The Outcome of Finding Extra Terrestrial Life Video

Meet Dr. Paul Davies, chair of the Post Detection Science and Technology Task Group of the International Academy of Astronautics, who discusses the next step to finding intelligent life in the universe. Part 5/5.
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MaryLynn: With the help of many universities, research and volunteers, SETI has an enormous task before it. It even uses internet connective personal computers in the SETI at home experiment in order to analyze radio telescope data. One critical question that needs to be answered is, what if we find and intelligence which is trying to contact us? What should be the next step? Male: The SETI institute in California is one of the leaders in that field and they’ve used radio telescopes in Australia, and Puerto Rico, and in United States for targeting likely stars in our neighborhood of the galaxy, within the region of few hundred light-years. They haven't found anything yet, but they're still trying. Now, my particular committee, the SETI post detection committee, which I chair, has the responsibility of considering how should we respond if next week, say, a radio astronomer does pick up a signal and it’s clear that this comes from some sort of civilization beyond Earth. What do we do? How do we announce it? Who gets to know? Who gets to formulate a response? Should we respond at all? How will it affect society? How will it affect the world religions? Once the news was disseminated. These are fascinating questions. MaryLynn: Although it is highly improbable that something like this will happen in the near future, discussing these topics is important. Male: But I think it’s very good that we think about these things, because trying to understand whether or not we're alone in the universe is really a search, not for extraterrestrial intelligence, it’s a search for ourselves. Who are we? And how do we fit in to the great cosmic scheme of things? Are we really alone? In which case, we better take better care of our planet. Or do we share the galaxy and the universe beyond with the myriad different creatures, some of them are intelligent. Many of whom maybe very far and advance than us ethically, scientifically, and technologically. So it opens up a whole lot of fascinating questions, it’s very, very good and healthy for human beings to think about even if we are alone. Even in those circumstances, it makes a lot of sense to do this SETI thing and for us to then think if SETI succeeds, what next? MaryLynn: It boggles the mind and ignites the imagination. Certainly in the last hundred years, the search for intelligent life beyond our planet has been the subject of numerous books, movies, and documentaries. And the search continues because our spirit, our intelligence, and our imaginations will not let us rest. Its part of our very nature to push the limits of knowledge and what we think is possible.

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