Is anybody out there?

As the existence of alien life seems to becoming increasingly less fictional and more realistically possible, there is a group of scientists who want to send a series of powerful messages into outer space to any living organism that might be able to understand it.

Their thinking is that, just we have been searching the cosmos looking for life, and have set up listening posts in case some other life form might be trying to make contact, we too should be doing the same thing.  Their thinking, of course, is that any such meeting would be mutually welcoming and beneficial.

But would it?

The renowned Stephen Hawking strongly advises against voluntarily giving away the existence of our earthly home to outsiders.  His reasoning and that of those who agree with him, is that contact with alien life could be extremely dangerous, and could even result in mutual annihilation.

Even here on earth, responses to new life forms is one of suspicion.  The unknown is threatening and our first response is often to kill what we perceive as uninvited invaders – even when those invaders are members of our own species.  And as a matter of fact, this fear of the unknown is often a powerful survival mechanism with which we, and many other life forms which observe on our own planet, seem to be born.  Learning that the stranger may be a friend rather than a foe is the harder lesson to learn.

How to Create a Scientifically Plausible Alien Life Form

http://io9.com/5784971/how-to-create-a-scientifically-plausible-alien-life-form

So what might be our response if we encountered alien life?  And alternatively, what might be the response of alien life forms to us?  Even if one side of the equation were friendly, would the other side respond in kind?

And what if one form of life was, without any intent, deadly for the other form?  the way the Ebola virus is deadly for us humans, for instance?

Do we want to give away our existence to the whole universe, and invite outsiders, perhaps, to stop by for a visit?

What do you think?

 

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About Terry Sissons

Terry Sissons is the author of The Big Bang to Now: All of Time in Six Chunks, and this blog is a dialogue about the universe and what’s happened in the last 13 billions years.
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