Worried about hostile aliens, scientists warn against space messages

A number of Seti figures have proposed to transmit powerful radio messages into space where life may exist

Published: Updated:

A number of scientists have expressed concern about proposals to transmit messages into space, saying that any hostile alien life forms could take advantage of these to the detriment of Earth, the Daily Express newspaper reported.

A number of figures in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (Seti) have recently put forward proposals to transmit powerful radio messages into space where life may exist, the daily said.

Researchers hope the method – an active form of search known as Messages to Extraterrestrial Intelligence (Meti) that will be deployed to Earth-like planets – will increase the chances of alien contact with Earth.

However, some critics have suggested the proposals are premature and could pose a danger to humans.

David Brin, a space scientist and author, said: “A small cadre of Seti radio astronomers has resisted the notion of international consultation before humanity takes the brash and irreversible step into Meti, shouting our presence into the cosmos.

“That’s all very well if the only one you’re putting at risk is yourself. But when that risk is imposed upon our children and all of humanity on the planet, is it too much to ask that we discuss it first?” he asked.

In 2010, Britain’s Professor Stephen Hawking warned that aliens could exploit our resources.

“If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when [Christopher] Columbus landed in America, which didn’t turn out well for the Native Americans,” he said.

Dr. Shostak of Seti has brushed aside scientists’ concerns, saying it is “too late to worry” about provoking extraterrestrials.

“Any alien society that is advanced enough to launch an attack and vaporize Swindon can easily pick up the broadcasts we’ve been sending into space since World War II.”

Dr. Douglas Vokoch, also from Seti, also argued for sending the messages.

“With recent detection of Earth-like planets in the habitable zones of other stars, we have natural targets for such transmission projects,” he said.

“Some would argue that we should avoid powerful transmissions at all costs for fear of an alien invasion.

“If this mindset became entrenched, it would signal a guarded vision for humankind as isolationist, avoiding exploration, trying to minimize risk at any cost.”