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Hollywood gets it wrong! What First Contact with Aliens REALLY be like

What would First Contact with extraterrestrials really look like? Would meeting aliens be anything like we see in the movies? From a scientific perspective—is there life in outer space? If life can thrive here on Earth for billions of years, there’s no reason to think it can’t thrive elsewhere. Four of the top six elements in the universe are found in your body. Hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen. Most scientists think there probably is life elsewhere. The big question is whether there is any technologically intelligent life elsewhere.

What about all the UFO sightings and recent videos from the US military? No, first contact is not likely to occur with grainy pictures and ambiguous data like this. These are simply either unidentified flying objects, or Unidentified Aerial Phenomena. When we can’t explain something, we shouldn’t jump to wild speculation. Extraordinary conclusions without extraordinary evidence doesn’t make for good science.

First contact would likely occur four different ways:

1. First Detection
2. First Conversation or exchanging of messages
3. Intellectual First Contact, being the exchange of ideas, cultures, and samples
4. Physical/Biological First Contact, meaning interactions with aliens

Our first and most likely point of contact is going to come from detecting extraterrestrial life on a planet around another star for example by the James Webb telescope. It may be able to see the biosignature gases that could only come from life, such as ammonia , nitrous oxide and oxygen.

The next type of First Contact is communication—exchanging messages. And this may have already happened, or at least, it’s underway. It will take twelve and a half years for our messages to reach Luyten’s Star, which appears to have a habitable super earth around it. If they decide to reply, we won’t get their message until around 2042.

Third form of First Contact is intellectual contact—which is the exchanging of ideas, not just long-distance messages.
Their language could be something very different than just sounds and symbols like we have. The medium would probably be electromagnetic radiation like radio waves because of its infinite reach, maximum speed, and it’s everywhere.

When it comes to physical contact, this will probably be the last form of contact to occur. Stephen Hawking wasn’t confident it would be a good idea because they might kill us. I’m more optimistic. Any alien civilization that can traverse the stars is probably not going to plunder Earth for its resources. The 5 biggest resources we have are water, oil, coal, forests, and iron.

There’s more water on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn than there is on Earth. Do you really think aliens, perhaps thousands of years more technologically advanced than us need our oil or coal? We probably will not need them in a hundred years. Would they want to plunder our forests for trees – Why not just take all they seeds they want. Iron is all over the universe – there is more of it on Mars’ surface than on earth’s. There is no unique element on earth that they couldn’t get on other lifeless planets elsewhere in our or other solar systems.

So would First Contact ever occur in person? Yes, for one very good reason – Life! They’ll be like Charles Darwin sailing to the Galapagos to see exotic new creatures. They’ll want to know how life evolved here. Far from being mysterious, they may be able to teach us about their world and all they’ve seen throughout the universe. There’s much we could learn from them. They may have solved mysteries such as dark matter, dark energy, quantum gravity.

Now, when it comes to physical, biological contact, we do need to be careful of foreign microbes that could kill us, or our microbes could kill them. H.G. Wells novel War of the Worlds played on this point, with the Martians being killed not by our bullets or bombs, but by our microbes.

First contact might call into question the uniqueness of humans as laid out in many of our philosophies, and religions. It might hurt our egos. The universe would no longer be so anthropocentric. This is not so bad.

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