Should We Be Trying to Make Contact with Extraterrestrials?

By Darren Orf on at

Today's solar eclipse was a monumental event; a rare occurrence that you either cursed because of cloud cover or marvelled at for its magnificence. For a lot of people, eclipses put their place in space into perspective: a way of visibly knowing that you're on a rock floating through a tiny corner of the universe. Those same thoughts naturally lead to wanting to know more about what – or indeed who – may also be out there.

So, should we Earth-inhabitants be actively seeking out and sending messages to habitable planets in the search for life beyond Earth?

Known as Active Seti (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), some researchers and scientists want to continually broadcast messages to known habitable planets in an effort to reach a new alien species. But many disagree. People like Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk think a more measured and thought out approach makes more sense, and that historically, races of people who have happily greeted newcomers quickly found them to be conquerors.

The idea of Active Seti is to encode messages in powerful radio signals and send endlessly for centuries to solar systems with habitable planets. According to The Guardian, the director of the Seti Institute Seth Shostak wants to just beam the entire contents of the internet, porn and all, to other star systems.

So do you think it's a good idea, or at the very least, should it be something we debate before sending the entire contents of 4chan and PornHub at an unsuspecting civilisation alien civilisation? And if you do think we should send messages, what's the kind of stuff we should be sending? The DNA double helix? Episodes of Porridge? Is any venture like this worth piling millions of pounds into? Express your thoughts below.

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