What could be the first contact with aliens?

Imagine the following scenario: one of the radio telescopes detects a repeating signal from a star several dozen light-years from Earth. Over the next few days, other radio telescopes confirm this observation. The signal carries a large amount of information that cannot be produced in any way known to man. With great excitement and a cautious statement, scientists conclude that this signal indicates the presence of intelligence somewhere else in the universe . Against the background of general excitement, confusion and anxiety, the main question arises: who should make the decision in this case, and how to respond to such a signal? We do not yet have the President of the Earth, as in the movie "The Fifth Element". Scientists believe that the COVID-19 pandemic will help to some extent.

The President of the Earth would solve all the questions, but we don't have that

Until recently, there have been no examples in recent human history of how closely different countries can interact with each other on this issue. For example, in the event of contact with alien organisms, politicians may want to immediately use weapons, while scientists may want to try to establish a dialogue. How to come to a consensus? Professors Peter Hatfield and Leah Trublad of Oxford University believe that our experience with the COVID-19 pandemic prepared us, at least to some extent, for our first contact with another civilization.

In their opinion, the coronavirus pandemic in the nature of the situation is very similar to the first contact with aliens, especially in terms of the participation of scientists and their interaction with politicians. Of course, these are two completely different events, but the researchers say that it is this unexpected event that can help in developing plans for contact with other civilizations. Now no one has such plans.


Attempts to establish communication with aliens

Radio telescopes around the world try to pick up a signal from space every day

In the history of space exploration, there have been several attempts to establish communication with aliens. One of the first such messages was sent from the NASA Pioneer spacecraft in the 1970s. They were two identical plates of anodized aluminum on board with symbolic information about a person, Earth and its location. The "message" was done in 3 weeks.

Some of the later posts were more informative. In 2008, a message sent to Gliese 581c , an exoplanet with possible life , consisted of photographs, drawings, and text messages. In 2016, the European Space Agency sent 3,775 messages to Pole Star from people around the world.

But these were mostly speculative attempts. A real response to the message of another civilization will attract much more global attention. But who should compose such a message ?

Who will establish communication with aliens?

One way to find out is to ask. So the scientists surveyed 2,000 people in the UK and asked them the following 5-choice question.

Imagine a scenario in which scientists receive an unambiguous message from aliens (alien life forms) from a distant planet. Who would you trust to respond to this message?

Here's how the results were distributed. How would you answer? Tell us in our Telegram chat .

  1. Scientists: 39%
  2. Selected politicians: 15%
  3. Planetary referendum: 11%
  4. A collection of random people: 11%
  5. Don't know: 23%

The results show that scientific answers are favored, at least in the UK. And this raises questions about how scientists will work on this issue, and who will take responsibility.

How can the coronavirus teach us how to communicate with aliens?

Hatfield and Trublad believe there are lessons to be learned from the current pandemic. According to them, both situations are fundamentally scientific in nature, both have significant social, economic and political impact, both affect every person on earth, and both represent “external” threats that put people on the same side. Unlike world war, for example.

It was scientists who played a key role in the fight against COVID-19, but, as a rule, they acted after the discussion of politicians. Perhaps "first contact" will go the same way.

Ultimately, the reins of government were handed over to politicians anyway. But they couldn't have done without scientists

Even in performing their advisory functions, scientists were subjected to unprecedented scrutiny during the coronavirus pandemic. While some scholars acted as advisors to the government, others created alternative societies, often at odds with official guidelines. This caused the public to face an unpleasant reality: scientists do not always agree and may even come into conflict. When this happens, science can become dangerously politicized.

Нетрудно предположить, что похожий набор обстоятельств возникнет во время получения сигнала от инопланетных организмов .

What to do when receiving a signal from aliens?

It might be better to just ignore it

The most controversial question – is it worth answering at all ? There is no guarantee that an alien civilization will be friendly; it can pose a real threat to humanity. On the other hand, contacts can bring enormous cultural, economic and technological benefits to humanity.

From all this, researchers conclude that it is imperative that whoever will ultimately engage in "first contact" listens to the attention of society.

One possible way is through decision-making by a group of scientists appointed by different jurisdictions (not states) with ample scope for consultation. You can't do this alone.

There are few such people. The first contact with aliens will be a huge event for humanity that will unite people in some ways and divide them in others. But the pandemic has taught us that dialogue is possible. Even if they are scientists from countries on opposite sides of our planet.

But what will the politicians say to this?

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