At a recent astrobiology meeting I sheepishly approached veteran SETI astronomer Frank Drake about the WOW signal. I half expected him to say: “Oh that silly thing!”
Instead, Drake shared the same belief that it was a real interstellar message. (Dr. Ehman has cautiously addressed the same conclusion as a "definite maybe" after ruling out all Earth radio interference explanations.)
Drake speculates that the signal may have been crammed with a packet of information at too high a rate for the Big Ear telescope to resolve.
But why so brief? Drake suggests that an alien civilization may be pinging stars with information packets, a sort of galactic spam. Once the packet is decoded it yields information for tuning to another channel to receive a longer and more detailed message.
So, toward the end of the 20th century humankind may have received the first fleeting evidence of intelligent life off the Earth.
Link to the original article.
Via Posthuman Blues.