[FPSPACE] NASA report on hypotheses dealing with the outcomes of ET contact
kgottschalk at uwc.ac.za
Sun Aug 21 06:50:36 EDT 2011
It's an article in Acta Astronautica. Academics do have academic
freedom in democracies to publish anything that scholarly journal peer
reviewers might accept.
It provides a comprehensive summary, in unemotional language, of a good
spectrum of possibilities.
No doubt The Planetary Society of LA, which sponsors SETI, will also
debate it with interest, & I think that it will encourage more debate.
The only thing that it has perhaps left out is if SETI detects ETI
signals from another civilization that is LESS advanced than us, say at
our 1951 technology level of sending out airport radar, TV, & VHF
signals. The proposed Square Kilometer Array will be able to detect
signals no stronger than our airport radar from planets up to 50 light
>>> On 2011/08/20 at 07:20 PM, in message
<4e4fed4d.049fdc0a.38a3.650e at mx.google.com>, "Peter Pesavento"
<pjp961 at svol.net> wrote:
Via the UK Daily Mail newspaper.
I wonder what fpspacers might think of this study*..is this one of
utility? Waste of time and taxpayers* funds? Some other reaction?
Aliens vs. humans: Eco-friendly ETs could wipe out polluted planet
Earth to protect their civilisations, warns NasaEarth's greenhouse gases
could be viewed as a serious threat made by a people that are out of
control Scientists draw up a list of hypothetical alien invasion
scenarios that could benefit, not matter or harm man
By Richard Hartley-parkinson (
Last updated at 2:12 PM on 19th August 2011
Anyone hoping that the first spaceman to land on Earth is as friendly
as ET could be in for a shock.
In the latest bid to get us to cut greenhouse gases, scientists have
decided that eco-conscious aliens disgusted by mankind's emissions could
destroy our planet in disgust.
When observed from afar, the changes in Earth's atmosphere could label
us as a civilisation that has grown out of control
Aliens reaching that conclusion may then launch a pre-emptive attack to
protect this perceived threat to their own way of life.
But that is only one possibility. Scientists are also considering other
unwelcome - and far-fetched - outcomes, such as aggressive
extra-terrestrials who eat or enslave us, or perhaps they are industrial
types who want to improve their own technological infrastructure and so
Lead researcher Shawn Domagal-Goldman and his team compiled a list of
hypothetical situations to help us should we come into contact with
other life forms.
The report, a joint effort between Nasa and Pennsylvania State
University, answered the question 'Would Contact With Extraterrestrials
Benefit Or Harm Humanity?'
Providing beneficial, neutral and harmful outcomes, the report is
designed to prepare mankind for the possibility of an alien encounter on
In the best case scenarios put forward, the scientists claim that
mankind could swap information to overcome hunger, poverty and disease.
An alternative scenario could see man triumph over an alien force and
learn from their technology.
The report says: 'In these scenarios, humanity benefits not only from
the major moral victory of having defeated a daunting rival, but also
from the opportunity to reverse-engineer extraterrestrial intelligent
In the neutral category, it suggests man could feel indifferent towards
any alien invaders because useful communication is not possible.
There is even the possibility that aliens are too bureaucratic and
tedious for us to join the 'Galactic Club'.
Echoing the situation in the film District 9, in which aliens are put
into a refugee camp in South Africa, they could even become a nuisance
The most harmful outcomes are also suggestions that would fit well in
an apocalyptic Hollywood film script, with Independence Day-style
attacks, accidental destruction of our planet or diseases wiping out the
Their suggestions to help with our survival against such events include
the issuing of warnings against broadcasts that might help aliens from
learning about our biological make-up.
The first part of our contact, they add, should be limited to maths
'until we have a better idea of the type of ETI we are dealing with'.
The report adds: 'A pre-emptive strike (by aliens) would be
particularly likely in the early phases of our expansion because a
civilisation may become increasingly difficult to destroy as it
continues to expand.
'Humanity may just now be entering the period in which its rapid
civilisational expansion could be detected by an ETI because our
expansion is changing the composition of Earth's atmosphere, via
greenhouse gas emissions...
'These scenarios give us reason to limit our growth and reduce our
impact on global ecosystems.
'It would be particularly important for us to limit our emissions of
greenhouse gases, since atmospheric composition can be observed from
other planets.'HYPOTHETICAL SCENARIOS OF CONTACT BETWEEN MAN AND ET
BENEFICIALMere detection - this would have philosophical implications
Cooperative extraterrestrials - discussion of science and maths;
advice in avoiding global catastrophe; solutions to problems on Earth
Uncooperative extraterrestrials - humanity successfully overcomes a
NEUTRALInvisible to us - intentionally hiding; unintentionally escape
our notice (different form of existence, no desire to communicate, too
far away) Noticeable but different - uninteresting and non-useful; mild
HARMFULIntentional harm - selfish ET that eat, enslave or attack us;
universalist ET that want to improve their infrastructure, use our
resources or see us as a threat Unintentional harm - physical hazard
caused by disease, invasive species, mechanical harm, act of
incompetence, computer virus, biological hazard or demoralising cultural
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