What would be the significance of discovering them ?

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One of the most fundamental questions in science: Does life exist on other worlds?


The 'Wow!' Signal

What is the probability of extra-terrestrial life in the universe ?

Where and How should we Look ?

How would we communicate with them ?

What would be the significance of discovering them ?

What would be the significance of discovering them ?

Who are we? Where did we come from? Knowing our roots is important. Whether it's asked from a personal point of view as in ones family origin, or whether it's asked from the point of view as we as a nation (what ever nationality you might be). Who were our ancestors, who are we as a people? Bookshops are filled with information regarding the birth, development, heritage and history of nations. These are rightly considered important questions. Human curiosity demands answers. And taking it a further step (or two), the search for the origins of life on our planet must surely be the most important of these questions. And intrinsically linked to this is the search for life elsewhere. And if we can discover the abundance or lack of life in the cosmos then this will assist us in discovering our own ultimate origins and consequently who we are.

Discovering an alien race or a verifiable signal would have massive implications socially, culturally and spiritually for all mankind. Having cosmic neighbours, wow! Even if we just discover simple life forms, wow! It would have a profound impact on our identity. All of a sudden there is a bigger and much broader picture. We would have to rethink our place in the universe. Would it change our attitude to ourselves or others, would we have more respect for each other and our planet?

Each religion would have to re-interpret their sacred books. Maybe they should start now. Because someday in the not too distant future the payoff will come for the Scientists at SETI who have dedicated their lives to making the first contact. The true picture of the cosmic abundance of life will soon emerge.

Would we try and communicate with them? Should we try and communicate with them? How technologically and scientifically advanced would they be? Could we determine that from their signal? What values would they have? It would inevitably make us question our own earthly values. If they were more advanced than us then could we learn from them in ways that would benefit our lives. Imagine if they could solve our energy crises, our poverty crises, our health problems. Imagine if they could help us to live in peace on planet Earth and learn how to progress without destroying each other, the environment and all the other life we share this planet with. Imagine....