From The Guardian:
NASA Paper Speculates On Alien Contact—Here's Your Guide to Surviving the Alien Invasion
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Scientists from NASA's Planetary Science Division & Penn State University have authored a report (pdf) that analyzes various " First Contact " scenarios with an intelligent alien species. The report goes through various approaches to Fermi's Paradox, interstellar communication, the possible effects to Earth & humanity, as well as the possible reaction of an alien civilization to human societies
The paper is highly speculative, and there's no sign that there's any threat from a fleet of Klingon Battle Cruisers appearing in orbit anytime soon ( although, according to Paul Krugman an Ozymandias Plan might actually help us get out of the economic slump ).
So I thought I might have some late-night fun & go through some of the paper's arguments while mixing it with some of the better known TV shows, video games & movies in science fiction.
It may not rank as the most compelling reason to curb greenhouse gases, but reducing our emissions might just save humanity from a pre-emptive alien attack, scientists claim.
Watching from afar, extraterrestrial beings might view changes in Earth's atmosphere as symptomatic of a civilisation growing out of control – and take drastic action to keep us from becoming a more serious threat, the researchers explain.
This highly speculative scenario is one of several described by scientists at Nasa and Pennsylvania State University that, while considered unlikely, they say could play out were humans and alien life to make contact at some point in the future.
The paper goes through various hypothetical answers to Fermi's Paradox. ( i.e. "the apparent contradiction between high estimates of the probability for the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations and the lack of evidence for, or contact with, such civilizations." )
- Option 1 - Life &/or Intelligent life are rare in the universe, and Earth & humanity are one of very few places it exists. There are too few intelligent species, spread too far apart across the galaxy & universe, for contact to ever occur.
- Option 2 - The " sustainability solution" (pdf); as a basic concept of biology, exponential growth with limited resource is ultimately unsustainable for a species. The sustainability solution argues that even if a group of alien species in our part of the galactic neighborhood had a 10,000, 50,000 or 100,000 year " head start " on humanity, that would still be no guarantee that they're in a position to contact/be detected by Earth, since a) they may have attempted to expand & their society collapsed due to a lack of resources to sustain themselves or b) they may be advancing, but at a much slower rate in order to exist.
- Option 3 - There are many alien species, and we are either unable to detect them or some of them choose not to be detected ( aka the Zoo Hypothesis).
"As the right of each sentient species to live in accordance with its normal cultural evolution is considered sacred, no Starfleet personnel may interfere with the healthy development of alien life and culture. Such interference includes the introduction of superior knowledge, strength, or technology to a world whose society is incapable of handling such advantages wisely. "
— Starfleet's General Order no. 1 (aka The Prime Directive from "Star Trek")
Even if intelligent aliens exist somewhere nearby, that's still no guarantee we would understand each other if we detected each other. Plus they would probably need very large rabbit ears to pick up our TV signals, since they're diffuse and not targeted at any particular star system.