The folks at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute, or SETI, in Mountain View, Calif., want to make sure we earthlings are prepared for a conversation with extraterrestrials. The group, which is dedicated to searching space for signs of life, recently began searching 10 billion channels using radio telescopes to give us a chance to communicate with beings on other planets.
The next step, of course, is to figure out what to say. The institute has given the public the chance to chime in on this issue through the Earth Project, which asks space enthusiasts how we should converse with aliens.
Some of the suggestions so far:
“This is Earth speaking. We would like to know you. Please reply.”
“Down here we are all confused.”
“Don’t kidnap us and poke us. We hate that.”
Some contributors think we should keep our mouths shut: “If we discover intelligent life beyond Earth, we should not reply—we should freeze and play dead.”
SETI’s director recommended that rather than initiating a conversation, we listen first and reply later. That’s because other intelligent beings likely have been around way longer than we have, considering the galaxy is billions of years old, and that could make us vulnerable to alien attack.
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Image: flickr / joka2000