Imagine that astronomers had discovered intelligent life in a nearby star system. Who should speak for the earth and why? What should this person say in 50 words?
Why this mesage is the most important compared to other things that could he said.
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"Hello. I am from the planet Earth. We do not wish to harm you. We wish to send an ambassador. He will speak for us."
The question I have is how we would identify it as life. Our standards for identifying life are very slim. By some standards, a rock that picked you up and ate you would not be alive-it has no cells or DNA.
If we could identify it as life, how would we communicate? It might communicate telepathically, or with lights, or ultrasound, or in a way we cannot even imagine. How would we even understand it if it used sound? Its language might not even use letters. Its language might not be noticeable to humans-it may have such good ears that it would tell the difference between almost identical noises. There would be almost no way to communicate.
One could, by analogy, argue that this has been done! As Europeans colonized the world, or even further back, as one group of people have done to another since there's been people, so we would do to any intelligent alien life. This is, of course, assuming communication can occur at all, and that interstellar distances for communication and travel are not a problem. Let's hope those distance problems aren't solved quite yet. Given humankind's dismal record of what happens when one group meets another, it almost doesn't matter what is said; more importantly, what matters what is done. What has been stated even with the best intentions on first contact is quickly forgotten when greed takes over. By the time we're ready for interstellar travel and communication, one can only hope that the barbarity of enslavement, extermination, or even the lesser evil of coercion that groups of people have practiced upon other groups on Earth will be a faint memory.
Funny that you posted this question, because recently I found information about how we have been broadcasting different news programs into outer-space. Sound is able to travel much further than light can; if you search the NASA website you'll be able to hear recorded sounds from outer-space. We do this, in hopes of reaching "other life". The broadcasts speak about politics, economics, major ecological issues, and a myriad of many more topics, all to display what life on Earth is like. Who knows, if there is life out there, maybe they can make sense of what life on Earth is like. As far as someone "speaking" for Earth, I don't think it would be anyone beneath the President or a high NASA official. More importantly, our communications would be in every known format to man: verbal, non-verbal, sound, sign language etc. They may not be understandable or reciprocated in the same form, but I think that we would be more psyched to receive any type of communication! Even on Earth, from the smallest cell to the largest mammal, each possess a way to communicate, so "alien life" must have many as well. To be honest, I don't think anyone would really know what to "say" if faced with the "first" extra-terrestrial communication. On a funny note, maybe "Glad we choose Obama?" HeHe. Side note...DTV, I checked out your website. Read "How can we define life." Interesting, but I disagree with your reasoning.
You are assuming too much! Why would an alien species be set up to communicate? We are dealing with something that we know nothing about, that is structured differently from us, and that has existed for billions of years!
If we actually meet an alien that we can understand, it will probably be structured into cells, just like we are. Scientists have found meteorites from Mars with fossils of small cells-if that is true, earthly life probably came from mars, or visa versa.
In reply to #5: "You are assuming too much! We are dealing with something that we know nothing about, that is structured differently from us, and that has existed for billions of years!" " Now, you're assuming too much. Most scientific processes on Earth are cyclical; the rock cycle, the water cycle. They can be seen on other planets. However, just because we have elephants here, and they are have cells, does not mean that elephants will evolve on another planet. If we know nothing about these creatures, how do we know that they have existed for billions of years (maybe billions of years ago)? Our time frame for deciding how long life has existed on other planets or in other galaxies is merely conjecture. We do not have proof of current life on any planet. Concerning extra-terrestrial life, all we have is assumptions. Scientists may have rocks from Mars with trace fossils, but have yet to find lineages linking those fossils to any other planets. On top of that, the amount of trace fossils found on Mars is too small to make anything but assumptions on "life" in other galaxies. "Why would an alien species be set up to communicate?" Communication is not limited to, "Hi, how are you?" Communication has existed since the beginning of time. Even single-celled organisms from Earth's birth have communicated. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communication. So showing disbelief that aliens are set up to communicate, is ignorant.
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