NASA scientists continue to wait for contact from alien life despite the lack of returned phone calls. The probability that “they are out there” on one of the monthly-discovered Earth-like planets keeps their hope alive and fuels their efforts toward providing every opportunity to making contact with them. Regardless of the seemingly unrequited efforts on the aliens’ part, and the long distance, scientists refuse to be swayed from their pursuit by the long distance. No amounts of alien horror films will dissuade their search. In an effort to learn how to communicate better, NASA is promoting a self-help book by Douglas A. Vakoch, who has a fresh new take on improving the potential relationship with extraterrestrials, should contact ever be made.
Vakoch’s book provides a more sensitive outlook on the entire endeavor. A simple study of the aliens’ possible methods of communications, the contributors to the book encourage self-reflection. By looking into mankind’s own anthropological advancements and how mankind has made efforts to understand foreign cultures and languages, Vakoch believes it would be possible to better understand what messages were being conveyed if they were even attempted. Vakoch recognizes that there is a faulty assumption that alien language was beyond human understanding and completely unlike human language. He advocates for a more human-like approach, such as dating, flowers, chocolates, charades, and maybe some pictionary. His book seeks to delve deeper into the possible commonalities that humans might have with aliens, unlike NASA, which has always approached aliens from a scientific point of view. By understanding the sociological development of aliens, it is possible to decipher alien forms of communication. Obviously, aliens have not communicated, yet, in the English language, but with the help of Vakoch’s book, understanding has become a more “realistic” possibility. Vakoch would argue that it would be no different than archeologists taking small signs of life in obscure areas and reconstructing entire lost civilizations.
These advancements of understanding have promoted an even more dedicated fervor in the pursuit of aliens. Scientists stationed on the beautiful, romantic island of Hawaii believe that an encounter could happen as early as 2034. Seth Shostak, a Senior Astronomer at the SETI Institute, defends his passion for the possibility of intelligent life on other planets, comparing himself to other explorers like Magellan or Columbus, who were unappreciated in their time. Shostak cannot help believing that the pursuit of alien contact will take time and patience over several million star systems. With the knowledge that terraforming Mars is a possibility, that there are shuttles orbiting other planets, and Earth-like planets exist, scientists cannot help but keep holding on to the hope that contact will be a matter of time.
While this self-help book promotes interesting thought processes in understanding alien life, it may remain ineffective until NASA succeeds in making or receiving contact. Until the technological advancements allow for them to successfully and effectively receive communication in a timely manner, scientists may continue to remain the unrequited lover of the stars; searching for answers in silence.
Satire by Sophia Bien