A new study out of Germany is calling for humanity to get ready for an encounter with extraterrestrial life.
The study comes at a time when Congress last week passed legislation directing the government to tell the public some of the data it has about about UFOs and unidentified aerial phenomena and extraterrestrial activity. But the government may sit on the information for 25 years, according to the legislation. That may be superseded by events, according to many scientists.
The research paper comes out of the Institute for Frontier Areas of Psychology and Mental Health in Freiburg, Germany. Its authors say that the way humanity responds to “first contact” will depend on what happens when it takes place.
Some of the scenarios offered, as summarized in Space.com by author Leonard David, include:
- The signal scenario is the basis of SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence) programs, in which radio astronomers search for signs of alien civilizations. It assumes that radio telescopes can pick up artificial signals from the far reaches of space.
- The technosignature scenario envisions that future powerful telescopes will find evidence of past or present extraterrestrial technology.
- The artifact scenario assumes that one day, somewhere in our solar system (or even on Earth itself), we will come across the material remains — such as a space probe — of an extraterrestrial civilization.
- The encounter scenario involves the appearance of an alien spacecraft in near-Earth space that can be assumed, based on its flight maneuvers or other actions, to be controlled by intelligence, either biological or artificial.
There is a strong possibility, the authors say, that the first encounter will not even be recognized as such by humans.
The U.S. government has all but acknowledges that extraterrestrial life exists and contact is likely, and discussions about unidentified aerial phenomena, also known as unidentified flying objects, or UFOs, are now happening continuously in classified settings.
In a National Security Administration document declassified in 2004, an NSA cryptologist wrote, “We are not alone in the universe. A few years ago, this notion seemed farfetched; today, the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence is taken for granted by most scientists. Even the staid National Academy of Sciences has gone on record that contact with other civilizations ‘is no longer something beyond our dreams but a natural event in the history of mankind that will perhaps occur in the lifetime of many of us.’
Read the declassified paper by Lambros D. Callimahos at the NSA at: Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence