Depending on who you talk to, some think it's possible mankind will come in contact with extraterrestrial life within the next century. Then there are others who think alien life has already been here in some shape, way, or form — after all, the United States government recently confirmed the authenticity of UFO footage captured by the Navy. Then there's Harvard Professor Avi Loeb, the decorated theoretical physicist who thinks aliens may have visited Earth in 2017.
After Loeb went viral for his previous comments, he has now penned an essay on what we, as mankind, should do if aliens ever appear on Earth. Step one? Interestingly enough, Loeb says in his new piece — published by Scientific American — that our first step would be to determine exactly what we want do. That makes sense, right?
"Clearly, interstellar affairs are not an imminent policy concern for any nation at this moment, so there is no international protocol issued by the United Nations for what to do," Loeb writes. "We should keep in mind that within a million years, humans might reside on the moon, Mars or free-floating space platforms, and each community might choose to respond differently. It is premature to contemplate a global policy long before it is required."
Okay, so let's say the United Nations comes up with a plan to communicate with those not from this planet. Perhaps the international organization has gotten in contact with the Galactic Federation for an initial chat — then what? Loeb says we'll need to invest "major funds" into the further research of extraterrestrial life and be proactive about it.
"It would be most appropriate to allocate taxpayer funds to the search for our cosmic neighbors, given the major impact that such a discovery would have on society—far exceeding the implication of discovering gravitational waves," the physicist adds.
More money would certainly solve problems — but what does Loeb think that increase funding should be used for? Perhaps finally getting our hands on a piece of alien technology, even though it might be too shocking for most to comprehend.
"Putting our hands on a piece of alien technology would change the way we perceive our place in the universe, our aspirations for space and our philosophical and theological beliefs," Loeb writes. "Our psychological shock would resemble the one encountered by my daughters when they met kids smarter than they were on their first day in the kindergarten."
Say we don't decide to increase funding, which could open up a whole new world of capabilities, then what?
They'll find us first.
"The possible existence of ETs will not go away if we ignore them, just like the Earth continued to move around the sun after religious authorities refused to look through Galileo's telescope," Loeb concludes. "The dinosaurs dominated the planet for many millions of years, but their reign was abruptly ended 66 million years ago, when the giant Chicxulub rock showed up on the sky, on a collision course with Earth."
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