Sign In

Communications of the ACM

ACM News

Is Sending Signals to Aliens Really a Good Idea?

View as: Print Mobile App Share:
Astronomer Mike Brown

Astronomer Mike Brown (pointing to Pluto and other dwarf planets in the Kuiper belt) was a leader in declassifing Pluto as a planet.

Jim Gensheimer / Mercury News

If we are not alone in the universe, then—considering what happened to the Indians after Columbus landed in America—shouldn't we be keeping a pretty low profile?

That's one of the burning questions in the current scientific search for intelligent extraterrestrial life. The question was debated in front of an enthusiastic crowd of scientists, teachers and amateurs at a SETI Institute conference in Santa Clara over the weekend.

SETI, the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence, is an organization based in Mountain View, dedicated to leading and enhancing the growing effort to scour the stars for signs that something else living is out there. SETI hopes the conference will become an annual event.

Most agree that the search for intelligent life is a smart idea, which may—if it pays off—revolutionize our existence. But some believe that sending signals and information into space about ourselves, without thoughtfully considering who might be listening, may be an idea that could potentially end our existence.

From San Jose Mercury News
View Full Article


No entries found