The Pitfalls of Searching for Alien Life

Scientists looking for evidence of extraterrestrials can draw media attention but also cynical, even hostile, reactions from their colleagues.

In October 2017, a telescope operated by the University of Hawaii picked up a strange cigar-shaped object (artist rendering in top image), which had slingshotted past the sun at a more-than-brisk top speed of 196,000 miles per hour. Scientists at the university dubbed it ‘Oumuamua, Hawaiian for scout, and at first labeled it an asteroid, then a comet, but agreed that it came from another solar system.

A lot of academics “won’t touch it with a 10-foot pole,” one researcher says of serious scientific research into alien life.

Around the world, telescopes were quickly aimed toward ‘Oumuamua’s path, and scientists dove into the data. One of them, Avi Loeb, the chair of Harvard University’s astronomy department, published a paper in The Astrophysical Journal Letters the following year theorizing that the object could be artificial. “Considering an artificial origin, one possibility is that ‘Oumuamua is a lightsail, floating in interstellar space as a debris from an advanced technological equipment,” he and co-author Shmuel Bialy, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard, wrote. “Alternatively, a more exotic scenario is that ‘Oumuamua may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilization.”

That’s not something you read every day in a serious scientific journal. The paper went viral and Loeb began fielding an onslaught of media calls while fellow scientists weighed in. In terms of his colleagues’ reaction, Loeb said, “almost all of them reacted favorably, and they thought, you know, it’s just an interesting idea.”

Even so, he added, there were some negative reactions as well. One cutting tweet by Paul Sutter, an astrophysicist at Ohio State University, reads: “No, ‘Oumuamua is not an alien spaceship, and the authors of the paper insult honest scientific inquiry to even suggest it.” In Forbes, astrophysicist Ethan Siegel called the paper a “shocking example of sensationalist, ill-motivated science.”


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All this hubbub took place in the aftermath of news reports that the Pentagon had been collecting data on UFO sightings for years. Clearly, the hunt for alien intelligence is alive and well in our solar system, and it’s hot news. Indeed, Loeb’s article was approved for publication in mere days.

But while scientists tossing around the idea of alien life may find a rapt public audience, they can also draw cynical, even hostile reactions from their fellow scientists, a response summed up by acclaimed physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who once quipped to CNN: “Call me when you have a dinner invite from an alien.”

This paradox has ripple effects. The threat of being written off as a kook can loom large for researchers, especially young ones. A lot of academics “won’t touch it with a 10-foot pole,” said Don Donderi, a retired associate professor of psychology at McGill University in Montreal who now teaches a non-credit course called “UFOs: History and Reality” in the school’s continuing education department.

Loeb says many discoveries have their roots in theories that were initially dismissed. He thinks open-mindedness keeps scientific inquiry moving forward, while shutting down new theories “reduces the efficiency of science.”

NASA physicist Silvano Colombano maintains that the search for extraterrestrial intelligence has been limited by long-held assumptions and that the “general avoidance of the subject by the scientific community” means no one questions them. It’s a dilemma: scientists might look like cranks for posing questions about aliens, but we’ll also never know unless someone asks.

Donderi has received his own share of mixed messages about his UFO research. No one at McGill seemed to mind when he began writing about the paranormal in the 1970s, along with experimental psychology. “I was pretty insulated,” he said, as he already had tenure and continued to get promotions, including one to associate dean for graduate studies. At one point, he had a federal grant for research on visual perception and memory, and it came with a provision for extra funding for side investigations. UFOs had been sighted in northern Quebec, so he applied for money to find out what people thought they saw — hence its relation to his main work — but the application was rejected. He never tried again.

Physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson once quipped to CNN: “Call me when you have a dinner invite from an alien.”

More pointedly, when he formally retired from McGill in 2009, he offered to give a free seminar on his long-time side research into the evidence behind UFOs and alien abductions, and his department said no. Donderi said they knew he was writing on this subject, but when he actually asked to bring this material into their program, they said, that’s the line.

“I’m really surprised they get blowback,” said physicist Richard Bower of Durham University in England. He’s never gotten flak for his research in cosmology, which entails making computer simulations of possible parallel universes. He’s concluded that life elsewhere could be quite common, and others in his field back him up. “We used to say that life is incredibly rare and we’re lucky to live on a habitable planet,’’ he said. “But we’ve now observed so many planets that are plausible habitats. It seems, based on scientific evidence, there’s no reason to think that planets like the Earth are rare.”

But cosmology has its limits, too, and Bower says he’s “less comfortable” with the excessive speculation he sees in some work. Rather, he suggests, it’s better to focus on questions that we may soon have the evidence to answer.

Legitimate academic work about extraterrestrial life has to carefully separate itself from the musings of amateur scientists and conspiracy theorists. The people who speak at UFO conferences “aren’t all equally good enough,” Donderi said. Meanwhile, those engaged in the search through bona fide organizations have come up with minimal results. The Pentagon acknowledges that it tracked sightings for years, but claims it shut down its program in 2012.

Meanwhile, astronomers have been trying to communicate with alien life using radio waves since 1959, work continued by the SETI Institute in California and its high-profile scientists — but nothing. Theoretical physics may have determined alien life is likely, but that’s still just a theory.

We may be finding nothing because we’re doing it wrong, researchers posit. In a 2018 conference paper, Colombano suggests the search for alien intelligence is based on “cherished assumptions” that could be holding it back: that interstellar travel is unlikely, that alien civilizations use radio waves, that other life must be carbon based, and that UFOs have never visited earth. He makes a case for discarding these dusty beliefs and for sociologists to imagine how alien societies might evolve, physicists to do more speculative work on space-time, and energy and technologists to model ways in which technology might evolve in other civilizations.

Those who report seeing UFOs will question themselves afterward, and academics will bristle at conclusions that point to aliens.

Bower says funders and academic institutions favor scientific research with a certain kind of pedagogy. “To search for something in science that you want to know, we look for something and if we find it, we learn this, and if we don’t find it, we learn something else,” he said. Simply looking for alien life is too binary: if you don’t find it, you’ve got nothing.

For Donderi, as a psychologist, it’s cognitive dissonance that keeps the search for other intelligence in limbo. “People defend themselves against uncomfortable things,” he said. In other words, those who report seeing UFOs will question themselves afterward, and academics will bristle at conclusions that point to aliens.

Given recent reports that the Navy is creating guidelines for reporting unidentified objects, speculation about UFOs and aliens isn’t going anywhere soon. And researchers expect more data about interstellar objects when the Large Synoptic Telescope in Chile starts operating in 2022. Don Donderi concludes that the evidence is rising and feels that cognitive dissonance is at the moment collapsing. “[W]e’re at the beginning of the change,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Loeb says he intends to keep revising his ideas on ‘Oumuamua as more data is collected. “I approach this subject scientifically just like I approach any other,” he said. And that’s where patience and hard work come in. “We’re learning the answers to these questions,” said Bower. “Even if we don’t find little green men waving at us.”


Diane Peters is a Toronto-based writer, editor, and teacher who focuses on science, health, business, and education Her work has appeared in The Globe and Mail, University Affairs, JSTOR Daily, and other publications.

Top visual: ESO/M. Kornmesser/Wikimedia Commons
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39 comments / Join the Discussion

    I think the old out dated closed minded scientists will soon all be gone soon. This reminds of the era of flat earth days and when the earth was the middle of the solar system. Retire old goats, we’re trying to move forward. Yes common sense says alien exist. No you wont fall off the planet if you fall off the horizon.

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    UFOs exist. But only as UFOs. What they they actually ARE, we don’t know. ETs? Maybe. Some kind of experimental aircraft? Ditto. Maybe they aren’t even physical but, rather, supernatural. Woooooo!!! The great Enrico Fermi asked “where are they?” He and Dr. Tyson are technically correct. Unless and until one of ’em lands during primetime, all is speculation.

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    History is full with reams of accounts where flying vehicles and extraordinary beings were encountered. Some genetic manipukations, biological attacks, and horrifying weapons were also recorded…miracles too!
    I read or heard that there are about 75 Sun-like stars within 35 light years and about a third are believed to have planets in the Goldilocks zone. If they have supported advanced lifeforms is unknown.
    UFOs have been clocked close to 5000 mph, but even at that speed it would take 135,000 years to travel one light year. So interstellar velocities would need to be much greater.
    I am one of those who believe advanced societies may have developed on Earth previously given that our most advanced technological achievements have occurred in about the last 200 years. The onset of the Younger Dryas began a period of disasters and climatic change that wiped out the megafauna of the Americas and elsewhere. Sea levels were hundreds of feet lower. It is likely that any advanced docieties eould have been inundated, experienced crop failures, or any number of war and upheavals that would undermine continued existence. Perhaps some were able to adapt off planet, underseas, or underground and those remnants have been msking contact for thoussnds of years.

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    The author of this article grossly mischaracterized the opinions of the skeptical scientists. She didn’t interview any of them, first of all, which resulted in a horribly biased article.

    Second, although Dr. Siegel, the author of the Forbes article, did say the Loeb’s work was “a shocking example of sensationalist, ill-motivated science”, he backed it up with evidence. He also said, “It might be fun to imagine scenarios where aliens are responsible for phenomena that we aren’t exactly sure how to explain with the present data we have, and perhaps it’s worth keeping an open mind when it comes to their existence. But the whole point of doing science is to learn about the Universe the way it actually is, based on the evidence we actually have. As it stands, there are a slew of candidate, natural explanations for all of these phenomena that don’t invoke new physics, exotic scenarios, or the intervention of alien intelligence.” That’s hardly what I would call “hostile” to the possibility of aliens. It’s just a response to slip-shod use of evidence.

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    Out inability to travel the universe is limited by our failure to develop the right kind of propulsion. Our short life spans and fragile bodies couldn’t survive the journey without fundamentally rewriting the laws of physics (as we perceive them) regarding time or dimensional travel. We may never overcome these limitations.

    Considering science and familiar tropes of science fiction, there’s so much that can go wrong introducing an alien life form to our planet: From the exploitation of already strained resources; to their waste products being even more toxic to us than what we produce; and colonization or subjugation of Earth’s lifeforms, or even alien lifeforms with a taste for carbon based life forms. As humans themselves have evidenced, not all lifeforms will be altruistic watchers. Please don’t put out the welcome sign.

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    I don’t think we’re ever going to encounter intelligent alien life.

    First, life that could get off of the home planet is probably extremely rare in the universe. While life evolved on earth almost as soon as conditions allowed, it took another several billion years for multicellular life to evolve, and then another half billion for intelligent life to evolve.

    Then, in the flowering of our technology, we’ve caused two existential problems: the existence of nuclear bombs, and global warming. Our civilization, and even our species, could be felled by either. Would other intelligent species have this sort of problem? The life of advanced civilizations might be extremely short.

    And while we had two hands, most intelligent life has nothing with which to manipulate material in a complex enough manner to make sophisticated tools–corvids, parrots, and elephants have the functional equivalent of a single hand, which would probably still stymie technological development. Cetaceans live in water, which would greatly complicate any attempts to get off the planet. If intelligent life has evolved elsewhere, perhaps such creatures never evolved hands.

    Then there’s the problem of the time it would take to get to any Goldilocks zone planets. Unless there’s something missing in our understanding of physics that somehow enables travel time in space on a human scale, I don’t see us leaving the solar system.

    And if life is pretty much as we know it, I do not foresee any alien visitations, although I feel a little less certain about that.

    It’s still an interesting topic.

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    Yo sí creo que existen los extraterrestres. Son simplemente nuestros descendientes que vienen del futuro y vienen a visitarnos. Por eso nos conocen perfectamente. Si hubieran querido entrar en contacto con nuestro presente ya lo habrían hecho. Quizá sea mejor así.
    En el futuro el hombre encontrará la manera de viajar al pasado, como nosotros lo hacemos en el espacio en nuestros días.

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    I don’t think we’re ever going to encounter intelligent alien life.

    First, life that could get off of the home planet is probably extremely rare in the universe. While life evolved on earth almost as soon as conditions allowed, it took another several billion years for multicellular life to evolve, and then another half billion for intelligent life to evolve.

    Then, in the flowering of our technology, we’ve caused two existential problems: the existence of nuclear bombs, and global warming. Our civilization, and even our species, could be felled by either. Would other intelligent species have this sort of problem? The life of advanced civilizations might be extremely short.

    And while we had two hands, most intelligent life has nothing with which to manipulate material in a complex enough manner to make sophisticated tools–corvids, parrots, and elephants have the functional equivalent of a single hand, which would probably still stymie technological development. Cetaceans live in water, which would greatly complicate any attempts to get off the planet. If intelligent life has evolved elsewhere, perhaps such creatures never evolved hands.

    Then there’s the problem of the time it would take to get to any Goldilocks zone planets. Unless there’s something missing in our understanding of physics that somehow enables travel time in space on a human scale, I don’t see us leaving the solar system.

    And if life is pretty much as we know it, I don’t foresee any alien visitations, although I feel a little less certain about that.

    Nonetheless, I find this sort of speculation to be interesting.

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    Once life evolved on Earth, it took several billion years for multicellular life to evolve. Once that happened, it took nearly half a billion years for intelligent life to evolve. Some of that intelligent life–whales, dolphins–was confined to the waters. Most others–certain corvids, for example, as well as cetaceans–lacked the means to make sophisticated tools. Even elephants, with finger-like appendages at the tips of their trunks, have only one “hand”.

    As for us, we’ve created at least two existential threats–nuclear weapons and global warming. Our civilization may be gone in the blink of an eye, even if our species lives on under much degraded circumstances.

    Then there’s the issue of distance. Even if our civilization survives, relatively intact, I’m not betting that we’ll ever leave the solar system, unless there’s some physics we don’t yet understand that would enable us to cover light years in earth years, or less.

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    The body of up to current science makes it not just improbable but impossible to say random chance led to life on earth. Evolution is dead. So that leads to a occam’s razor high probability of “God” The only non God arguments left are “aliens” (but simplistically leaves the question of where the aliens came from, but that has an unknowable answer so it can be asserted) or there are a multitude of universes that can interact with each other, thus going beyond the probabilities of this universe.

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    My God is larger than all matter. No beginning and no ending. The intellect of my God makes ours a speck. If there are aliens, they too are part of this God. Ann Dannaker

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    The problem in trying to seriously discuss this is, we (the general public) are not privy to all the details, so its like we are trying to put together a giant puzzle without being able to see a picture of what its supposed to look like!!

    I have never believed the things people see in the skies and report as ‘UFOs’, are ‘from some other place…I think they are closer to home in origin, there have been reports going back to 400BC, and the descriptions are exactly like modern day UFO reports, they pop in, stick around for a few seconds and then vanish or shoot off at incredible speed…this does not sound like behavior from visitors of an advanced civilization, its sounds like they are something that has always been here, but we do not know where they reside.

    I think these things may be the historical ‘Archons’ and not really ‘alien beings from some distant place or planet’.

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    Bullying occurs on the playground and in academia and should be outed as such.

    The phenomenon is real. We have entered Disclosure (though surely it will be manipulated by The Powers That Be (unknown to us proles) which adds another level of complexity to an already numbing human challenge.
    Those serious (and there are many) about the nature of the phenomena (for it may well be multiple in its origins) are unwilling to claim that the origin(s) is extraterrestrial. The phenomena remain resolutely UNKNOWN after 7 decades of feverish and clandestine examination by some of the sharpest minds we have. That in itself is worth pondering.
    To REALLY work up a feverish mindmelt, try solving the equation — WITHOUT appealing to an extraterrestrial hypothesis (for grins) — such that all the REAL data points are resolved. Let the stupid and uninformed fall like chaff before this wind of change so immense it still has no name. WE ARE IN DISCLOSURE. Heaven help us because the President surely can’t, though, to quote him, ““Well, I think my great pilots would know,” he continued. “Our great pilots would know. They see things a little bit different from the past. So we’re going to see. We’re watching, and you’ll be the first to know.”
    His pilots . . .

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    “The Pentagon acknowledges that it tracked sightings for years, but claims it shut down its program in 2012.”

    I remember watching the “Project Blue Book” in the 70’s as a kid. I also remember they claimed to have shut it down in 1969. Take the “claims to shut down the program” with a grain of salt the size of Titan.

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    Having experienced a sudden reversal in my previous beliefs about UFOs early one night in 2012 a few miles West of Washington, Pennsylvania on I-70. I, and at least one driver of an 18-wheeler were contfronted with a huge, low altitude Slowly Flying Object approaching the Interstate that I estimated had to be at least a thousand feet in lenght, and 4-500 feet in width. It was probably 400 feet above the hill and fields and moving rather slowly.

    Open mouthed, I confess to actually bringing my automobile to a full stop on the highway, in awe, along with an 18-wheeler that had been following me, to gawk at the sight of this slowly moving, soundless, beheamoth that was approaching us on a course to cross the highway almost directly overhead.

    Physically, this huge SFO appeared to consist of a central pipe-like main body with 4 cross member pipes, that had huge spotlights at the end ef each cross member emmiting beams of brilliant white light shining downward into the woods and fields below. Reflected light from the searchlight-like beams of light on the ground below enabled me to make out the pipe-like structure of the SFO, and an estimate of it’s size.

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    I would love for some clarity on what I saw one night. At the time when I stepped out for a smoke, I felt my eyes go out of focus while looking at an apparently full moon. Annoyed, I rubbed my eyes, then checked my glasses. Finding all other areas of my vision were clear and in focus, I remained baffled at the blurry and elongated representation of the moon. Excited at the prospect of such an extraordinary experience, I feared this transformation would be fleeting and hesitated calling out a family member to witness. After a minute, the expected shape and clarity of the moon returned. Having no explanation even remotely resembling wild speculation leaves me wide-eyed and open-mouthed to this day.

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    Sir,
    How lucky you were to have had an experience that was “incontrovertible” and also undeniable. Many people “believe” they have seen something Unidentifiable in the murky distance. You have seen, at close range, something identifiable but not “possible” using the criteria of our physics and belief systems.
    I (and 4 others) had a ship over our house that I could have hit with a pea shooter. Slow, undeniable, impossible. Life changing. And if you have read Jacques Vallee, you can better understand his idea that one of the “effects” of an encounter of such a substantive nature changes the way you process data from then on. The experience becomes, in a sense, a new bit of code for your operating system.
    Your description is fascinating as it is unlike any of the other clear, close sightings I am familiar with. The bewildering plethora of shapes (and sizes!!! — from the size of a tennis ball [encountered by two friends of mine] to more than a mile long) and compositions — the “hard” and “soft” sightings — only raise the conceptual challenges.
    May it happen again!

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    I saw something in the spring of ’52, probably an asteroid. The thing that is interesting is that the government said that it had watchers and radar and that nothing went over.

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    I feel really bad for people who claim they were abducted by aliens because even if they imagined the whole event, it still felt real to them, but they are immediately labeled “crazy” and then they’re completely marginalized. It seems like people who claim to see U.F.O.s face a similar, albeit toned down, version of this same discrimination and apparently just talking seriously about the possibility of extraterrestrial life/objects can invite ridicule and condemnation. That doesn’t seem like best attitude to have if we really are interested in finding evidence of alien life because anyone who comes across any evidence will be too scared to come forward, and understandably so. Kudos to all the academics who have stepped up to ask big, “crazy,” questions and to the author of this article for pointing out that doing so is a act of courage.

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    Why look out there, if you cant even identify the ones already here?

    If you cant identify the ones under your noses, how do you expect to identify them out in space where your isolated and on your own?

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    Its likely an asteroid from a bug planet, we have to be careful, the bugs will whack us Johnny.. Buenos Aires wont be the same if it hits us.

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    Truth is what every human being should be searching for, no matter the subject, no matter who “funds” the efforts, and truth should not be a commodity, but rather an accomplishment. We have lost our desire for truth and supplanted that with a desire for profit and recognition, and we dare not risk our reputations or potential “funding” through “reckless” suppositions. Even if the findings are so inescapably obvious and easily corroborated, established requisites will always prevail, no matter how flimsy their foundations compared to rock solid evidence to suggest that the inconvenient truth exists, regardless of our willingness to accept it. The scientific community has become far too rigid for its own good, and until this is recognized, truth regarding human life elsewhere in the universe will remain the inconvenient possibility that we refuse to consider until the evidence for it literally bites us on the hind quarters and refuses to let go without being recognized. One man will never have a loud enough voice for his subtle truth to be heard over the massive screams of those who demand recognition. So when some of us say “we want to know”, what do we truly want to know, and are we willing to listen?

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    I could not begin to agree with you any more than I already do. Nor say it any better!!

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    Given human experience to date — and yes, drawing analogies from a database of one planet is perhaps heretical — it does seem a stretch to think that electromagnetic radiation or remote observations of planets using spectrographic analysis or the like will tell us anything about currently existing life on other planets. All of these observations are seemingly qualified by the fact that we are observing information that has taken millenia to reach the Earth for observation. So yes, evidence may be collected that might let us infer that life existed elsewhere at some time in the distant past, but it doesn’t seem as thought it will tell us that life is currently extant at the source of the data gathered. We earthlings have sent radio signals and the rare physical artifact into the seeming abyss of the universe. But by the time — and at the moment — that our indicators of current life on Earth are observed by other intelligent life it feels more likely than not that our “intelligent life” will have ceased to exist. Perhaps humanity can continue to exist for sufficient millenia. But the human experiment with intelligent life tends to indicate that any such observation will simply be an alien life form collecting archaeological evidence of an extinct society.

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    Remember Europeans, with “superior” technology (for conquest/killing) meeting “aboriginal” people (i.e., native inhabitants) anywhere on the planet (the entire Western hemisphere, Australia, and Africa)? Result: It does not end well for the native inhabitants. The native populations die from germs to which they have no immunity, or they are murdered outright to secure the land and resources, or they are enslaved, or they are virtually enslaved in low-level, low-earning jobs with no upward mobility. This is the fate that can await us if/when a extra-planetary technologically, superior to earth’s, finds or lands on our planet. Anyone that assumes that aliens with super-advanced technology would have a super-advanced morality is hopelessly naive. Neither “Intellect” nor technology has anything to do with morality. Again, the Europeans not only had “technology,” scientific knowledge, philosophies, and Judeo-Christian religion, and the naive inhabitants still wound up suffering enormously and have continued to suffer the residual effects to this day. If/when extra-planetary beings arrive, we just better hope they are Vulcans, but my guess is Klingons, Romulans, or Cardassians and the people of earth are the new “native inhabitants” if not a food source!

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    Except the reason that indigenous people were able to be wiped out by those diseases was because those diseases were adapted to attack our own species. the same is not true of diseases adapted to attack other species – it is normal for a disease that attacks one species to attack solely that species. So normal, in fact, that the diseases that do attack other animals and humans as well are given a special term – zoonotic diseases. It is highly unlikely that any diseases that had adapted to kill extraterrestrial beings would kill us – likely those aliens would be less closely related to us than a plant. And we don’t catch tree diseases, not even from tropical trees that are the same temperature as our bodies, so the likelihood is that nobody from one planet would catch the other’s planetary diseases (true, evolution might change that, but that would be a roll of the dice and we would have no idea whose diseases would adapt to attack whom, and the chances are small that would happen).

    As to the morality of an explorer, plenty of people with questionable morality are not interested in exploring far but rather staying where their own species lives, so they can crush others under their heels. Furthermore, even if they did leave, they might wipe themselves out because they lack the interdependent cultural framework needed to keep themselves alive in a self-sustaining system. Even scientists who aren’t power-hungry don’t necessarily succeed at that, since they aren’t raised to be interdependent, but they’d have a better chance than power-hungry individuals like conquerors who are likely to end up upsetting the balance of the self-sustaining ecosystem of a spaceship, simply out of greed for power (and the resulting backlash against anyone under them who doesn’t kiss their behind enough). Factors like these might limit the spread of the most bloodthirsty aliens (as I suspect it will limit the spread of certain high-power tycoons who hope to cut themselves off from riff-raff but will simply thrust themselves into a framework they are not and have not prepared for).

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    Why would beings with the technology to travel to Earth and back to their own planet, need us for ANYTHING! Furthermore, if they are already visiting, which sighting from our own military indicates, then why haven’t they already done the worst?

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    Unfortunately, most of those Europeans brought only the religion of Christianity and were not truly born again as the righteousness of God in Christ. Truly born again Christians would not murder, enslave, or bring any kind of calamity upon anyone else. They would act in unconditional love towards all of their neighbors by Christ in them. There will be a time when the scientific community as well as all of the religions of the world will unite in the acceptance of an alien, but that alien will be Satan. Alien abductions are real experiences, but they are far from experiences of unconditional love as would be the case if God or his holy angels visited them. Alien visitation is a deception. They are demons. In the book of Revelation, it seems to be suggesting that the antichrist will be established by an apostate church from the city of seven hill that is Rome. Catholicism is known for its idolatry and mix of pagan symbolism. The Vatican has established an astronomical observatory that is looking for an alien visitation. They have already suggested that we might have to revise our idea of who or what Jesus Christ really is and our interpretation of the gospel. The true gospel is that Jesus Christ was God almighty in the flesh and still is. God almighty does not need a spaceship or to introduce himself as an alien. The Jewish temple is already being planned to be built that will include all of the world’s religions. The Bible predicted that all of these things would happen, and that the lawless one, the antichrist will enter the new temple committing the abomination of desolation. There is only one way to God, and that is through Jesus Christ, who is God in the flesh who became our sin for us and exchanged our sin nature for his holy nature as born again believers in him, alone. This alien visitor will bring technology, but that technology will be the mark of the beast, and it will transform people’s DNA into a completely abominable thing making people become demons in the flesh rather than the body of Christ, which is God’s holiness in the flesh.

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    It is this simple , It was the year 1972, 3 years after the world saw astronauts land and return from the moon , Also it was three years after over a half a million kids had three days of fun and music and nothing ,but fun and music . and I was taking a final in biology, WHICH HAD A FILL IN THE BLANK worth 2 points . “Dinosaurs were ……………..” and if you answered “slow lumbering animals ” you got 2 points.
    Somebody famous once said ” The old people write books ,It is the youth that goes out to make new discoveries , so when they are old , they can write the books .

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    The use of telescopes to detect near earth objects that pose threats to our survival are funds well spent, in my opinion. If there are additional duty cycles available from searching the sky for threats, why not listen for signals of distant intelligent life. If we don’t listen, we won’t hear.

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    With the knowledge we have at this moment in this field , Is it not fair to say in our 3 or 4 dimensional universe that there is alien life in many forms , forms, that we , at this moment in time have not had the dialog , conversations and discussions to even begin to think where life can exist .Though we may think of ourselves as the smartest life on this planet , (Which I have some doubt about). Only five hundred years ago , the world was flat . Only two hundred years ago the farthest we could go depended on the horse you rode on into town . Changes will become more rapid and the concept of what kind of universe are we living in will continue to change.
    In reality if we don’t talk about it , the truth will take many more years to reveal itself , couldn’t the world leaders that already know more than we , feel that if the citizens of this planet are afraid to talk about aliens , then they are not ready for aliens to be a truth in their reality,.after-all wasn’t there a radio show that played only 50 years ago that had the average citizen frighten so badly that some committed suicide?

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    Assuming one or more extraterrestrial species has the technology to visit and study earth, why indeed would they want to interact with such an instinctively Nazified species — actually Nazified to planetary suicide — as H. sapiens sapiens is now proving itself to be. Why???

    Moreover, who is to say the introduction of patriarchy some 6,000 years ago — peddled by fiery wheels, loquacious burning bushes and talking snakes — wasn’t the interstellar equivalent of the smallpox-infested blankets by which the Europeans intensified their genocidal extermination of the original Americas.

    Plus let us not forget the scientists and aeronautical engineers who have stated that only exo-skeletal creatures could withstand the G-forces evidenced by a majority of UFO sightings.

    Hence it is surely not off-limits to speculate that now the highly advanced insectoid species that with patriarchy began the process of turning our planet into a smoldering garbage dump — a place “fit only for cockroaches” — is returning to Earthly airspace to monitor the already proven results of patriarchy.

    (All of which makes at least as much sense as any other theory of “alien visitation” and includes — as others do not — speculation on the probable motive of imperialist conquest, the one most likely motive that all other hypotheses significantly exclude. Again, Why???)

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    The strength of a radio signal falls off at a rate of 1/R^2 so it is unlikely that we would pick up even our own radio broadcasts after they have traveled several hundred light years. I would wonder what an alien civilizations intentions were if they decided to really want to communicate with us and spent millennia transmitting with high powered radios in our direction. Seems like a huge waste of scarce resources. Our goal should be to detect as many possible planets that are like the earth. After discovering each earth candidate we could then use a more powerful telescope to analyze the spectrum of light in the atmosphere as the planet tracks across its star. Looking for the pollution from the chemistry of life like oxygen, carbon dioxide and methane.

    Then we would use a large array or radio telescopes to look for radio emissions. Specifically Extremely Low Frequency, ELF, radio waves as that would mean that life had discovered that AC is more energy efficient for transmitting power than DC. This would be like a large transmitter radiating in every direction as there is some energy loss in power lines that would be the equivalent to a radio broadcasting with megawatts. This still might not be possible if the atmosphere attenuates the signals because only some radio frequencies can make it through a carbon based life supporting atmosphere.

    Over 50% of voters believe that aliens are real which means that is good way to get science funding. A radio telescope array can do a lot more than look for aliens and funding is usually the largest barrier to doing science. I think it makes it more fun for the public as it is a lot harder to sell them on building telescopes to do pure astronomy.

    Reply

    That’s if they didn’t build a directional antenna. For the record, I think the prospect of alien civilizations is a fanciful idea and no more. If we happen to stumble across one during other pursuits that’d be one thing, but to actively look for what is unlikely to exist is just silly.

    Reply

    The thought of their not being some type of life in a “space” that is so vast is simple minded. We are here and we came from somewhere. The thought of alien life does not necessarily have to be confined in oval faced, big eyed beings who are visually terrifying. Try not so hard to allow your “perception” to be Hollywood and science fiction based. There is life out there somewhere. Our inability to travel further within a reasonable amount time and our inability to analyze certain planets is what the continued study and experimentation of life in space will cause us to eventually have the ability to dig deeper and further, thus leading to eventual discovery.

    Reply

    I’m in total agreement with this post. Finding planets in the Goldilocks zone is the first step, calculate their gravitational factors, analysis the chemical atmosphere using spectral frequencies and then focus available resources like radio telescopes arrays and maybe Arecibo to look for transmissions. The searching for a needle in a haystack approach such as merely looking for decaying radio signals was once our only option. And yes, I think SETI was a great concept initially, but it makes less sense now that our science, technology, and methodology has advanced. It’s like sticking with dial-up modems and bulletin boards for information instead of investing in fiber optics. We are making new world discoveries all the time, and we will eventually find the perfect world to explore. Travel there may be cumbersome at first, but even that technology will advance and we’ll be able to travel faster or discover a key to space/time travel alternatives.

    Reply
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