How Would You React If We Discovered Alien Life? - Science And Nature

Nov 8, 2020

How Would You React If We Discovered Alien Life?

 

 Experts weigh in on what the detection of other life forms might mean to humanity or quite a century, from George Melies’ a visit to the Moon to Stephen Spielberg’s E.T. and shut Encounters to the present summer’s blockbuster sequel to July 4, mass media, and also the general public, have pondered what's going to happen if we ever came into contact with extraterrestrial life forms. Carl Sagan’s book Contact, and Jodie Foster’s movie of the identical name, explores one possible scenario within which an exploration for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) scientist (played by Foster) discovers a sign repeating a sequence of prime numbers originating from star system Vega, the 5th brightest star visible from Earth. whether or not Contact’s version of an alien encounter is more likely than that presented in Spielberg’s E.T., the probabilities are worth pondering.

=And yet experts believe that the percentages of receiving a radio transmission composed of prime numbers or encountering intelligent extraterrestrial life within the near future are “astronomical.” even with Hillary Clinton’s promise that if elected President, she would open up the “X-files” (Area 51).

But the chances are also increasing because of continuing advances in technology and money. At a news conference held in April in big apple City, Russian billionaire and Breakthrough Prize co-founder Yuri Milner, together with a famed physicist, announced Breakthrough Starshot, a 20-year voyage to the Alpha Centauri star system. Should the existence of planets within the binary star system be confirmed, Starshot could provide us with the simplest measurements of an exoplanet atmosphere we could ever hope to urge this century. Milner will spend $100 million dollars to fund the project. Facebook’s founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is on the project’s board of directors.

The goal of NASA’s Kepler Mission was to search out terrestrial planets within the habitable zone of stars both near and much where liquid water and possibly life might exist. To date, Kepler has confirmed the existence of two,337 exoplanets, including 1,284 new planets announced as of this writing. in a very handout issued by NASA, chief scientist Ellen Stofan, said, “This announcement quite doubles the number of confirmed planets from Kepler. this offers us hope that somewhere out there, around a star very like ours, we will eventually discover another Earth.”

But what would happen if we discovered life beyond Earth?

Christof Koch, president, and chief scientific officer of the Allen Institute for neuroscience, believe most people are excited to be told that there's intelligent life out there. “For some ‘contact” would be a wish come true and fill us with awe. except for others, it might raise concerns. One can’t assume that alien cultures are by definition benevolent,” Koch says. “If we glance at the history of our world, lesser civilizations were often destroyed by more advanced ones. Would the identical happen to us if we encountered a complicated alien civilization?” Hawking has warned against sending messages out into space for this very reason.

Koch has devoted his life to defining what consciousness is whether or not it's the net, robots, animals, etc. Since it's doubtful that our first contact is going to be with humans from another planet it's important for us to know what consciousness is so we are able to better understand what we do discover as we explore space. “The first discovery would probably be bacteria which could excite some scientists but not the final public. Another scenario may well be a radio wave whose origin would be questioned. Was it a deliberate signal sent to us or is it random noise which will be explained scientifically? I'm not holding my breath for a sign that has prime numbers,” Koch says.

Mary A. Voytek is that the senior scientist and head of NASA’s Astrobiology Program who started Nexus for Exoplanet System Science to go looking for all times on exoplanets. She notes that NASA scientists are currently staring at the foremost extreme conditions on Earth to raised understand what conditions can support life throughout the universe.  “If we will determine what makes a habitable planet on Earth it'll help guide us to seem for conditions within the universe,” she says. Voytek notes that NASA acknowledges that the invention of life has significance beyond science: “In order to totally understand the societal implications, we must discuss with the experts-scholars in sociology and therefore the humanities likewise as theologians.”

“When I give lectures about my work, most people are excited about the likelihood of the invention of extraterrestrial life,” Voytek says. “This is nothing new… the traditional Greek atomists within the fourth century B.C. wrote about it. there's a quote by Democritus that I favor to cite. ‘To consider the planet because the only populated world in infinite space is as absurd on assert that in a whole field sown with millet just one grain will grow.’”

Douglas Vakoch, president of Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI) has devoted much of his career with SETI to exploring what would happen on first contact and the way we could even initiate it through interstellar messages. He says the bulk of individuals believe that intelligent life is widespread within the cosmos.e agrees that a discovery of something sort of a radio emission would end in arguments, in addition to a fading lack of interest thanks to time. “It could take decades or maybe many years for us to urge a response from a symbol we transfer. For those that are accustomed to instant communication, this may be frustrating,” Vakoch says.

Others think we’ll have a more dramatic experience. Susan Schneider, a professor of philosophy and scientific discipline at the University of Connecticut and a fellow of the middle for Theological Inquiry, believes that if we do find intelligent life, it'll possibly be within the sort of super-intelligent computer science. “For some people, this could be hard to simply accept. Discovering a civilization that's now not biological would be scary for us,” But Schneider is optimistic that almost all people will find the invention of benevolent intelligent life exciting. “People are excited by the unknown. and therefore the discovery of a brand new civilization may need many potential benefits. Perhaps a complicated civilization will share their knowledge with us,” Schneider says. The Catholic Church has come a protracted way since the times of Galileo. Pope Francis made headlines when he said he would baptize Martians. Many were surprised at the Pope’s remarks, but the Vatican has been positive about aliens for several years. Father Jose Gabriel Funes, a priest and an astronomer, views aliens as brothers and said the Church has no problem with the concept of intelligent life within the cosmos. Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno is that the first clergyman to win the Carl Sagan Medal and also the current president of the Vatican Observatory Foundation. in an exceedingly 2014 article within the Christian Post, Consolmagno said “the general public won't be too surprised when life on other planets is eventually discovered and can react in much the identical way it did when news broke within the ’90s that there are other planets orbiting distant stars.”

A similar view is held by Orthodox Jews. In an e-mail to me, Rabbi Ben Tzion Krasnianski, director of Chabad of the Upperside of Manhattan, wrote, “Jews believe other life forms. The universe is populated with an infinite amount of them. they're not physical, however, rather they're angels who are spiritual conscious beings that are beyond anything we could imagine. The Talmud says one angel’s mind is that the equivalent of a 3rd of the world’s population’s intelligence combined. For us, it’s no surprise that we aren't alone within the larger universe.”

Vakoch said people must detain mind that we are only at the start of exploration. “We have just started looking. it's only been some hundred years that we’ve been a technologically advanced society. That’s a really touch of your time in our universe.”

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