On April 24, an unverified English-language Twitter account supposedly belonging to the China National Space Administration (CNSA) posted a cryptic tweet that reads: “With great ceremony we announce the confirmation of intelligent life!” This, as you’d expect, surprised and confused many people who are trying to figure out what it means.
The tweet has proven to be a weekend mystery, with the public speculating about what it means and whether the account is even valid. The ‘CNSA_en’ Twitter account isn’t verified and doesn’t include the ‘China government organization’ label that Twitter has applied to other Chinese government accounts. This indicates it may not be an official account.
However, many have pointed out that verified Twitter accounts belonging to the UK Space Agency and the US Space Command both follow the CNSA_en account. This doesn’t necessarily mean the China National Space Administration account is valid, mind — it wouldn’t be the first time a verified account has accidentally followed a fake account, assuming that’s the case here.
If the account is valid, it’s possible it has been hacked and the message was not published by an official. Likewise, it is possible the tweet was a misguided attempt at a joke or that the intended message was not translated correctly. Then, of course, there’s the fun speculation: that China is claiming confirmation of intelligent alien life.
At this point in time, no other verified English-language Chinese government accounts have retweeted the message nor published anything suggestive that such an announcement been officially made. Likewise, the agency’s official Mandarin-language Weibo account — which regularly publishes messages — has not posted a similar claim.