September 27, 2010
World’s First Alien Ambassador?
New agencies were abuzz Monday morning with reports that the head of the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) had been elected to be the first point of contact for alien lifeforms.
Different reports said that astrophysicist Mazlan Othman feels Earth needs a proper welcome mat for when extraterrestrials meet human life forms.
The Australian reported that she recently told fellow scientists: "The continued search for extraterrestrial communication, by several entities, sustains the hope that someday humankind will receive signals from extraterrestrials. When we do, we should have in place a coordinated response that takes into account all the sensitivities related to the subject. The UN is a ready-made mechanism for such co-ordination."
However, despite the reports that flooded in this weekend to appoint an "alien ambassador" for Earth, Othman has denied their truth.
She told The Guardian in an email about the position that "It sounds really cool, but I have to deny it."
Professor Richard Crowther of the U.K.'s Space Agency lent his support to the appointment, which requires ultimate U.N. approval. He told reporters: "Othman is absolutely the nearest thing we have to a 'take me to your leader' person."
When it comes to making contact with alien life, Stephen Hawking warned last year that it might not be as pleasant as having an alien ambassador sounds. He said "I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet."
"The outcome for us would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn't turn out very well for the native Americans."
The UNOOSA's duties include passing the benefits of technology developed for space to Earth-bound humanity, and monitoring what is sent into space.
Its Program on Space Applications covers developments in "meteorology, communications and natural-resource management" and offers education and advice with the stated aim of narrowing the gap between industrialized and developing countries.
The UNOOSA was set up in 1962 to promote the "peaceful use of outer space."
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