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Artist concept of an exoplanet. Credit: David A. Hardy.

How Would Humans Respond to First Contact from an Alien World?

Article Updated: 26 Apr , 2016

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According to Star Trek lore, it is only 51 years until humans encounter their first contact with an alien species. In the movie “Star Trek: First Contact,” on April 5, 2063, Vulcans pay a visit to an Earth recovering from a war-torn period (see the movie clip below.) But will such a planet-wide, history-changing event ever really take place? If you are logical, like Spock and his Vulcan species, science points towards the inevitability of first contact. This is according to journalist Marc Kaufman, who is a science writer for the Washington Post and author of the book “First Contact: Scientific Breakthroughs in the Hunt for life Beyond Earth.” He writes that from humanity’s point of view, first contact would be a “harbinger of a new frontier in a dramatically changed cosmos.”

What are some of the arguments for and against the likelihood of first contact ever taking place and what would the implications be?

“One argument against first contact is from those who say there is no other life in the Universe,” said Kaufman, speaking to Universe Today via phone, “and with that is the Fermi paradox, which says that if there is so much life out there, why hasn’t it visited us yet? That was first posited back in the 1950’s and with everything we’ve learned since then, it seems rather presumptuous and Earth-centric to say that because no one has come to Earth, there is no life out there.”

Kaufman argues the Universe is so vast, the number of exoplanets is so huge – with the number of exoplanets in habitable zones now gaining in numbers almost daily – and we now understand that all the makings for the building blocks of life are out in space, so it defies logic to argue there is no other life out there.

Another argument against first contact states there might be microbial life elsewhere in the Universe, but it is not intelligent. “This is where the Fermi paradox comes in even more,” Kaufman said. “It certainly is true — as far as we know — that no intelligent life has made contact with Earth. But when you look at the amount of time we’ve been a technologically advanced society, it has only been a few hundred years. In the vastness of time, that is a pitifully small amount of time – truly nothing.”

In the immensity of cosmological time, Kaufman said, it is quite possible that microbial life emerged and evolved a billion years ago on another world and we missed coinciding with it, as civilizations could have come and gone.

“But all the makings are there and unless we want to say that Earth was made through divine creation or only through an unbelievable set of circumstances this is the only place in the Universe where life began, it just seems hugely, hugely implausible,” Kaufman said.

So, Kaufman says, the best, most logical argument is that life exists beyond Earth and in some instances includes what we would consider intelligence.

“If you have microbial life and billions of planets in habitable zones, the logic says that some of them will advance like we did,” Kaufman said. “There’s no reason to say that evolution is exclusive to Earth. It feels very 14th or 15th century-Earth-centric to say that we are the only place where there is intelligent life.”

Our continued scientific understanding, and in particular, the recent ongoing finding of so many exoplanets, has been a real revolution in our understanding of the cosmos, Kaufman said, and it is a huge boost to the logic of finding life elsewhere.

“It was hypothesized for decades, if not centuries that other planets were out there,” he said. “Now that we are finding planets almost every day, from a scientific perspective, it shows us that if the science is pointing in a certain direction, you just need to have the technology and the knowledge catch up to that hypothesis.”

Kaufman says that like the surge in finding exoplanets, astrobiology is likely the next area of science where breakthroughs will happen.

“Scientists almost unanimously believe there is other life out there, but we just don’t have the technology to find it yet,” he said. “Even with the recent potential cuts in NASA’s budget for planetary missions, and even if NASA is not able to send up as many missions, there is a broad movement going on in college campuses and institutes – from working on synthetic life, to studies in cosmology, and astrochemistry — all of those things are moving forward because there is a real sense that something is within reach. This area of science is just going to blossom.”

So if tomorrow (or on April 5, 2063) a spaceship shows up, how would we respond?

“On one level, I’d hope there would be a huge amount of wonder and awe and a recognition of the vastness of the Universe. But I also imagine there would be a lot of defensiveness, as well,” said Kaufman, referring to some, like Stephen Hawking, who say we shouldn’t send messages out into space — because if a more technically advanced civilization comes to Earth, the outcome for the less advanced (us) would likely be bad.

But Kaufman has hope that Earthlings would welcome a visit.

“Look at the continuing fascination of Roswell or UFOs,” he said. “Throughout history, humans have looked to the skies and thought that we’ve experienced something ‘out there’ – be it angels or gods or spaceships. There is, I believe, a deep human craving that we aren’t alone, and that would be a significant part of our response.”

For more information see Kaufman’s book, and website,”Habitable Zones”

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connor walls
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connor walls
April 5, 2012 9:36 PM

Great article. The scientific community would certainly be excited to learn about them, and the Holly Rollers would be excited to force God down their throats.

Lawrence B. Crowell
Member
Lawrence B. Crowell
April 6, 2012 1:31 PM
We humans have an ability to project ourselves onto the world or imagined worlds. The ability to pen down a character on a page and for a reader to then imagine that character is an aspect of this sort of projection. God or gods are projections of our selves onto the world. This probably arose from the evolution of language and story telling as a way of communicating information about the local environment. Stories about seasonal changes, the behavior of animals or the cycle of plants, the nature of rivers and so forth permitted such information to be past down generations. These stories anthropomorphize the world into spirits and gods, which in later time became larger gods and… Read more »
dimar
Member
April 5, 2012 9:39 PM

I’d want to hear the aliens’ views on the ‘meaning of life’. Also, I think they shouldn’t come to Earth until humans resolve all the main issues such as poverty, pollution, energy production, etc… I think if humanity would ever get a hold on super advanced tech, it would just annihilate itself, at the present state.

Torbjorn Larsson OM
Member
Torbjorn Larsson OM
April 6, 2012 12:11 AM
– “Meaning of life” is individually resolved. So yeah, maybe they can contribute with new perspectives. But then again maybe we can’t or won’t adopt them. “Kicking kitteh’s” wouldn’t be my MOL for example. :-/ We likely have a diverse enough flora of MOL to keep almost everyone happy and busy. (Few suicides because of lack of MOL, say.) – I don’t see how Luddites survive, they should take computers as super advanced tech. =D You don’t define “resolve”, but I note that the current world according to statistics have rapidly decreasing levels of poverty (defined by economists) and pollution (defined by governments) as well as a rapidly expanding and hence historically cheapened energy production. If “resolve” means… Read more »
bfmorris
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bfmorris
April 10, 2012 6:38 PM

“Meaning of life” is individually resolved”

It appears that even bacteria actively disagree with this statement. One need look no further than the adaptive divergence in experimental populations of pseudomonas fluorescens to see that this statement is purely a rhetorical regurgitation that looks good, sounds good, but is inaccurate.

Thomas Houck
Guest
April 6, 2012 4:52 PM

Meaning of life…Man is the Universe’s means of being self-aware. And if that is not it then there is no meaning to life. You just are because you are. Sit back drink a beer and enjoy it.

Randy Pugh
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Randy Pugh
April 5, 2012 9:57 PM

We can barely communicate with other species on our own planet (and struggle with language barriers within our own.) Alien psychology may be so different than our own that they could be sending the universe messages in ways they think is obvious, but we haven’t thought to investigate. Maybe, the desire to communicate with other interstellar species is a rare psychological trait that we possess that others don’t.

Maybe aliens are passing by Earth right now on their way to vacation on Rigel 7, and don’t think we are worth bothering with.

hm0tion
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hm0tion
April 5, 2012 10:14 PM

Lawrence B. Crowell
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Lawrence B. Crowell
April 6, 2012 12:05 AM
I think it depends upon whether mathematics is universal. If you talk to most mathematicians they will say that mathematics is some sort of universal objective truth. The most universal system of information encryption is the Fischer-Griess group, also known as the monster group. This is a vast algebraic system, but its automorphism group is the Leech lattice or Matheiu group in 24 dimensions. This exists in a Lorentzian structure that acts on the monster group in 26 dimensions, which connects to string theory and so forth. This is a huge information encryption system, which I think is involved with how black holes encrypt quantum information. So if I were sending information into space with the idea of… Read more »
Duncan Ivry
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Duncan Ivry
April 6, 2012 2:39 PM
Well, if you talk to “most” mathematicians — which you are not really able to do, aren’t you — it may very well be the case that they say that mathematics is “some sort of universal objective truth”. But they may very well be wrong, and I, being a mathematician, have reasons to say, that mathematics is (like other sciences) completely made by humans — invented and not discovered. We use those parts which work in reality, and discard other parts that don’t work (well, except if we mathematicians want to have fun, fascination, or whatever; it doesn’t cost much money). If someone thinks, that there is indeed a universal objective truth about mathematics, say, “out there” in… Read more »
Lawrence B. Crowell
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Lawrence B. Crowell
April 6, 2012 5:21 PM
I know a number of mathematicians, though they are not involved with these foundational issues, such as mathematical logic. Of course by saying this I sort of opened a bit of a Pandora’s box. The nature of mathematical truth is not entirely understood. There are those who favor the idea that mathematics just involves models. Some such as AN Whitehead argued that mathematical truth was at best relative. We also have Godel’s theorem that tells us no mathematical system can enumerate all its Godel numbers or “codes,” and by extension there is no axiomatic definition of mathematical truth. So in modern times there have been ideas such as intuitionism that places mathematics in the mind of the practitioner… Read more »
Duncan Ivry
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Duncan Ivry
April 7, 2012 12:01 AM
An interesting answer, thank you. Regarding “no tangible subjects which can be manipulated by means other than thought” in mathematics. This discipline is definitely no sub-branch of psychology, or something similar. And I can show everybody how to construct e.g. numbers. I am able to manipulate them using e.g. pencil and paper mechanically, or a mechanical or electronic computer. Everybody would be able to see it. When we observe mathematicians doing their work, when we study mathematical proofs, and when we study biographies of mathematicians, there is not a single piece of evidence, that, what the mathematicians handle — their objects or concepts –, are not down-to-earth physical objects, invented and constructed by themselves. You may not be… Read more »
Lawrence B. Crowell
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Lawrence B. Crowell
April 7, 2012 2:30 AM
It does have to be realized that while one does write symbols on paper or look at numerical output, without the brain processing this these things are pure gibberish. The number 5 for instance engraved on a rock would in the future after humanity becomes extinct mean nothing. Mathematical objects of course have symbol representations, and they can in some cases be manipulated in computers where there is a Shannon-Khinchin information entropy process. However, I would not go so far as to say mathematics involves objects which have the same ontology as a proton or a black hole. Max Tegmark does do more down to business physics and cosmology. He is not only known for the MUH. I… Read more »
Torbjorn Larsson OM
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Torbjorn Larsson OM
April 7, 2012 4:10 PM
MWI is a quantum interpretation which is physically ineffective. I used to support MW theory, recently I have stepped back to reconsider. However, I still don’t find it physically ineffective. MWT is realistic and parsimonious, using 1-2 axioms less than other QM theories. There is no testable method for determining whether quantum physics conforms to MWI. It has survived testing however, as it seems relativistic decoherence is very much part of physics (but I am not sure when I am writing this how clearly it has been tested). Relativistic decoherence would throw out classical “instantaneous collapse” of Copenhagen theory for example, but is the very core of MW theory. That it isn’t fully testable shouldn’t be cause for… Read more »
Lawrence B. Crowell
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Lawrence B. Crowell
April 8, 2012 2:23 PM
The MWI splits off the world into an ensemble of decoherent sets. Quantum physics is actually blind to space and time. It merely has a representation in space and time, where we construct this representation with a Lagrangian over configuration variables. A decoherent process splits the world into an ensemble of Hilbert space descriptions according to inequivalent configurations. The process does not occur according to some propagation of a causal process. The Aspect experiments on the Bell inequality illustrate this point. The MWI has not been directly tested, for there is nothing really to test. The closest we have to such a test is that MWI has proven to be a convenient way to work problems of quantum… Read more »
Duncan Ivry
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Duncan Ivry
April 10, 2012 8:52 PM
“It does have to be realized that while one does write symbols on paper or look at numerical output, without the brain processing this these things are pure gibberish.” I’m not quite with you, of course, and I will continue (a) letting computers really *adding* numbers for me, and (b) knowing what it means — contrasted to thinking that I get gibberish as long as I don’t look. This works, because there are — much important — social and cultural processes implementing practices — to which we all agree — with respect to how we handle numbers (among other things). In the tradition of the pragmatists I would say: what it means is in what we do. “The… Read more »
Torbjorn Larsson OM
Member
Torbjorn Larsson OM
April 7, 2012 3:43 PM
I’m not a mathematician (though I’ve studied some); I’m a physicist. Yet I have concluded exactly the same thing on the construction nature of mathematics or, what Chaitin would call it I believe, its quasi-empirical nature. Chaitin is, I think, more concerned with the observable nature of some of its algorithms. But the term can well be extended to cope with the observations you make, on the manipulation of physical objects, the algorithmic nature and error possibilities of proofs, et cetera. Making proofs seems to incorporate to break down the algorithm to a minimum agreeable steps respectively using heuristics for breakdown, manipulation and construction. And Gödel’s theorems concur with that, no axiomatic procedure of mathematics would be self-contained.… Read more »
Lawrence B. Crowell
Member
Lawrence B. Crowell
April 8, 2012 3:09 PM
The relationship between Godel’s theorem and physics is a thorny issue. It is not likely that physical systems can have the sort of recursive structure that can diagonalize infinite lists of Turing machine codes or Godel numbers. Things such as energy, entropy, and so forth impose finite limits which prevent this sort of thing. So nature may prevent physical systems that are “nonhalting” or infinitely recursive because such systems “run out of gas,” or in a biological sense are selected out. The MUH is an interesting thing to ponder, whether one thinks the idea is realistic or not. In either case we might ponder what physical postulates would make this idea true or false, or maybe better put… Read more »
tel
Member
tel
April 9, 2012 4:05 PM

I think it’s possible that we are the first, or one of the first to evolve.

I’m assuming the early universe wouldn’t hold any life sustaining materials (not only water, but also heavier elements). It would take a lot of super nova’s to create the heavier materials and spread them around the universe. Combine that with a fairly low probability that intelligent live can evolve, then it’s possible that there is intelligent life that is only slightly behind us or slightly a head of us on the evolutionary scale.

William928
Member
William928
April 5, 2012 10:19 PM

I don’t think there’s any question that there is other life in the universe, at the very least microbial life. I would posit we’ll find some sort of life in our Solar System, most likely on Titan, Europa or Enceladus. Coming in contact with other intelligent species is a few hundred if not thousand years in the future given our current technological and economic limitations.

mastercope
Member
mastercope
April 6, 2012 6:25 PM

All these worlds are yours, except Europa. Attempt no landing there. Use them together. Use them in peace. I think we better stay away from Europa.

mastercope
Member
mastercope
April 6, 2012 6:25 PM

All these worlds are yours, except Europa. Attempt no landing there. Use them together. Use them in peace. I think we better stay away from Europa.

Duncan Ivry
Guest
Duncan Ivry
April 7, 2012 12:12 AM

I’m European, more exactly continental. I don’t want to stay away.

Zoutsteen
Member
Zoutsteen
April 5, 2012 10:43 PM

If aliens come here within 51 years, I doubt they were expecting intelligent life when they left home, assuming they’ll be traveling sub-luminar speeds. Meaning, the original intend would be kolonisation of Earth.

Christian Borregaard
Guest
April 5, 2012 11:03 PM
If and when another civilication would visit us it would be so advanced that first of all it would not be a living being but robots of some sort. second we would not have to worry about them hurting us since they would not be allow by their own rules and laws. Were they not peaceful, they would have self destructed long ago from civil war. The reason why i dont think we will ever be visited thou, is the fact that the distances just are so great that even with the speed of light, we will not get far within a human lifetime or two. Then we should be so lucky that there were life on one… Read more »
Duncan Ivry
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Duncan Ivry
April 6, 2012 3:19 PM

There have been many comments here and elsewhere starting with “if they are able to visit us, they would be so advanced that …”, followed by, say, non-conclusive statements. But to your counterargument about the distance I would add the following scenario:

In order to travel from their distant planet to our planet, the aliens had to exhaust their resources to such a degree, that they are not able to do much when they arrive, but they need our help simply to survive. And, may be, their home planet would look to us like the late Soviet Union: a third world country with rockets.

StockportJambo
Member
StockportJambo
April 5, 2012 11:13 PM

People would be happy. Governments and (especially) military wouldn’t. God (or whoever) help us if we do contact life and the US military are still running the show.

delphinus100
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delphinus100
April 8, 2012 2:37 PM

Not everyone will be happy (though I don’t buy the conspiracy theory that we’d all freak out, and that society/religion would collapse, either).

Some will refuse to believe it. (see above)

But every (I repeat, *every*) government will jockey for some kind of advantage in this scenario.

Oh, and the ‘US Military’ doesn’t ‘run the show’ anywhere, they answer to a civilian government, and executes its policies, not their own. Not every country can say that…

StockportJambo
Member
StockportJambo
April 13, 2012 12:44 PM

They might “answer” to a civilian government, but you’re extremely naive if you honestly think that means a damn. A rigged-by-propaganda vote every 4 or 5 years doesn’t really constitute accountability.

You’re right on the other points though.

Paul Gracey
Guest
April 5, 2012 11:37 PM
1. We would only recognise and be recognised by a species similar to us with similar needs, size, lifespan and capabilities. Any large variation in those factors would have us talking past each other, if we could communicate at all. The scale factors could be immense. Hawking is probably right. Look at what our ignorance has done interacting with the other intelligent species on this planet. Nearly wiping some of them out completely. And look at how likely it is that we cannot get our act together fast enough to prevent human greed from de-terraforming our own planet. It has probably happened many times over all over this universe at different times. Now if we are in fact,… Read more »
Paul Gracey
Guest
April 5, 2012 11:37 PM
1. We would only recognise and be recognised by a species similar to us with similar needs, size, lifespan and capabilities. Any large variation in those factors would have us talking past each other, if we could communicate at all. The scale factors could be immense. Hawking is probably right. Look at what our ignorance has done interacting with the other intelligent species on this planet. Nearly wiping some of them out completely. And look at how likely it is that we cannot get our act together fast enough to prevent human greed from de-terraforming our own planet. It has probably happened many times over all over this universe at different times. Now if we are in fact,… Read more »
Torbjorn Larsson OM
Member
Torbjorn Larsson OM
April 5, 2012 11:48 PM
Sorry. I haven’t read Kaufman’s book, but the interview contains so many errors that I don’t feel inspired to. Good idea but poor outcome. =D – It is true that Fermi’s question is too poorly constrained to be an actual paradox. But to argue “logic” of circumstances is to put aside physics twice over, first as an axiomatic game, second as something else than likelihood of a chemical to biological evolution process. This is Monod’s idea of “chance or necessity”, and it has no real process model. One way to interpret it is like a vast phase space which is frequently revisited, but with a minute volume for success. Neither physical dynamical nor stochastic processes looks like that,… Read more »
Lawrence B. Crowell
Member
Lawrence B. Crowell
April 6, 2012 1:22 PM
I think the evolution of intelligence has a sexual selection with regards to communications. Dolphins are I think an intelligent life form. They are not however technological, for they do not have hands to manipulate things and living in water prevents the early use of fire. Yet they do have complex communications, as do other cetaceans, and are complex enough in their behavior to be at least considered intelligent. I read in the AAAS a year or two ago about this subject, where researchers report that dolphins appear to exhibit a frustration with our inability to understand them. IOW, in these experiments to communicate with them, they are in some ways trying to communicate with us. It is… Read more »
jjb
Member
jjb
April 6, 2012 4:39 PM

I think once we bridge the communication gap with Dolphins and Whales … We will take some major steps forwards. MAJOR STEPS.

Lawrence B. Crowell
Member
Lawrence B. Crowell
April 7, 2012 2:11 AM

What I find curious is why the human experimenters don’t try to emulate dolphin sounds. By doing that they might elicit responses and figure out what dolphins are saying by speaking and doing it their way instead of trying to get dolphins to do it our way.

LC

jjb
Member
jjb
April 7, 2012 3:14 AM

How do you know they are not? We’ve made a lot of stride. There is one thing – a number of years back, when they tried doing that with Orcas — if memory is correct, it backfired and sent the whale into a frenzy. The problem is – what is “echo/sonar” -vs- communications? One is shooting in the dark so to speak.

Dampe
Guest
Dampe
April 6, 2012 1:16 AM

I’m amazed that there are still people who can arrogantly assume that there is no other life in the universe. I just don’t understand how people can really accept that.
It’s that old assumption that we are the centre of the universe.

Lenin Sambhudat
Guest
April 6, 2012 4:27 AM

Kind of like the people who are amazed there are still people who arrogantly assume there is no God.

delphinus100
Guest
delphinus100
April 8, 2012 2:25 PM

We absolutely know life exists. We can say some testable, observable things about how life came to arise here, and extend that to how probable it is elsewhere. We can in principle, go look for it. At least in this solar system.

We can say none of those things about deities, at this time.

Jonathan Neufeld
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Jonathan Neufeld
April 6, 2012 8:43 AM

You’re reading-into posts too much, modal logic is boring.

Jonathan Neufeld
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Jonathan Neufeld
April 6, 2012 8:43 AM

You’re reading-into posts too much, modal logic is boring.

jjb
Member
jjb
April 6, 2012 4:36 PM

I don’t think we say that anymore.

We’ve finally evolved to see “life” does not need to equal “Intelligent Life”. It means cellular to microbial, to simple life basic life forms, bacterial and such.

I just find it curious that we equate “space traveling aliens” to “advanced”, in “spirituality” and “peaceful” and such.

Why? We have zero foundation for that thought. None what so ever.

delphinus100
Guest
delphinus100
April 8, 2012 2:30 PM

“We’ve finally evolved to see “life” does not need to equal “Intelligent Life”. It means cellular to microbial, to simple life basic life forms, bacterial and such.”

Some of us are simply *more interested* in finding intelligent life, as cool as any life unrelated to Earth would be. But if we find simple forms on Mars, we won’t be using words like ‘contact.’

Otherwise, I agree with the rest of your post.

Kev Girard
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Kev Girard
April 6, 2012 3:21 AM

Yet everything needs to be money and profit! When we rid of the monetary system and politics, we can start being technologically advanced.
/end rant.

Very good article Nancy, thanks smile

jjb
Member
jjb
April 6, 2012 4:33 PM

Do not hold your breath on that one. You would not look good in that shade of blue.

delphinus100
Guest
delphinus100
April 8, 2012 2:19 PM

To be replaced with…what? Those things exist for a reason, and those reasons have not gone away.

Harold Wolfe
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Harold Wolfe
April 6, 2012 7:52 AM

When we can decipher bird language(s), I will believe that we might have some hope of communicating with aliens. Intra species communications is weak and inter-gender communications is weaker.

jjb
Member
jjb
April 6, 2012 4:32 PM

Well we have learned to understand Bumble Bee Communication. We do understand to a degree bird calls and what they mean. Mating calls, Warning calls and such.

What I would like us to do is, start working to understand better Whales and Dolphins. That would be a major step.

Thomas Houck
Guest
April 6, 2012 4:42 PM

I protest the inter-gender comment…My wife and I yelled at one another just last night. At least I refrained from dragging her around by her hair…

Alien
Guest
Alien
April 8, 2012 5:56 PM

Tell that to my birds. They are probably as frustrated as the dolphins at my inability to understand their commands.

Animals are good at reading body language. Unfortunately we are advancing in the direction where our body language is being reduced to the use of emoticons sad

kopdogg
Member
kopdogg
April 6, 2012 8:09 AM
An argument against the likely-hood of first contact is as someone stated. Why do we need to look to the cosmos when it is already here with us being conscious beings to think these thoughts of the universe and to understand it. Another argument is if we run into a species that is advanced enough, why come talk to us? Is it really worth it talking to 1 other species to get a bigger understanding of life? I would rather get on a cosmic internet where there is probably infinit amount of species. Or somehow become consciously aware where you are free to search the universe consciously somehow and meet probably infinit amount of species that way. Or… Read more »
jjb
Member
jjb
April 6, 2012 4:30 PM

Sometimes we need a push to think beyond ourselves and our own backyard. As for “refuel” and the nearest star. That is assuming there is “fuel” there to be used.

lexuskywalker
Guest
lexuskywalker
April 6, 2012 3:18 AM

Let’s hope they don’t have the same reptilian brain as ours
Or it will be awe first then becoming very awful very quickly

Lord Haw-Haw.
Guest
Lord Haw-Haw.
April 6, 2012 8:25 AM
The newsstands current edition of “Astronomy” magazine (May) has a catchy cover title: “What happens when we detect alien life, the inside story from Seth Shostak, the man who will know first.” The May issue is worthy of procurement by the SETI enthusiast, on page 28 there is an informative column on abridged SETI detection protocols, under “Response to signals” it reads: “In the case of confirmed detection of a signal, signatories to this declaration will not respond without first seeking guidance and consent of a broadly representative international body, such as the United Nations.” [From the International Academy of Astronautics Commission] “Space Physical Sciences” Meeting on October 2, 2011. As senior astronomer at the SETI Institute in… Read more »
alextseng
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alextseng
April 6, 2012 8:31 AM

Let’s hope they don’t have the same reptilian brain as ours
Or it will be awe first then becoming very awful very quickly

jjb
Member
jjb
April 6, 2012 4:29 PM

We don’t have ‘reptilian brains’. So umm ….

Torbjorn Larsson OM
Member
Torbjorn Larsson OM
April 7, 2012 3:01 PM
Jesper
Member
Jesper
April 6, 2012 9:29 AM

Well, I hope to be still alive when the Vulcans come. I’ll be 97 then, so the chance isn’t that good.

wwmorty
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wwmorty
April 6, 2012 1:02 PM

If humans continue on the path they are going, the only life to meet any aliens will be cockroaches, rats and bacteria…

Torbjorn Larsson OM
Member
Torbjorn Larsson OM
April 7, 2012 2:57 PM

And human apes. We are a lot more successful than cockroaches and rats.

Peter
Member
Peter
April 6, 2012 2:02 PM
Face it. With an example of …well, one, we have no basis at all of even suggesting a pattern ie: percentages of worlds in habitable zone will have some life, or life becomes multicellular after so many years on each habitable planet. We have not, so far, even been able to induce life into inanimate matter even while understanding much of the basis of our own. Clearly, even our own world is extremely harsh to life and has been and will be harsher still. The rest of the bodies in our solar system are only remote possibilities for even microbial life. IMHO, If, in the remotest likelihood, from the remotest system, a species did come, it would never… Read more »
brahman
Member
brahman
April 6, 2012 4:15 PM

I find it interesting that you are saying it’s impossible for a civilization like our own to find us, because they would not bother looking, while at the same time pointing out that we are looking.

It makes no sense to assume just because they have found us that they are some utopian society.

Peter
Member
Peter
April 6, 2012 10:23 PM

Terrill, you certainly read much into a simple statement. Not much that it actually says though! I didn’t mention impossibilities. I didn’t mention not looking or that we are. So maybe you replied to the wrong person.
Also, I didn’t say Utopian. I only said with those attributes, they would be hard pressed to be violent warlords.

Torbjorn Larsson OM
Member
Torbjorn Larsson OM
April 7, 2012 2:54 PM

I don’t necessarily disagree or agree with all that. But I note that we have “induced life” (made self-replicating molecular systems) in our laboratories. (Say, those DNA strands where X builds Y and Y builds X.)

However, we have not yet made evolving life. Even less evolving life that would be robust enough to be a feasible pathway once taken. I bet Shostak Lab will be the first to do that.

bfmorris
Member
bfmorris
April 8, 2012 6:25 PM

The truth is, we’re no where near qualified to receive a star on our forehead for creating life . ‘Inducing life’ looks like the equivalent of happening onto an an old tire to play with, then watch it roll down the road while saying we’ve built a car. To be brutally honest with ourselves, shouldn’t we get at least a single cell, (complete with it’s mind boggling thousands of simultaneous processes all working together) going from scratch before we call our product ‘life’ in any fashion?

I love to read these threads though, and daydream of the possibilities; it certainly give a break from the harsh truths alluded to by Peristroika.

wpDiscuz
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