By Michael Michaud
This publication describes a wide selection of speculations through many authors concerning the effects for humanity of getting into touch with extraterrestrial intelligence. The assumptions underlying these speculations are tested, and a few conclusions are drawn. As beneficial history, the e-book additionally comprises short summaries of the historical past of considering extraterrestrial intelligence, searches for all times and for signs, contrasting paradigms of ways touch could ensue, and the anomaly that these paradigms allegedly create.
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A signiﬁcant program with substantial potential secondary beneﬁts could be undertaken with only modest resources; large systems of great capability could be built if needed. Such a search was intrinsically an international endeavor in which the United States could take a lead. This report coined the term SETI—the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence—distinguishing that effort from communication with such intelligence (CETI). As we will see, that distinction remains an issue within today’s debate.
Expansion and Skepticism 23 Conditions on the other planets of our solar system proved to be even harsher than on Mars. The attractive vision of Venus as a younger, more tropical Earth faded away as that planet’s blistering heat was revealed; by 1958, observers were reporting a surface temperature of 600 degrees. Thwarted hopes for ﬁ nding intelligence beyond Earth were kept alive in science ﬁction. 61 Skeptics had their say. “It is to be regretted,” said astronomer James Keeler, “that the habitability of the planets, a subject of which astronomers profess to know little, has been a chosen theme for exploitation by the romancer.
There’s just no doubt that some of the amino acids survive the impacts,” said biochemist David Deamer. 22 Hoyle and Wickramasinghe argued in a series of books that life on Earth stemmed from a piecing together of prebiotic molecules from outer space. Instead of being the biological center of the Universe, our planet is just an assembly station; no great innovation in biology ever happened here. Even viruses and bacteria that cause disease may come from beyond the Earth. “Attacks of a viral disease represent the ﬁ nal stage in an attempted matching process,” they claimed, “a process that, in the minority of cases where it succeeds, is responsible for directing the evolution of species.