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Expert warns against replying to ET signals

Posted on Saturday, 25 July, 2015 | Comment icon 80 comments

CSIRO's Parkes Radio Telescope in Australia. Image Credit: CC BY 3.0 CSIRO
Professor Matthew Bailes has advised against attempting to correspond with an extraterrestrial race.
Last week Professor Stephen Hawking and a number of other prominent scientists announced the launch of a new $100 million initiative designed to find evidence of intelligent extraterrestrial life.

The endeavor will be one of the most thorough and extensive ever undertaken and will focus on picking up signs of radio signals that might have been sent by someone else out in space.

While listening for alien messages could help us learn more about our place in the universe however not everyone believes that attempting to communicate with aliens would be in our best interests.

Matthew Bailes of Swinburne University in Melbourne, who is himself in charge of the initiative's efforts to find signs of life on other planets, maintains that establishing communications with an alien race capable of sending signals over vast distances could potentially lead humanity to ruin.

"The history of weak civilizations contacting more advanced civilizations is not a happy one," he said.

His sentiments echo those of researchers and scientists who signed a petition earlier this year to warn that intelligent extraterrestrials are just as likely to be hostile as they are to be peaceful.

To search for a signal Professor Bailes and his team will be using the Parkes radio telescope in what has been described as a "Silicon Valley approach to the search for intelligent life."

"The difficulty is to know what sort of signal we are looking for," he said. "There is no manual on how to find aliens. We'll have to imagine the sort of transmissions an alien race might send."

"The signal is likely to be quite feeble after coming vast distances. We'll need to be looking for advanced civilisations that have significantly more transmission grunt than we are capable of."

Source: Independent | Comments (80)

Tags: Extraterrestrial, Life

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #71 Posted by Hammerclaw on 3 September, 2015, 1:24
Neither the Aborigines, nor the Indians, nor the Aztecs worried that "aliens" would some day come across the vast ocean to conquer them... ...until, ifcourse Columbus and Capt.Cook and the Pilgrims did come. There must be a lesson here somewhere. Aliens are Europeans?
Comment icon #72 Posted by Frank Merton on 3 September, 2015, 1:29
Yes I would fear replying to a clear alien signal, not that I think it is probably hostile but because there is a small chance it might be, and we have got to be at the very bottom of the technology level (assuming they exist).
Comment icon #73 Posted by Hammerclaw on 3 September, 2015, 1:43
Most scenarios for alien invasion are pretty infantile. A species that has mastered interstellar travel most likely would covet nothing we could supply,.... except the planet itself. Who knows? Maybe there are species who feel it their manifest destiny to plant breeding colonies on any rock that could sustain their form of life. Yes, best to tread softly, lest we wake the dragon.
Comment icon #74 Posted by Somethings Not Right on 3 September, 2015, 20:25
We should greet ET with a nuclear war head in my expert opinion. I take it that was tounge in cheek.. If not you've got your head expertly stuck up your own ass!
Comment icon #75 Posted by Somethings Not Right on 3 September, 2015, 20:47
But the Wow! signal is still in question if yes or not. I reckon the wow signal is what they said it might have been at the time.. A fault in the system.
Comment icon #76 Posted by Somethings Not Right on 3 September, 2015, 21:00
I totally agree with that. I don't want to get too personal about this, but my father who fought in WW2 said that the bravest men he ever met were the conscientious objectors who carried stretchers and so on but would not take up arms. They stood up against the government who tried to make them do things the didn't agree with. I don't want to too personal either but.. Once I would have fought for my country too but ideologies change. Now I'm older & wiser I would never fight for England. I mean, ultimately I would be fighting for a government that clearly has no respect for its citizens, v... [More]
Comment icon #77 Posted by Somethings Not Right on 3 September, 2015, 21:08
I am surprised how many forum unbelievers (in aliens) are sticking up for a safe entry and red carpet for ...something that does not exist... If people knew the nature, laws and conditions of life in the universe, they would certainly not be conjecturing about alien contact with earth, let alone visitations. This earth is not a place to visit, it is physically and morally contaminated, something which other planets cannot afford to have without introducing the reign of death. Meanwhile the world is ready to open the doors to the deceptive and supernatural works of its resident Destroyer...what... [More]
Comment icon #78 Posted by taniwha on 3 September, 2015, 22:02
I take it that was tounge in cheek.. If not you've got your head expertly stuck up your own ass! From now on do me a favour and kindly keep your mind off my ass.... Thank you.
Comment icon #79 Posted by Gomar on 22 September, 2015, 0:18
Aliens are Europeans? No, but Europeans were aliens to the natives of North&South America, Africa, Australia, etc. But, heck if you don't think there is something alien about tall, white, blonde, blue eyed people well then...
Comment icon #80 Posted by Matt Vinyl on 23 September, 2015, 22:35
Yes I would fear replying to a clear alien signal, not that I think it is probably hostile but because there is a small chance it might be, and we have got to be at the very bottom of the technology level (assuming they exist). As much as it is wrong to think that we are the centre of the universe (or the 'pinnacle' of what we term life), should we always think that we will be the least advanced of any / all existing* civilisations? Even if there are older civilisations than us, is the concensus that technological advancement is always linear? Just interested in why this is generally assumed (... [More]

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