Alien invasion: should Earthlings try to find them before they ...

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Alien invasion: should Earthlings try to find them before they find us?

As technology brings us ever closer to contact with extraterrestrial civilisations, debate on how to go about it mounts

Mark Buchanan

If humanity ever receives authentic signals from an alien civilisation, should it respond? The question is not too preposterous to consider.

The U.S. government is expected to soon publish a report revealing what several of its entities, including the Central Intelligence Agency, know about “unexplained aerial phenomena” — that is, UFO sightings made over several decades by military personnel and others.

If alien civilisations exist, the chances we’ll make contact, however small, are probably growing faster than ever before given advances in our ability to study planets orbiting other star systems, and to search with telescopes for signals indicating intelligent life. So far, nearly every such signal detected — mostly by research supported by the SETI Institute in California — has eventually been traced back to our own satellites or interference coming from other human activity. But one day — next week, in a century, maybe longer — that may change...

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