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How would the public react if SETI found evidence of alien life?

May 21, 2012Comments 2 comments

Interesting interview with Seth Shostak, senior astronomer at the SETI Institute:

I’m interested to know how the news of alien life – be it of vast intellect (hopefully not “intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic”) or simply microbial – would be greeted on Earth, and whether this would provoke some great existential change. Seth thinks that unlikely.

“In a sense we’ve run that experiment. In 1996 there was an announcement by Nasa that they had found dead microbes in a meteorite that had come from Mars. No doubt it had come from Mars; the doubt was whether these were really microbes of course but, at least for the couple of days of that story, the assumption was: Nasa is announcing this, these are reputable scientists.”

Of course we know how that turned out, but as Seth points out: “It was the biggest science story of the year – people didn’t riot in the streets. Nor did peace and brotherhood break out.”

Read the whole interview here.

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  1. If there were any intelligent “alien life” discovered, I would bet that it would be kept quiet. Anything based on religion would fall. Governments would have uprisings because most laws would then seem irrelevant. The only way it would be public is if the aliens would be seen by masses. Or you would have those”crazies” that have been abducted that nobody believes. I hope we find something in my life time. It would be ignorant to say that we as humans are the only life in this vast universe. If there was life else where I doubt it would be hominoid. We evolved into what we are by the trials and tribulations we had to endure on this planet as a species. On one planet there could still be microbes that have never had to evolve. On another planet there’s dinosaurs as supreme beings because no meteor fell. If the planet was bigger there’s more gravity so bigger stronger life forms. Smaller planets mean smaller life. It’s not impossible to have life live on other materials we live on oxygen and water. Other planets have different chemical compositions Si different ways of life. People are expecting other humans to be discovered on other planets. it’s not impossible I just think it won’t be what people are expecting

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