Some researchers say that it will be something quite different from alien megastructure but till such a clarification is found, the intelligent-aliens theory will still be on the table and possibly a strong one, even if the ATA and other devices like it come up empty.
The star might support lifeforms that do not release signals we can pick up, for instance. Or it may once have hosted a civilization that has since gone vanished, leaving the bizarre megastructure as a sort of monument.
Kepler's vital planet-hunting work proposes that the Milky Way galaxy swarms with billions of rocky, possibly habitable planets. So KIC 8462852 is far from the only star system that Shostak and his associates will be hunting down in the coming years.
Shostak said "It almost doesn’t matter where you point your telescope, because there are planets everywhere. If there's somebody out there, there are going to be so many of them out there that I do think there's a chance."