Martin Griffiths is a Senior Lecturer with the University of South Wales. His talk was an enlightening examination of the policy for contacting aliens. There is a Rio (de Janeiro) scale of significance for rating any kind of possible alien report, ranging from 0 = no significance (e.g. it’s an abduction) to 10 = extraordinarily significant (e.g. it’s a NASA observation that contains an actual location). He added (rather tongue in cheek?) that if it’s 11 then they’re already here.
Dr Griffiths then discussed what kind of evidence we could find, such as a radio signal, alien artefact, probe in the vicinity, or direct contact from the aliens themselves. Because of the astronomical distances involved and the cost of sending any items through space, the remote contact would be more likely.
He then embarked on how we would try to understand the message. He harked back to our using mathematical symbols to communicate, but he said that is very limited, and really we should not worry if we cannot understand it; just getting it is the main thing! Does it really matter if we can’t interpret it?
Before you get too alarmed that the aliens may already be on their way to plunder our little blue heaven, Dr Griffiths reassured us that the aliens probably wouldn’t have the resources to reach us anyway. Not even NASA funds our search for ET now. And there are plenty of resources scattered around other solar systems already, so why should they want to use ours?
Dr Griffiths gave the impression that he was happy to keep things the way they are. Yes, it would be good to know that we are not alone, but astronomical distances are so vast that communication would be extremely limited and if we did actually come to meet aliens face to face we might stagnate if they took us over with their politics and beliefs. Interestingly, he said that they could easily be religious, as it is natural to create a religion to explain the unexplainable, and that most religions grow out from a minority that has been persecuted.
As you see, his talk was full of philosophical hypotheticals. Would we look after our planet better if we knew they were out there? My thought was yes, but he immediately pointed out that we already know how to improve things but we don’t. So, probably not!
Sadly, Dr Griffiths does not expect anyone to contact us.
But, if by any chance you do come across any aliens, his advice is to contact the UN General Secretary. (Ban Ki Moon, if I recall!)