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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Dec > Dec 17

Don't Call The Aliens They Might Not Be Friendly

From: UFO UpDates - Toronto <ufoupdates.nul>
Date: Mon, 17 Dec 2007 07:45:23 -0500
Archived: Mon, 17 Dec 2007 07:45:23 -0500
Subject: Don't Call The Aliens They Might Not Be Friendly

Source: The Sunday Times - London, UK


December 16, 2007

Don't Call The Aliens They Might Not Be Friendly
Tony Allen-Mills in New York

For decades it has been staple of science fiction somewhere
out in the galaxy, highly developed alien race picks up radio
signal from Earth, and decides to eat us for lunch.

In a world plagued by war, hunger and disease, possible attack
by little green men may not rank high among most nations'
concerns. Yet for small group of scientists who are harnessing
increasingly powerful technologies in trans-galactic search
for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence, the prospect of
catastrophe has stirred an angry debate.

Two senior scientists have resigned from an elite international
study group in protest over lack of public discussion about
the possible consequences of attracting the attention of aliens
by sending signals deep into space.

"We're talking about initiating communication with other
civilisations, but we know nothing of their goals, capabilities
or intent," warned John Billingham, former Nasa scientist who
has quit an extraterrestrial study group set up by the
International Academy of Astronautics (IAA).

The scientists involved are all acutely aware of the dangers of
ridicule in their discussions of ET and his more sinister
cousins. Yet recent advances in radio telescope technologies,
and substantial flow of private funding into ET-related
projects, has transformed the "search for extraterrestrial
intelligence" (Seti).

In California last October, astronomers switched on the first
elements of giant new array of radio telescopes that will
vastly extend the sweep of signals into outer space. Known as
the Allen Telescope Array, it was built with the help of $25m
(=A312.3m) donation from Paul Allen, the billionaire co-founder of
Microsoft, and is joint project of the Radio Astronomy
Laboratory of the University of California at Berkeley, and the
Seti Institute, America's foremost centre of ET research.

"I like to call Seti the longest of long shots," Allen said when
the telescopes were commissioned. "But if this array picks up a
signal, that would be an amazing thing a civilisation-changing

Yet critics argue that listening for signals and actively
seeking out alien life are very different pursuits. At the
Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow, Alexander Zaitsev, chief
scientist at the Institute of Radio Engineering and Electronics,
has been using 70-metre-wide radio telescope in the Crimea to
beam signals to nearby star systems a practice known as
"active Seti".

It is the steady shift from listening to transmitting that has
divided the Seti community and raised awkward questions that no
one has yet been able to answer. Who will speak for Earth if an
alien civilisation replies? And are we really in danger of
inviting Armageddon? Sir Bernard Lovell, the British founder of
Jodrell Bank, once remarked that it was "dangerous assumption"
that any alien life would turn out to be friendly.

If an alien fleet mobilises against us, Allen should be one of
the first to know. "If they do find something, they're going to
call me up and say we have signal," he said. "So far the phone
hasn't rung."

Yet the question of whether we should go actively looking for
ETs still needs to be debated, insists Michael Michaud, former
US State Department official who has also resigned from the IAA
study group. Michaud is alarmed by his colleagues' reluctance to
halt transmissions pending consideration of the possible

[Thanks to Stuart Miller of http://uforeview.net/ for the lead]

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