An Intergalactic Mission

Scientists want to contact extraterrestrial civilizations. Some applause the effort. Others say this is not a good plan at all. The idea is for messages encoded in radio signals to be sent repeatedly for hundreds of years to planets in habitable zones around stars, said a report in The Guardian. Repeated signals would be beamed at nearby planets that were chosen for their odds of harboring life. The scientists are from the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute in California. The BBC said that SETI's researchers have been listening for signals from outer space for more than 30 years using radio telescope facilities. So far there has been no sign.

Writing in ScienceInsider, Eric Hand said, "Since the SETI movement began in the 1960s, it has mostly involved using radio telescopes to listen to bands in the electromagnetic spectrum for something out of the ordinary." Seth Shostak, director of the SETI Institute, believes that it is time to step up the search from listening to broadcasting. "Some of us at the institute are interested in 'active Seti', not just listening but broadcasting something to some nearby stars because maybe there is some chance that if you wake somebody up you'll get a response." Should earthlings draw attention to ourselves? Should we be yelling into space? Are we looking at a risk of aggression and even annihilation?

 

Simon Conway Morris, an evolutionary paleobiologist at Cambridge, has urged governments to prepare for the worst because aliens might be as violent and greedy as humans – or worse...


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