Are Scientists Prepping For Humankind’s First Extraterrestrial Contact?

Scientists Prepping For Humankind’s First Extraterrestrial Contact

Scientists have been on the lookout for extraterrestrial life for decades, but haven’t struck gold with their research until now. But that doesn’t stop them from preparing for it. Now, the University of St. Andrews in Scotland has announced it will put together a team of bright minds and prepare for the day when humanity makes first contact with the aliens.


Experts will be meeting at the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Post Detection-Hub to come up with a way to respond to extraterrestrial civilization — if they ever try to contact humans or vice versa.

A New Message For Intelligent Alien Life

"We need to go beyond thinking about the impact on humanity," said John Elliott, coordinator of the hub at the University of St Andrews. "We need to coordinate our expert knowledge not only for assessing the evidence but also for considering the human social response, as our understanding progresses and what we know and what we don’t know is communicated."

Previously, NASA researchers updated a new message that will be sent out to potential intelligent life in the universe. But there’s no plan for what will be done if we get a reply. That’s where the new Scottish hub comes in. The whole purpose of the project is to fill a policy gap by putting procedures in place in case humans make their first contact with aliens.

Currently, the only commonly agreed-upon rules are set by the SETI community. These rules have been laid out in the institute’s "Declaration of Principles Concerning the Conduct of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence."

Are New Rules Required?

The rules set by the SETI community are pretty vague. The SETI Post-Detection Hub wants to alter them and expand upon them remarkably. "Will we ever get a message from ET?" Elliot said. "We don’t know."

"But we do know that we cannot afford to be ill-prepared — scientifically, socially, and politically rudderless — for an event that could turn into reality as early as tomorrow and which we cannot afford to mismanage," Elliot added.

Using Laughing Gas To Find Aliens

Some astronomers believe it would be easy to find nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, on other planets out there. Their study suggests that habitable exoplanets that have nitrous oxide in their atmospheres could be observed closely using advanced tech such as the James Webb Space Telescope.

The scientists believe finding nitrous oxide on other planets can be considered a biosignature for future research and could broaden their horizon in the hunt for alien life.

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