Category Archives: First Contact


Wanderers is a stunning short film by Erik Wernquist which blends the hauntingly poetic prose of the late Carl Sagan with scenes from a distant future where the human race calls the entire Solar System its home.

I’m not 100% sure about the idea of people floating around in space suits that close to Jupiter, since the hard radiation from that planet’s radiation belts can deliver a lethal dose in seconds, but I guess I can be charitable and accept that we will have solved the problem of shielding people from high-energy sub-atomic particles by the time we’re watching the Great Red Spot disappearing over the horizon.

UFO True Believer vs SETI Scientist

During the Q&A session after a talk given by Dr. Jill Tarter of SETI in Charlottesville, Virginia earlier this week, a member of the audience took the microphone and revealed himself to be a UFO true believer by asking whether SETI could “actually, practically, even if unwittingly, an agent of disinformation” when it comes to the “mountain of factual evidence of contact” with aliens “throughout time, across space.”

The UFO news website Open Minds reports this as a “confrontation” and talks about “accusations” but really, it was a polite (if misguided) question to which Dr. Tarter gave a reasoned and reasonable reply. No confrontation happened, as you can see here:

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Should We Be Afraid of Alien Contact?

One of the perennial questions you hear whenever the discussion turns to the subject of encountering extraterrestrial intelligent life is, “Will they be hostile?”

Certainly, if you go by the content of most of the science fiction movies and TV shows out there, the answer seems crystal clear–they are going to raid us, enslave us, exterminate us, eat us, hunt us, experiment upon us, and blow us up. In fact, we’d be lucky to last one day as a species should any aliens drop by Earth unexpectedly.

Of course, drama needs conflict, and a bunch of hostile aliens is just what you need to spice up a movie or TV show. Reality, thankfully, is likely to be much less dramatic, and I would argue that there are very few reasons for believing that a visiting alien fleet would be hostile toward the people of Earth.

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Bill Nye on How to Talk to an Alien (Maybe)

Bill Nye, the Science Guy, and Executive Director of The Planetary Society was recently asked by The Big Think what he would say to an alien should he ever encounter one. This video is the result:


Unfortunately, the clip isn’t terribly informative. The choppy editing doesn’t help, certainly, but he seems a little unprepared and scattered in his comments. Mind you, asking someone what they would say to an alien is kind of like asking how long is a piece of string. What you would say or ask depends very much on the nature of the ETIs and on the circumstances of the encounter.

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