NASA Joins Galactic Club, Discovers Green Aliens

Three scientists have released a study titled, Would Contact with Extraterrestrials Benefit or Harm Humanity? A Scenario Analysis.

The study presents a range of positive, neutral and negative scenarios related to contact with some form of extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI).

One scientist works for the NASA Planetary Science Division, while the other two are affiliated with Pennsylvania State University.

I’m not a scientist, so I won’t pretend to assess the scientific value of their work or analyses. Several points prompted some logical questions.
 
As part of the analysis, the authors introduce the concept of a Galactic Club, similar to “the ‘United Federation of Planets’ of Star Trek fame.”

In fact, throughout the study, the authors repeatedly refer to science fiction TV programs, movies, books and authors. There are at least 11 such references, or one every 2.5 pages in 28 pages of content.

I'm a big fan of science fiction in all its forms. It's curious and a bit concerning, however, that sci-fi scenarios are such a strong presence throughout this report.

Portions of the study deal with communication issues. The report asserts, perhaps ETIs "will initiate friendly contact when we begin a long-term [messaging] program or when we start conversing with an intelligent space probe.”

Wait. Can one “converse" with a space probe? How does that work? Would one want to? Let’s face it, it sounds risky, painful or both. (Step away from the space probe. Put your tentacles where I can see them …)

Finally, climate warming, it seems, can be fatal on many levels, and aliens might actually be "green." In one scenario, the authors hypothesize aliens preemptively destroy Earth. Why? Because “ecosystem-valuing universalist ETI may observe humanity’s ecological destructive tendencies and wipe humanity out in order to preserve the Earth system as a whole.”

The mind boggles. Businesses large and small continue to wrestle with a stagnant economy. War rages across the planet. Poverty, famine and cancer remain uncured.

Meanwhile, three scientists have the time, motivation and funding to climb into the Galactic Club treehouse, crank up the Doobie Brothers, indulge in way-too-much sci-fi media and discover “green” aliens.

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Related
The Guardian: Aliens may destroy humanity to protect other civilisations, say scientists

2 comments:

Dan Brazelton said...

What would little green men do if they landed…hmmm?

What would earthlings do if we landed on Mars and found a civilization of sentient beings who hadn’t yet launched into space? We might trade! We’d give alcohol and glass beads for their mineral rights—after all they don’t really need all that dirt and rock stuff. We’d want to set up a friendly permanent contact point, actually several over a few years, with a few smiling guys with pointy sticks that shoot projectiles to protect the inventory and mining equipment from neer-do-well Martians who just don’t get the big friendly picture.

Green men landing on earth might want to trade too. Give us some neat new addictive diet soda pop or really really interactive sim-video games for our general pleasure—probably licensed through Microsoft and or Facebook for the rights to perhaps set up a remote trading post or two in the Gobi or Sahara or upper Canada or the like. Perhaps develop some mining for some unneeded deep earth ore that we don’t need or want anyway. Might have to have some friendly green men with pointy sticks that over stimulate the human heart to keep vagabonds away from the mines and trading operations.

Or they might follow the Prime Directive and not interfere. Just hang around and bring in a few tourists now and then. Perhaps be open to friendly information exchange with a couple of leading earth states and leaders about some space engines, materials, how to make cheap gamma ray guns, google space map data, computer virus protection software. Perhaps how to effectively frack oil from shale or generate clean nuclear—even cold fusion! They might want to talk with the leader of the earth’s government for convenience instead of many different individuals. I’m sure the UN would be pleased to speak and contract for the earth except for a few larger nations who might feel driven to develop their own warm relationships with our new friends regarding some private friendly exchange of wanted peaceful and peace enhancing items like those gamma guns and perhaps a few photon blasters for defense of the peace.

Barbara Spencer Hawk said...

Thoroughly enjoyed your business take on the ETI issue.

Discovering an untapped ETI market might be just what we need to jumpstart a stalled economy.

Of course, as you (and the report authors) note, there may be a few downsides ...

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