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article imageScientists at U.S. conference say time to contact Aliens

By Marcus Hondro     Feb 12, 2015 in Science
A scientist from the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence Institute told a meeting of the American Assoc. for the Advancement of Science that the time has come to contact extraterrestrials. It sparked a debate at Thursday's meeting in San Jose.
Scientists at the Seti institute have been listening for signals from outer space for 30 years and have a bank of radio telescopes set up in Hat Creek, California. They haven't heard anything yet and think it's time for Earthlings to encourage aliens to contact us.
Dr Seth Shostak from Seti wants us to be pro-active. "Some of us at the institute are interested in 'active Seti,'" Dr. Shostak told the BBC.
"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."
One issue that came up at the meeting was the danger of doing so but Dr. Shostak has given that some thought. He acknowledged in his talk with the BBC that it's a possibility that the result of contacting aliens could be a less-than-desirable one.
"A lot of people are against active Seti because it is dangerous," he said. "It is like shouting in the jungle. You don't know what is out there; you better not do it. If you incite the aliens to obliterate the planet, you wouldn't want that on your tombstone, right?"
His belief is that there would not be a reason for us to be obliterated by extraterrestrials and he says they already know about us anyhow. They've had the chance to do so and haven't, he said, so why would they bother if we sent out a few signals saying 'hey there, hi, what up?'
"We have been telling them willy-nilly that we are here for 70 years now," he notes. "They are not very interesting messages but the early TV broadcasts, the early radio, the radar from the Second World War, all that has leaked off the Earth. Any society that could come here and ruin our whole day by incinerating the planet already knows we are here."
Doubtless Dr. Shostak is happy that when the conference in San Jose is over a group of astronomers, social scientists and other scientists will hold a symposium to discuss what messages they might send out, how best to send them and how best to convince the public and those in political office it's a good idea.
More about contact aliens, Extraterrestrials, Seti
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