August 19, 2011
Environmentally Conscience Aliens Could Destroy Humanity
Scientists say that aliens may destroy humanity due to the rising greenhouse emissions.
Researchers say that extraterrestrial beings might view changes in Earth's atmosphere as symptomatic of a civilization growing out of control and could take drastic action to keep us from becoming a more serious threat.
Shawn Domagal-Goldman of Nasa's Planetary Science Division and his colleagues from Pennsylvania State University compiled a list of plausible outcomes that could unfold in the aftermath of a close encounter with alien life.
The team divided alien contacts into three board categories: beneficial, neutral or harmful.
They said in their report "Would Contact with Extraterrestrials Benefit or Harm Humanity? A Scenario Analysis" that beneficial encounters ranged from the detection of extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI) to contact with cooperative organisms that help humans advancement in knowledge about global problems.
Another benefit could include humans triumphing over a more powerful alien aggressor, or being saved by a second group of extra terrestrials.
"In these scenarios, humanity benefits not only from the major moral victory of having defeated a daunting rival, but also from the opportunity to reverse-engineer ETI technology," the authors write.
Other kinds of close encounters the authors considered neutral could involve extraterrestrials being too different from us to communicate with usefully. The report says that they could even become a nuisance similar to the creatures portrayed in a refugee camp in the 2009 movie District 9.
The harmful outcomes, according to the report, might be as extreme as aliens coming to Earth to eat, enslave or attack humanity. The report said that people might suffer from being physically crushed or by contracting diseases carried out by the extra terrestrials.
The authors even went as far as to say that humanity could be wiped out when a more advanced civilization accidentally wipes out humans after a catastrophic physics experiment goes wrong.
Domagal-Goldman and his colleagues call for caution in sending signals into space and warn against broadcasting information about our biological make-up. They said any contact with extra terrestrials should be limited to mathematical discourse "until we have a better idea of the type of ETI we are dealing with."
They say that aliens may be wary of civilizations that expand very rapidly, just as humans have pushed species to extinction on Earth.
"A preemptive strike would be particularly likely in the early phases of our expansion because a civilization may become increasingly difficult to destroy as it continues to expand. Humanity may just now be entering the period in which its rapid civilizational expansion could be detected by an ETI because our expansion is changing the composition of the Earth's atmosphere, via greenhouse gas emissions," the report says.
The authors said environmentally conscience aliens might object to the environmental damage humans have caused on Earth and wipe us out to save the planet.
"These scenarios give us reason to limit our growth and reduce our impact on global ecosystems. It would be particularly important for us to limit our emissions of greenhouse gases, since atmospheric composition can be observed from other planets," the authors write.
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