First Contact: Scientists Working on How to Respond to Extraterrestrial Life

Science fiction movies paint a vivid picture of what would happen when we meet an alien civilization. But what would we do if we find out that we are not alone in the universe? That is exactly that scientists at a new international research hub are preparing for, according to the University of St Andrews. The SETI Post-Detection Hub will be hosted by the University of St Andrews in Scotland and will be a coordinating center for experts from across science and humanities to create impact assessments, protocols, procedures, and treaties that can be used in case we get in touch with alien intelligence.

“We must consider beyond how our actions may affect people. As our understanding develops and what we know and don’t know is conveyed, we need to coordinate our expert knowledge to appraise the facts and take into account the human social reaction. John Elliott, an honorary research fellow at the University of St. Andrews, suggested that the moment to act is now.

Elliott claims that the hub will need to “move beyond thinking about the impact on mankind” and that contact with aliens will have to instead concentrate on determining how humans will react in such a situation.

“We will progress our knowledge in many phases as we learn ‘Extra-Terrestrial,'” Elliott said, “through the complicated and time-consuming process of scanning signals of presumed extra-terrestrial origin for patterns of language and assigning meaning.

The only such contact procedures still in use, according to the University of St. Andrews, are those created by the SETI community in 1989 and last updated in 2010.

The aggregate phrase SETI, or “search for extraterrestrial intelligence,” refers to the study of extraterrestrial intelligence. These guidelines, which are available on the SETI Institution website, are largely concerned with the significance of disclosing any proof of extraterrestrial intelligence to the general public and give very little in the way of guidance.

Its recommendation to scientists who have discovered extraterrestrial life is to get in touch with the larger scientific community and the United Nations. The SETI Post-Detection Hub may be able to address a large policy gap in that area. It will also take into account how, in the age of social media, the public should be informed of news of contact with extraterrestrial intelligence.

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