NASA has proffered guidelines to follow if you are in space and have an encounter with aliens. However, NASA’s guidelines on what to do if you encounter aliens in space are not based on the type of scenario envisaged in popular culture.
According to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, in an interview with IFL Science, NASA probably has no guidelines about what to do if human astronauts encounter “little green men” or humanoid gray aliens with advanced technological civilizations. This is because NASA scientists do not think it is likely that we would encounter advanced life forms similar to us.
But according to Bolden, NASA has guidelines about what to do if we encounter microbial aliens in space.
“We do have guidelines for dealing with microbial life if we find it,” Bolden said. “In fact, we have guidelines that prevent us from, for example, on Mars getting too close to a place that may be a source of living organisms, because we don’t want to contaminate that area.”
In other words, if you are ever in space and chance upon extraterrestrial beings, steer clear of them!
Bolden’s statement that in the view of NASA experts it is unlikely that we would meet advanced intelligent life forms in space would probably shock many UFO enthusiasts and alien conspiracy theorists, who have invested a lot in the belief that the universe is teeming with advanced intelligent life forms and that our world and its skies are swarming with alien UFOs, with scores of authentic sightings on record.
But Bolden did not have to respond to questions of the kind that alien and UFO conspiracy theorists would have loved to ask. UFO enthusiasts would have wanted Bolden to say how the agency explains the scores of allegedly authentic UFO sightings. They would also have wanted to him to answer questions on conspiracy theory allegations that the agency is aware of the existence of UFOs and alien visitors to our world but is keeping the information secret for several reasons.
But airing his views on the question of the existence of extraterrestrial life, Bolden was emphatic that he believes that life could exist elsewhere in the universe but that it is more likely we would encounter microbial aliens in space rather than little green men from Mars flying in saucer-shaped spacecraft.
Bolden noted that scientists have a list of candidate locations for alien life, including the ocean of Europa, Enceladus, and planet Mars.
Skipping over the questions of UFO sightings, IFL asked the NASA chief about his views on Stephen Hawking’s admonition that humanity needs to move out of our planet and colonize other planets.
Ignoring the possibility that we may encounter competition from advanced alien species in space, the NASA chief said he agrees with Stephen Hawking that we ought to focus on efforts to colonize other planets.
“How can anyone disagree with Stephen Hawking! I am, like he, one who believes that the species that will survive forever maybe is a multi-planet species,” he said. “So I agree with him that we need to get off this planet, or at least demonstrate the ability to go out and get off this planet, as does President Obama by the way.”
Interestingly, Stephen Hawking appears to agree with the Bolden that the best policy for human astronauts is to steer clear of aliens.
The famous physicist expressed concern recently that contact with an advanced alien civilization could be disastrous for humans. At a media event promoting Breakthrough Listen — a recently launched effort to search for signs of intelligent extraterrestrial life — Hawking pointed out that human history shows that technologically advanced cultures are likely to harm or even destroy less technologically advanced ones.
“We don’t know much about aliens, but we know about humans,” the physicist said. “If you look at history, contact between humans and less intelligent organisms have often been disastrous from their point of view, and encounters between civilizations with advanced versus primitive technologies have gone badly for the less advanced. A civilization reading one of our messages could be billions of years ahead of us. If so, they will be vastly more powerful, and may not see us as any more valuable than we see bacteria.”
Earlier in 2010, on an episode of Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking, the scientist had voiced fear that danger could be lurking out there in space in the form of advanced nomadic aliens looking for new planets to colonize.
“If aliens visit us, the outcome could be much like when Columbus landed in America, which didn’t turn out well for the Native Americans. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonize whatever planets they could reach,” he said. “If so, it makes sense for them to exploit each new planet for material to build more spaceships so they could move on. Who knows what the limits would be?”
But some scientists have criticized Hawking’s comments as fear-mongering. For instance, astrophysicist Martin Rees once responded to Hawking’s warnings, saying that if alien civilizations more advanced than ours do exist, they probably already know that we are here.
[Photo by Michael Sohn/AP]