Apr 20, 2022 I Paul Seaburn

More Leading Scientists Fear NASA is Provoking an Alien Invasion

Most movies and novels about contacting alien civilizations either end badly or at least make the effort look like a huge, nearly humanity-ending decision. And yet … many scientists continue to search for extraterrestrial intelligence by beaming messages or signals into space to notify extraterrestrials that we’re waiting for them on the blue planet in third place around its star. A new NASA project called ‘Beacon in the Galaxy’ is set to do just that and the list of non-NASA scientists who think it’s a bad idea keeps on growing longer and longer. Is anybody on EARTH listening?

“Many people just refuse to take anything related to it seriously. Which is a shame, because this is important stuff”.

“This”, as Dr. Anders Sandberg, a senior research fellow at Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute (FHI), explains to The Telegraph, is the ‘Beacon in the Galaxy’ message proposed to be beamed at close star clusters 6,000 to 20,000 light years away from Earth which have been identified as having a high probability of intelligent life. A similar message was sent by the late, great Arecibo radio telescope – the Arecibo Message – aimed at the M13 globular cluster. We haven’t heard anything back because the message is still 24,000 light years away from it, so the ‘Beacon in the Galaxy’ project has set its sights closer. The message – containing things like image of the four building blocks of DNA, digital images of the solar system and the Sun, digitized images of people – sounds like a roadmap to a human-serving diner … especially if you’re a sci-fi writer or a pessimist. The message will be beamed by the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope in China and the SETI Institute’s Allen Telescope Array in northern California – far stronger than Arecibo. What could possibly go wrong, Dr. Sandberg?

“(It is) a postcard saying, ‘Wish you were here,’”.

We're coming!

The late Stephen Hawking felt the same way – warning that unlike in the movies, the lesser civilization will be the loser in this meeting. Toby Ord, Dr Sandberg’s colleague at the FHI, agrees. In his 2020 book, “The Precipice,” he looks at the major problems humanity is already facing and proposes how to reduce or end the risks and take a long-term view on our survival. That survival includes the possible contact with other intelligent civilizations.

“The main relevant question is the ratio of peaceful to hostile civilisations. We have very little evidence about whether this is high or low, and there is no scientific consensus. Given the downside could be much bigger than the upside, this doesn’t sound to me like a good situation in which to take active steps toward contact.”

Even if his name isn’t Sherlock, we say “No sh-t!” It seems that we don’t need to be sending postcards with lovely scenes, roadmaps, cookbooks or anything else to entice ETs to visit until we’re ready for them … if that ever happens. Sandberg laments that the thought of talking to aliens elicits a “giggle factor” in most people – which he warns is a dangerous response. Researchers with the ‘Beacon in the Galaxy’ dismiss the concerns of Sandberg, Ord, Hawking and the other Sherlock scientists. To them, any advanced species capable of communication across the cosmos would “very likely have attained high levels of cooperation amongst themselves and thus will know the importance of peace and collaboration.”

We're here.

That’s what they always say when the ships pull up and say, “We come in peace.” Ask indigenous people around the world how that turned out. Which is why every indigenous language needs an expression for saying, “No sh-t, Sherlock.”

Paul Seaburn

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

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