By Mike Farrell
We should be prepared for contact with aliens, a Scottish-based scientist has argued.
In order to cope with any interaction with extraterrestrial life forms, the researcher has argued that the United Nations (UN) must set up a branch to deal with any alien encounters.
The comments are part of an extraterrestrial-themed edition of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A.
In it, scientists examine all aspects of the search for extraterrestrial life, from astronomy and biology to the political and religious fall-out that would result from alien contact.
Dr Martin Dominik of St Andrews University is joined by Professor John Zarnecki of the Open University in arguing for world nations putting “supra-Earth affairs” on the agenda.
Their report states: “Astronomers are now able to detect planets orbiting stars other than the Sun where life may exist, and living generations could see the signatures of extra-terrestrial life being detected.
“Should it turn out that we are not alone in the Universe, it will fundamentally affect how humanity understands itself—and we need to be prepared for the consequences.”
The UN has already established a similar forum for preparing for alien encounters in its Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (Copuos), the scientists argue.