Scientists Are Fighting Over Whether We Should Contact Aliens
Nearly seven in 10 Americans believe there's intelligent life out in the universe. But, scientists are split over whether we should try to make contact. One group thinks we should do no more than use the latest technology to keep a close eye on the heavens and listen for telltale signals. Just to be on the safe side, they don't want to tip off any cosmic beings about our existence by intentionally sending out transmissions. If we did make contact, they could pay us a visit and turn out to have more of a "predator" than "howdy partner" disposition. The other faction wants to broadcast messages into space loud and proud, attracting the attention of aliens and then communicating with them.
■Class discussion: Do you think intelligent alien life would be hostile or friendly? Why? Are we likely to make contact with aliens? Do you think it is likely that we could make contact in your lifetime? Would we even be able to understand each other? Much of the light and radio signals we see and hear in the universe are millions of years old. Given the great distances and time periods of the universe, would it be possible for any intelligent life to actually visit us if they discovered we were here? According to Albert Einstein, nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. Do you think humanity will ever travel to another solar system or galaxy? How could we get there?