If you meet an alien what should you do?

During the Starship Congress last week in Dallas, Texas, discussions focused on the myriad of topics associated with humans pushing into space and, ultimately, becoming an interstellar civilization. It quickly became apparent that if you think on a large enough scale, over a vast enough time frame, pushing humanity deeper into the galaxy is not a sci-fi notion, it’s an evolutionary imperative. But let us assume for a minute that we will overcome the huge technological challenges of propelling starships to neighboring star systems and begin a new age of galactic colonization. Let us also assume that the profound question “Are we alone?” will be answered. We will have clawed our way to the stars to find that life is simply a chemical complication and, given the correct conditions, biology is possible anywhere. As we come face-to-face with our extraterrestrial neighbors, what would — indeed, what should — we do? Continue reading

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