Do you believe in UFOs? Are we alone in the universe? A new survey shows nearly half (50%) of Americans believe in aliens. Less than 20% believe in alien abduction, and a bit less than that claim to have seen a UFO. Many feel that talk of UFOs is mere folklore. The stigma against research into extraterrestrial lifeforms could be pushing some of the sharpest minds out of the field. The search for extraterrestrial research is dismissed and associated with conspiracy theories, especially after recent high-profile stories about area 51, or the newly-rewritten military guidelines for UFO sightings. If the US military is interested in UFOs it must be true, correct? Still, there are scientific studies and efforts being made in the search for extraterrestrial life. Here is a good link that keeps tabs on these research efforts. Another that tracks UFOs.
The search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) is a collective term for scientific searches for intelligent extraterrestrial life. The scientific investigation began shortly after the advent of radio in the early 1900s, and focused international efforts have been going on since the 1980s. In 1980, Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray, and Louis Friedman founded the U.S. Planetary Society, partly as a vehicle for SETI studies. In 2015, Stephen Hawking and Russian billionaire Yuri Milner announced a well-funded effort called Breakthrough Listen. Clearly, the subject has drawn much interest, and yes, more importantly, funding.
So what happens if we find these extraterrestrials? In the age of fake news, researchers worry conspiracy theories would abound before we could figure out how, or if, to reply to an alien message. This is a big deal because, as Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk have warned, communicating with extraterrestrials could pose a catastrophic risk to humanity. In fact, if we send out a message and it’s received by less-than-friendly aliens, that could pose an existential threat not only to the human species but to every species on Earth.
News Forecasters asks, will we find extraterrestrial life somewhere out in the universe? I know this subject always draws on human imagination. Who doesn’t like a good UFO story? To date we have no scientifically confirmed, voices from the stars or have been visited by extraterrestrials. Here is the reality:
- Presumably, there are other world’s that are easily 1, 5, 10 million years in advance of our evolutionary civilization. If it was possible to communicate or travel to us, it already would have been done – unless you think they have watched TV’s Star Trek too, and are abiding by the “Prime Directive.” Would another 100 years make a difference?
- From point one, it is possible that we are the first civilization in all the millions and millions of possibilities in the universe that have advanced to our level after all there did have to be a first. But this is quite hubris thinking.
- Perhaps it is just technically insurmountable to either communicate or travel to other world’s. In other words, they may exist, but we will never know.
- With all the extraterrestrials whizzing by us in the universe for the past thousands of years, we are simply just too distant, small or insignificant to notice. But again, would another 100 years make a difference? However, on this particular point, one may have an argument. It has been in fact only about 100 years since we have been emitting signals (radio) that might draw attention to these extraterrestrials. But then this will assume their antennas have very “specifically tuned” (for 100 years) poor capabilities.
So “effectively” we most likely are alone in the universe. SETI is largely a waste of time and resources. But why not, it creates jobs and can inspire great movies – we don’t want to be a “Debbie Downer.” Have fun looking.
A video presentation of this subject: