A new network which is in charge of doing research into Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) has been launched in the UK. This network will be the place where academics from 11 institutions across the country can gather.
The organisation will try to go over the following hot topics:
- potential methods for detecting signals
- the linguistic challenge of deciphering messages
- the probability of an extraterrestrial civilization interacting with Earth
- the longevity of civilizations
However there is probably no need to worry about Extraterrestrial Life coming to earth, and stealing our resources. They are not interested in that because it’s too much trouble. More on that later.
Dr. Alan Penny, the coordinator of the network said: “We hope that the existence of the network will excite interest from people in the UK astronomical community that have been thinking about SETI and encourage them to contribute their work. In this session at NAM, we are presenting the whole range of UK SETI activities to the community and hope that it will promote a wider understanding of, and activity in, this subject.”
Dr. Tim O’Brien from The University of Manchester’s Jodrell Bank Observatory added: “It’s early days for this new SETI work at Jodrell but we think that using e-MERLIN, and future facilities such as the Square Kilometre Array, we could make an important contribution to the search for intelligent life elsewhere in the universe.”
However what is SETI’s plan right now if the Extraterrestrial life forms decided to contact us? According to Jill Tarter, the TED Prize–winning, former director of the world’s most ambitious search for alien life at the Center for the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Research:
- Open the champagne (currently a bottle of $10 Freixenet sitting in the observatory fridge).
- Verify our findings.
- Get independent confirmation from a qualified facility to make sure it’s not a hoax.
- Call the directors of all SETI-related observatories.
- Send out an official notice of discovery that goes to all the astronomical observatories of the world.
- Inform our major donors.
- Complete and immediately send for publication the scientific paper we’ve already prepared a template for.
- Alert our interpreters, astronomers designated to explain our findings to regional and local news media.
- Hold a press conference to announce the discovery to the world, because the signal isn’t being sent to our observatory in California, it’s being sent to planet Earth and planet Earth deserves to know about it.
PS: We probably don’t need to worry about our resources and Extraterrestrial Life stealing them from us. There are probably not interested, because it’s extremely difficult to remove the resources and take them into space. (in addition we have already compromised these resources relentlessly.)
After stating the plan she added: “Carl Sagan envisioned such a moment as a circus springing up and surrounding the discovery site, Stephen Hawking believes that firing back something immediately could get the whole neighborhood destroyed and others believe that kind of attitude is rooted in paranoia. So our mandate is to wait for a calm and reasoned global consensus on what to say and how to say it. Then again, once a signal has been detected, anyone with a transmitter can get on the horn and shout back out whatever they want.”
According to Artor, Internet commentator and passionate about the subject: “I’m confident we won’t have to worry about aliens attacking. There is no conceivable benefit anyone could obtain with interstellar war over distances of light years; territory becomes meaningless, and resources can be had easier in deep space, rather than having to land and lift things back out of orbit. Nobody is coming to steal our water, collect us for food animals, or take over our planet. If anyone wanted us dead, we’d never know it until a relativistic rock falls from somewhere past Neptune.”
However Snowman wanted to state something else entirely: “Who would own the alien signal? Would the aliens maintain copyright, SETI or the person who detects it? If SETI couldn’t claim a copyright on the alien utterance, could they claim copyright on the recording of the utterance and demand a fee for each retransmission in the same way museums demand a fee for using their photos of a work of art whose copyright has long been in the public domain?”
Where are you on the scale of the Extraterrestrial Life form believers? Are you a ten and are you concerned about the possibilities that the alien signal copyright would go to the wrong person? Or are you more a zero/one and do you agree with Artor that we don’t have to worry about aliens attacking us? Let us know your thoughts in the comments. In addition: what do you think, is Extraterrestrial Life not Interested in our resources or should we be concerned?
By Georgina Pijttersen