Who should really answer if aliens contact us? Researchers at the University of St Andrews in Scotland plan to find out.
In science fiction films, it usually goes quite smoothly and civilized when aliens contact humanity. Unless they plan to wipe out the Earth, that is.
But researchers at the University of St Andrews don’t think it would be quite as sane if aliens were to contact us for real.
Instead, they are convinced that we would behave like headless chickens and have no idea how or what to respond. Or how we should behave.
Therefore, they are now in the process of starting an international center to coordinate research and expertise in the field, write British The Guardian.
– We cannot afford to be ill-prepared, scientifically, socially or politically unguided in the face of something that could happen at any time and that we cannot afford to mishandle, says Dr. John Elliott, linguist at St Andrews University to the newspaper.
No instant chat
In the coming months, Dr. Elliott intends to assemble a core team of international researchers and collaborators to ensure that we are prepared for a possible future visit, including by analyzing mysterious signals and artifacts to determine how we would be able to answer if an alien calls.
– Until now, the focus has been on looking for signals, but all along there has been a need to know what to do with it? What happens next? We need strategies and scenarios to know what to do and how, says Elliott to The Guardian.
But it probably won’t be a quick chat exchange. If there are other life forms, they are almost certainly hundreds or thousands of light-years away, meaning that it may take time for messages to arrive.