A new research hub has been set up to prepare humanity for first contact with aliens, which scientists warning that could take place as soon as tomorrow.
The UK SETI (Search for Extra-terrestrial Intelligence) Research Network and the University of St Andrews are working together to put procedures and protocols in place for the eventuality.
Some of the leading experts on the planet will provide their input for the SETI Post-Detection Hub as, much like those already agreed for dealing with the threat of an asteroid impact, guidelines and measures are established to guarantee the correct response should a radio signal be received from another intelligent lifeform.
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Dr John Elliott, honorary research fellow in the School of Computer Science at St Andrews and coordinator of the hub, believes no more time can be wasted in terms of this process, reasoning: "Will we ever get a message from ET? We don’t know.
"But we do know that we cannot afford to be ill prepared – scientifically, socially, and politically rudderless – for an event that could turn into reality as early as tomorrow and which we cannot afford to mismanage. We need to coordinate our expert knowledge and the time to do this is now."
The existence of intelligent life in other parts of the universe is something that many scientists now regard as a genuine possibility.
Between 2004 and 2021, 144 UFO incidents were examined by the Pentagon's Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force with military pilots informing the body of many of the sightings.
Investigators could not find any evidence that the UFOs came from outer space or from a foreign adversary, but they also agreed that the majority could not be explained.
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The SETI community previously came up with their own protocols for encountering alienlife in 1989, but they were last updated 12 years ago and they focus solely on the scientific response with no global consensus on how to handle contact.
How to understand an alien language or method of communication when we have still not mastered how to converse with animals could be a priority for the new hub with Dr Alexander Rehding, professor of music at Harvard University, pointing out: "Whales are a really good study, and they are in some ways the closest thing that we have to aliens here on Earth.
"Whales are highly intelligent, and their environment is entirely different from ours.
"The patterns that we hear are purely patterns that we recognise as music, repeated patterns. It is a form of vocalising but we don't really know what it's for. It can give us a sense of how difficult the task at hand is."
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