Sunday, April 25, 2010

First contact - fear of the aliens returns

The very first time we humans meet an alien race is a dream/nightmare scenario that has been played out many times in books and movies alike. Very existence of alien life forms has been postulated and hypothesized based on probability calculations. Considering the size and content of the universe, it might be expected that life could originate in other parts of the universe. Whether these life forms will just be microbes or intelligent life forms is a totally different possibility.

The scientific community has seen contact with an alien race as a positive thing, going as far as to send out signals into space with directions to our planet. The search for extra terrestrials Intelligence is underway with many different approaches being tried. Benefits of a friendly alien race aside, the possibility of life outside planet earth gives us hope of a second home which we may one day require.

Is it really wise to be doing this? what if the alien race just plunders earths resources? Concerns regarding this have been raised by the cosmologist Stephen Hawking, famous for his book "a brief history of time". Be it microbial or any other form of life we encounter, we may not be ready to face the complications that might arise. New and deadly diseases of alien origin could wipe out the entire planet. So do we just lay low till we are technically more advanced or do we try our luck in finding an alien?

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