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Contacting Aliens Spells Doom for Humans?
UFO Depiction
Published: 1:06 PM 6/21/2013

Some scientists warn of potentially dangerous consequences if humans try to contact alien cultures, but others are undaunted.

For decades, scientific communities across the planet have been deeply engaged in SETI – the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence — by scanning “space noise” for viable signals that would indicate we are not alone as advanced beings in the cosmos.

With this week's launch of The Lone Signal project, the tables are turned, and earthlings are now sending messages out into the universe. Known as METI, or messaging to extra-terrestrial intelligence, Lone Signal is crowd-sourcing messages to beam out to the relatively nearby Gliese 526 solar system.

Although scientists are part of Lone Signal, others have concerns about the project.

Noted science fiction writer and astrophysicist David Brin has expressed grave misgivings in a blog post that says the planet has not come to an agreement or created a protocol on what should be ported out to the great beyond.

Brin says most species invest a lot in protecting themselves from exposure to others to avoid being colonized, enslaved or even driven to extinction due to the unforeseen consequences of contact.

Sending messages with no cohesive agreement on content comes down to "hubris," he says, and is foolhardy.

Physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking has said that aliens almost definitely exist, but we shouldn't try to get in touch. He says that we have yet to evolve enough to handle an interaction with another sentient, but likely more advanced species.

"If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn't turn out well for the Native Americans," Hawking told the BBC in 2010.

He said aliens may just mine Earth for resources and move on, leaving humanity in a tough spot.

The Daily Galaxy blog theorized this month that trying to contact extraterrestrial life could be so dangerous it could even "extinguish" our species. It suggested that intelligent species may intentionally mask their signals so other forms of life in the universe won’t be able to find them.

A cautionary tale for humans indeed.

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