(TheConservativeTimes.org) – With a number of US government agencies and lawmakers engaging more publicly than ever with the subject of unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP, also known as UFOs), discussions on the potential for contact with extraterrestrial life have also increased.
However, organizations involved in the search for life beyond Earth ought to consider the ethics of the endeavor and plan for a first-contact situation, according to a group of academics. The researchers characterized first contact as a process that has already begun, not an event in the future.
Various programs involved in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, collectively known as SETI, have featured ethical considerations in their planning, but it is essential to ask to whom they ultimately answer. The researchers compared the search for alien life to colonization on Earth. They argued that listening into the cosmos in hopes of finding signs of intelligent life could constitute a form of surveillance.
Listening indiscriminately could be construed as eavesdropping, the working group said.
Should aliens consider the surveillance disrespectful or careless, Earth itself could face colonization. The researchers noted that first contact between civilizations has often resulted in violence, disease, and enslavement.
Although SETI programs may be well intended, scientists are often inextricably linked to their funders, such as governments and corporations. The domino effect from a first-contact scenario could lead to a range of outcomes, including military intervention, corporate utilization, or even geopolitical transformation. As such, SETI efforts ought to consider distancing themselves from the military, corporations, and government, the researchers said.
NASA claims it has yet to find credible evidence of extraterrestrial life. The agency has also revealed no evidence tying aliens to UAPs. Nevertheless, an independent NASA research team is engaging on the matter to advance scientific understanding of the subject. The effort coincides with Pentagon UAP research efforts led by the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO).
The US government’s increasing engagement on UAP has also prompted lawmakers to pursue disclosure efforts. US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is leading an effort to create a review board to prepare the public release of government information on UAPs as part of upcoming defense policy legislation.
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