First Contact: Are We Ready? (continued from "...2050 in space flight")

TMac3000

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If you have established that they are desiring at least neutral contact with you, the question is how to proceed from there. Its doubtful you would just board a small craft and meet in the middle between the fleets. Maybe you would just exchange some small inanimate token of respect between the fleets, maybe with some information on how to communicate better next time. Like a golden disk or so.

This sounds good:yes:

I like the way the aliens in the movie "Contact" made their approach--send a message first. Not in words--any word could sound like something bad in the recipient's language (assuming they have one)--but something that gives them a clue what we are like. A blueprint of a ship, a picture like the Vitruvian Man, something like that.

I think it's fairly certain that we will have some kind of space ships by 2100 (remember, we're going off the time frame in my post in the other thread)--probably not very advanced ones by anybody's standards--but maybe one or two colonies in the outer solar system. Unless one of our missions encounters them, I think they would show up at Earth.

It would be complicated
Exactly my point in the OP and in the original thread...it would be very delicate, and at present the human race doesn't do delicate very well. That's why the thought of us making contact before we have at least some level of cultural evolution really worries me.
 

Urwumpe

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Exactly my point in the OP and in the original thread...it would be very delicate, and at present the human race doesn't do delicate very well. That's why the thought of us making contact before we have at least some level of cultural evolution really worries me.

Seriously - we already have the philosophies needed for that or at least the brain to think rationally in situations, when we lack the right idea. We just have the problem that we will always have a high number of people who ignore them. We simply need the right people in the right spot at the right time to be successful there - like always.

There will never be a managed process for meeting alien species.
 

APDAF

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Thing is first contact could be as bad for us as Coloumbus discovering the new world...
 

Polaris

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A better question is "Are the aliens ready for us?" If I were some enterprising alien space explorer, I'd either give this species a very wide berth or I'd be running photo safaris for the tourists with humanity as the star attraction.
 

Codz

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Discussions like this always seem to bring out some degree of misanthropy...
 

N_Molson

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And ultimately, the question is : is there an intelligent (by our standards) (living) species that can behave differently as we do ? Darwinism leads us to pessimistic conclusions, as any "too kind" species would probably not be able to survive.

Let's say you have no idea of what a grizzly, a tiger or a shark is. If you strongly believe that you should as a rule try to give diplomacy a chance everytime you encounter a new species, you're not going to live old... And even simple life forms we consider as "non-intelligent" know that. :hmm:
 

fsci123

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I think for the foreseeable(next 300 years) future, first contact would be extremely one sided...going something along the lines of a nuclear aircraft carrier encountering an ancient egyptian river raft. Even small alien vessels would be a significant threat... the propulsion systems would be disruptive to satellites, nanofacturing machinery could create grey goo swarms, and onboard computers could hack into our computers.

Unless the probe is drifting into our system like voyager, it would be dectable decades before it arrives.

Most likely any first contact would go something like:
"Hey native species, you may not know this but me and my organization has claims on this system...so im colonizing europa. I should be fully operational in 20 years, until then keep the questions to a minimum."

---------- Post added at 01:36 AM ---------- Previous post was at 01:16 AM ----------

And until at least 2300, I don't think we would be ready, emotionally or psychologically. This would really screw up a lot of peoples' world view. I don't think there would necessarily have to be an interstellar war or anything, but are we sure humanity would really know how to handle the consequences and ramifications of alien contact?

Unless aliens show up in a massive warship and decide to conquer earth i doubt there would be much of a sudden impact. Most westerners believe that aliens exist in some form so a detection of a spaceship 1000ly away wouldnt change that much...there would be a lot undecided people who would agree with the findings. But beyond the initial media frenzy, the news would be accepted and fade from public view within a month.

People tend to have trouble giving a s:censored:t about some anomalous infrared readings around some random star.
 

Lmoy

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I think for the foreseeable(next 300 years) future, first contact would be extremely one sided ... the propulsion systems would be disruptive to satellites
I like to think that aliens studying our system would have the courtesy to not set off electromagnetic pulses in our upper atmosphere.

nanofacturing machinery could create grey goo swarms,
This would indicate to me that the nanofacturing machinery is very poorly designed, as under nominal circumstances a grey goo scenario should be impossible. Assuming the machinery is functioning normally, there's plenty of material laying about that isn't our satellites to take advantage of, and it should correctly identify Earth as being way too big a gravity well to bother retrieving material from.

and onboard computers could hack into our computers.
I doubt alien computers would be remotely compatible with our computers. This isn't Independence Day.

Unless the probe is drifting into our system like voyager, it would be dectable decades before it arrives.
I'm not sure what you mean by this. A probe travelling at relativistic speeds would be easier to see than one traveling at a more sedate pace?

Most likely any first contact would go something like:
"Hey native species, you may not know this but me and my organization has claims on this system...so im colonizing europa. I should be fully operational in 20 years, until then keep the questions to a minimum."
Well we sure haven't claimed it. But who would want to colonise Europa? Too much radiation. Callisto is much nicer, offers all the benefits of Europa (readily available water, etc.) and isn't so deep in Jupiter's gravity well. But I imagine if aliens did move in and start claiming planets in the solar system, this would propel our space technology ahead by centuries in a very short time, as humans, being territorial, would want to lay claim to as much of the solar system as possible, so we'd actually start seriously funding space development. Right now, we just kind of assume it's all ours forever.
 

jedidia

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Discussions like this always seem to bring out some degree of misanthropy...

Well, call me a philantropic misantropist... I really like people and try to help them wherever I can, but I really don't like humans for what they do to each other :p

I'm not sure what you mean by this. A probe travelling at relativistic speeds would be easier to see than one traveling at a more sedate pace?

Unless they are using magitech (which, hell, they well might be...), this would actually be the case. No matter how close to c they travel, they need to slow down, and to do it at a survivable rate. WHich might or might not be higher than one G for them, but even if they evolved on some unholy super-earth with 2 to 3 G surface gravity that will take time. And if they're coming in a vessel that can sustain even a modest crew for a decade or a few of interstellar travel, the energy output would quickly outshine the brightes stars in our night sky.
 
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Urwumpe

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Well, call me a philantropic misantropist... I really like people and try to help them wherever I can, but I really don't like humans for what they do to each other :p

I am a very benevolent misanthropist. I hate you all the same, as much as I can. :lol:
 

kamaz

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Are we ready for a first contact scenario? Not by a longshot. We're probably more likely to go to war with an alien culture than make friends with it.

We have done a planning exercise two years ago and we have concluded that an interplanetary invasion is physically impossible unless you have a stargate you can drive trains through. Without a stargate, the invading force is restricted to bluff and subversion.


But this begs the next question: what would first contact look like if we were ready?

It isn't about us being ready, it is about the aliens believing that we are ready to send an "official" delegation to land in the Central Park. Which obviously hasn't happened.

However, it appears that there have been numerous unofficial contacts basically during the entire recorded history and the most famous incident appears to have been the result of an accidental crash:

Z0nBTtW.jpg
 

Thunder Chicken

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Well, call me a philantropic misantropist... I really like people and try to help them wherever I can, but I really don't like humans for what they do to each other :p

Let's hope the first extraterrestrials who make contact with us come to the same opinion!
 

fsci123

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I like to think that aliens studying our system would have the courtesy to not set off electromagnetic pulses in our upper atmosphere.

This would indicate to me that the nanofacturing machinery is very poorly designed, as under nominal circumstances a grey goo scenario should be impossible. Assuming the machinery is functioning normally, there's plenty of material laying about that isn't our satellites to take advantage of, and it should correctly identify Earth as being way too big a gravity well to bother retrieving material from.

I meant that if the aliens were hostile or we responded to their pressence in a hostile manner then they could inflict serious harm on our systems with powerful spacecraft subsystems intended for peaceful purposes.

I doubt alien computers would be remotely compatible with our computers. This isn't Independence Day.
It may take time but an alien supercomputer could eventually figure out how to exploit our internet and computers. All the open sourced learning and development materials on the web and the probably numerous amateur greeting signals could speed up the learning process a lot too.

I'm not sure what you mean by this. A probe travelling at relativistic speeds would be easier to see than one traveling at a more sedate pace?
The example probe was traveling at relativistic speeds... But using a magsail to slow down... Something that would take years to accomplish if traveling at high speeds. Also, collision avoidance radar and laser systems might be detected if the probe happened to be pointed directly at our telescopes.
Well we sure haven't claimed it. But who would want to colonise Europa? Too much radiation. Callisto is much nicer, offers all the benefits of Europa (readily available water, etc.) and isn't so deep in Jupiter's gravity well.
I chose a random moon for example purposes but...
My reasoning was that aliens might try to colonize the oceans of Europa, since they are probably saturated in chemicals and minerals that would be harder to acquire on the terrestrial worlds. Underwater volcanoes and tides could power the whole colony and the ice above would shield it from radiation and human attacks...if we tried to attack them.

But I imagine if aliens did move in and start claiming planets in the solar system, this would propel our space technology ahead by centuries in a very short time, as humans, being territorial, would want to lay claim to as much of the solar system as possible, so we'd actually start seriously funding space development. Right now, we just kind of assume it's all ours forever.

Agreed.
 

Urwumpe

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It may take time but an alien supercomputer could eventually figure out how to exploit our internet and computers. All the open sourced learning and development materials on the web and the probably numerous amateur greeting signals could speed up the learning process a lot too.

Good luck teaching an alien computer all the various standards to be able to access Wikipedia.

I doubt any modern supercomputer could even be remotely able to just find out how to find out how the hardware would need to be like to communicate with a 1980s BBS operating on an Amiga.
 

jedidia

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It may take time

It may in fact take so much time as to be irrelevant :lol:

Merging two utterly and completely independantly evolving sets of hardware and software sounds like the ultimate nightmare. We have no analogue in the history of computing that comes even remotely close.
They'll be much better of buying a few IPads on ebay and work from there.
 

Kyle

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Meh, frankly I think we'd be fine with it. You'd have a few nuts shouting off about it, and a few more people making sardonic political points about it, but for the most part I think the vast majority of people wouldn't particularly care beyond a like or a share on Facebook.
 
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