Meet the neighbours: Is the search for aliens such a good idea?

Recently, British astronomers told the government that we might find life in space. It is only a matter of time, this year perhaps, before astronomers detect a planet even more similar in size and mass to our Earth, circling another star. And when we find that planet, we may discover a lot more than new oceans and land masses.

Astronomers have been actively looking for intelligent life in space since 1960, when Frank Drake started Project Ozma, using a radio telescope to listen for signals from two nearby sun-like stars – Drake knew that radio waves travel more easily through the cosmos than light waves. He didn’t hear anything back. Since then, our searches have become more thorough thanks to larger radio telescopes and more sophisticated computers that look for fainter signals. But we still have no signal from ET. Should we want to?

Full Story: The Independent.


  1. The old retorts ‘Is there intelligent life on Earth?’ & ‘The proof that there must be intelligent life out there is that they haven’t made contact yet’ seem appropriate here, before we go scouring the Galaxy on a radiotelescopic-centric quest that is IMHO very unlikely to turn up anything at all.

    Surely the word ‘alien’ implies that any other lifeform will likely be unrecognisable anyway, certainly not another race of 6 foot bipeds that just happens to have been spawned under exactly the same conditions as on this planet & who speak English with an accent. ‘We come in peace etc.’ How likely is that? Too much SF bullshit conditioning.We only live in 4 dimensions so far anyway.

    We should look to ourselves and how we are abusing each other and this planet that gave us life before we consider ourselves worthy of contacting any new species. We’ve killed off enough species on this planet already, that an alien species may consider us so dangerous & toxic that it would either quarantine our planet or put us out of our misery as we might do with an infectious insect or disease.

  2. It occurs to me that as the probable existence of E.Ts has become more and more acceptable, a sudden surge of fear and doubt would be a natural reaction. Why not turn it around and ask; “Why should we not want to?”
    There’s a quote from General Patton about his vision of a united human race engaged in an interstellar war against a hostile alien empire. Not a future I’d want to live in but it seemed to be the only way he could imagine a united human species. Creepy, no?
    Also, Space is big enough for any discerning alien geneswarm to just avoid us I would think, especially if we’re throwing radio noise all around us.

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