do not yet have answers, we will continue to work to address the fundamental question, ‘Are we alone?’
Finding alien life might not be the best thing ever anyway. At least famed astrophycist-turned-doomsday-sayer Stephen Hawking seems to think so. In a recent documentary, Hawking speaks about a world called Gilese 832c which potentially hosts alien life.
“One day, we might receive a signal from a planet like this,” Hawking says. “But we should be wary of answering back. Meeting an advanced civilisation could be like Native Americans encountering Columbus. That didn’t turn out so well.”
Is he right? Maybe we’ll find out one day. But if and when we do, it won’t be from someone wearing a Guy Fawkes mask from the dollar shop.