Posts Tagged ‘Intelligent civilisations’

What to do if we find alien life

“Some have argued that it’s only a matter of time till we find alien life – so we should get planning” writes Duncan Forgan in his article titled “What to do you if you discover an alien civilization” published in The Independent.

Indeed, what should we do?

In 1989, a committee of SETI scientists even drew up a set of post-detection protocols to guide scientists through the steps after discovery. These steps include getting your colleagues to verify the discovery, and notifying “relevant national authorities” (precisely who this means is unclear to me), followed by the scientific community and then the public via a press release.

However all these rules were formulated before the era of total internet communications. That is why Duncan Forgan and his colleague Alexander Scholz decided to take another look at the issue, asking how the SETI post-detection protocols should change to reflect our super-connected world.

Duncan Forgan’s postdoctoral position at the University of St Andrews is funded by the European Research Council. He is a member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s Young Academy of Scotland, and a founding member of the UK SETI Research Network.