Don’t call the aliens,they might not be friendly
2007-12-20 0:00

By Tony Allen-Mills | timesonline.co.uk


For decades it has been a staple of science fiction � somewhere out in the galaxy, a highly developed alien race picks up a radio signal from Earth, and decides to eat us for lunch.

In a world plagued by war, hunger and disease, a possible attack by little green men may not rank high among most nations’ concerns. Yet for a small group of scientists who are harnessing increasingly powerful technologies in a trans-galactic search for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence, the prospect of catastrophe has stirred an angry debate.

Two senior scientists have resigned from an elite international study group in protest over a lack of public discussion about the possible consequences of attracting the attention of aliens by sending signals deep into space.

“We’re talking about initiating communication with other civilisations, but we know nothing of their goals, capabilities or intent,” warned John Billingham, a former Nasa scientist who has quit an extraterrestrial study group set up by the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA).

The scientists involved are all acutely aware of the dangers of ridicule in their discussions of ET and his more sinister cousins. Yet recent advances in radio telescope technologies, and a substantial flow of private funding into ET-related projects, has transformed the “search for extraterrestrial intelligence” (Seti).

In California last October, astronomers switched on the first elements of a giant new array of radio telescopes that will vastly extend the sweep of signals into outer space. Known as the Allen Telescope Array, it was built with the help of a $25m (Ł12.3m) donation from Paul Allen, the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft, and is a joint project of the Radio Astronomy Laboratory of the University of California at Berkeley, and the Seti Institute, America’s foremost centre of ET research.

“I like to call Seti the longest of long shots,” Allen said when the telescopes were commissioned. “But if this array picks up a signal, that would be an amazing thing � a civilisation-changing event.”

Yet critics argue that listening for signals and actively seeking out alien life are very different pursuits. At the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow, Alexander Zaitsev, chief scientist at the Institute of Radio Engineering and Electronics, has been using a 70-metre-wide radio telescope in the Crimea to beam signals to nearby star systems � a practice known as “active Seti”.

It is the steady shift from listening to transmitting that has divided the Seti community and raised awkward questions that no one has yet been able to answer. Who will speak for Earth if an alien civilisation replies? And are we really in danger of inviting Armageddon? Sir Bernard Lovell, the British founder of Jodrell Bank, once remarked that it was a “dangerous assumption” that any alien life would turn out to be friendly.

If an alien fleet mobilises against us, Allen should be one of the first to know. “If they do find something, they’re going to call me up and say we have a signal,” he said. “So far the phone hasn’t rung.”

Yet the question of whether we should go actively looking for ETs still needs to be debated, insists Michael Michaud, a former US State Department official who has also resigned from the IAA study group. Michaud is alarmed by his colleagues’ reluctance to halt transmissions pending consideration of the possible consequences.

Article from: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/
world/us_and_americas/article3056423.ece



Related Articles
Looking for aliens on the Moon
The Gnostic Theory of Alien Intrusion
Official Disclosure In The Pipeline?
Arthur C. Clarke at 90: Where's ET?


Latest News from our Front Page

Increased tax subsidies for politically correct media
2015-03-29 22:08
On Dec 9 last year I translated a random snapshot of the biggest newspaper in Sweden. The headlines alone spoke for themselves. It was, simply put, an orgy of political correctness, obvious attempts at emotional manipulation and general national self-loathing. In other words, a typical Swedish newspaper on any given day. As more and more readers are waking up to the ...
When obeying the law and supporting yourself is racist
2015-03-29 22:56
There is a huge scandal in the municipality of Älmhult in Sweden. It has been revealed that there is a letter that may have been sent from the municipality offices to newly arrived immigrants informing them that the law applies to them and that they’re expected to eventually go off the dole and start pulling their own weight in society. In ...
New political weapon: Threat to unleash immigrant invasion
2015-03-29 22:05
Youtube description: Threatening to bombard a country with illegal immigrants has become quite the bargaining chip in political quarrels, as Polly Boiko explains. Source: youtube.com/RT Editors Note: Notice how the argument is twisted around at the end of the report. The word "Bogeyman" is used. This is a common allusion to a mythical creature. What is mythical about replacement immigration into Europe? ...
Facebook completes first drone flight above UK, Mark Zuckerberg confirms
2015-03-28 3:15
Solar powered drones which provide internet access to rural and remote areas have been trialled in UK for first time by Facebook. They “have a wingspan greater than a Boeing 737 but will weigh less than a car”, according to the social network's chief Mark Zuckerberg. The drones, developed by Somerset-based company Ascenta which Facebook bought last March, will beam down laser-guided ...
300 Young English Girls (and a few Boys) Groomed and Assaulted by Oxfordshire "Gangs," Report Finds
2015-03-28 2:04
Editor's note: This story is a few days old now but the echoes of Rotherham just keeps coming. A few weeks ago there was Halifax, now Britain proudly can add Oxfordshire to their line up of diversity success stories. Below is the story from the telegraph: Serious case review finds failings by police and social services as it identifies hundreds of victims A ...
More News »