If Aliens were to land

Message-ID: <1P194B2w165w@sys6626.bison.mb.ca> Date: 28 May 93 08:16:23 GMT Organization: System 6626 BBS, Winnipeg Manitoba Canada Lines: 194 From: Sheppard Gordon Date: 21-05-93 23:22 To: All Msg#: 75 Subj.: If Aliens Were To Land Area: UFO If aliens were to land on Earth . . . 05/20/93 ST. PETERSBURG TIMES If aliens landed on Earth this morning, as we drink coffee, munch cream cheese bagels and read the newspaper, some say the culture shock could elicit the best and worst of mankind. Mass hysteria. Apathy. Religious and political upheaval. In the end, perhaps, global unity. From a jungle valley in Puerto Rico to California's Mojave Desert, operators stand by, tuned to potential contact from alien civilizations. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration equipped Voyager 2, now on its way out of our solar system and possibly into the grasp of some alien race, with a disc bearing information about our own civilization. Although some dismiss as farfetched the possibility of alien contact, the U.S. government has spent millions on NASA's Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, or SETI, Program. What if E.T. answers? Suddenly, we would know we really aren't alone in the universe. And we're not the most advanced civilization, despite our cellular telephones, cable TV and proposed space station. "If they do land, I think there would be profound effects throughout the world," said Dr. Paul Horowitz, a Harvard physics professor who operates a small galactic listening post at the Massachusetts university. "In the short term, religionists would do a quick scramble and a lot of rationalization. In a few weeks, the story fades to page 14. "In the long term, it forever changes the way we think about everything." UFO in Hernando Last month, Hernando County sheriff's Deputy Ron Chancey and six other people reported seeing a boomerang-shaped object hovering over a marsh in Bayport. A dozen similar sightings were reported from Pinellas Park to Hudson. Chancey thought the object followed him as he drove a patrol car on Pine Island Drive the night of April 16. He shined a spotlight toward the silent object, which he said appeared to have a wingspan that would touch uprights on either end of a football field. What if the object had turned out to be an interstellar craft carrying intelligent life? What if the ship had landed and the aliens had introduced themselves? "I don't know what I'd do," Chancey said. "That's like asking what do you do if you drive up and see your wife and kids getting raped or something. If there had been an intelligent life form, I don't know what I would've done. I'm kind of levelheaded about things like that. It takes a lot to make me panic. If they were friendly, I'd probably just say, `Whoa.' If they seemed dangerous, I'd probably make like a tree and leave." In 1938, people panicked during the radio broadcast of War of the Worlds, in which Martians invade Earth by way of New Jersey. The story, presented by Orson Welles, seemed immediate and real. Some listeners committed suicide. Even if aliens came in peace, Chancey theorized, some humans would be traumatized. "Given the fact that some alien life appeared on Earth, I'm sure that some people would panic," he said. "I'm certain that some people would take to it like a duck to water. There'll be a range of reactions. It'll terrify us. Some will hide from it. Others will take it in stride, say, `Oh, well,' and go on with their daily business. Some would really turn on to it." Chancey's boss, Sheriff Thomas Mylander, said he isn't sure how the department would handle an alien in Hernando County. "That one we'd have to play by ear," the sheriff said. "Who's dealt with that before? We'd have to seek the expertise of someone higher along the lines. I'd call in the feds, because locals would have to take a back seat to something of that magnitude." Peaceful adoption The same night Chancey saw his unidentified flying object, 27-year-old Richard Wonch gazed at Jupiter through his telescope in Holiday. About 9:30, Wonch saw "an arrow-shaped object shoot through the sky." A Star Trek fan, Wonch said he is optimistic that mankind could adapt peacefully to the arrival of intelligent extraterrestrials. "We'd have to be pretty egotistical not to believe there's life out in all the zillions of galaxies out there. I think it would be pretty interesting, to say the least. "It would unite the world a little more. There'd be more possibility of a United Federation of Planets, like in Star Trek, forming. It could get all the hatred out. "It could be like a John Lennon song." A religious view Father Robert Sherman of the Catholic Diocese in St. Petersburg said the church has never taken an official stand on UFOs or life on other worlds. "We've always assumed we were the only intelligent life forms in the universe," he said. "If we found out there was life on other planets, we would have to struggle with the possibility that God would have a relationship with someone other than ourselves. I don't think anything is impossible." Hope for mankind Noted astronomer and science writer Carl Sagan dealt with the prospect of meeting aliens in his 1985 novel Contact, in which scientists decode a radio signal from a distant star system. On the surface, the signal turns out to be a return broadcast of Hitler at the opening ceremonies of the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. Hidden within the signal are instructions to build a machine - a cosmic subway that takes the scientists to the alien world. Rather than a source of panic, Sagan conjectured, such a development would bring hope for a brighter future for mankind. But fundamental change in our cosmological views would likely come with political, religious and cultural upheaval. "Zealotry, fanaticism, fear, hope, fervent debate, quiet prayer, agonizing reappraisal, exemplary selflessness, close-minded bigotry, and a zest for dramatically new ideas were epidemic, rushing feverishly over the surface of the tiny planet Earth," Sagan wrote. Take me to your leader How aliens are accepted may depend largely on to whom they first introduce themselves, said Roland Foulkes, a professor of astroanthropology and futuristics at the University of Florida. Will they go to our ruling elite? Or homeless people? Homemakers? Different groups would respond differently, Foulkes said. If the U.S. government managed to sequester extraterrestrials without telling the public, for example, it might exploit and then eliminate the aliens. "We would do what we could to extract as much information as possible," he said. "The aliens would be studied, prodded and poked so that we learn everything there is to know about them. Especially in the United States. Any secrets we can learn to become an even greater superpower would definitely be on the agenda. "The life form would be exploited, enslaved and probably ultimately killed." He bases this theory on how Europeans through the centuries have similarly abused other races they've encountered during their explorations. "Africans welcomed missionaries and colonial administrators, although they didn't know what they were in for by being so open," Foulkes said. "Native Americans are often portrayed as savages, but the first pilgrims would not have survived the first winter without them." Confirming the signal If Horowitz, the Harvard professor, received what appeared to be a signal from the stars, he said he first would need confirmation from other scientists around the world. Then he would have to determine whether the signal were natural or synthetic. He said he would be convinced by a TV image or a sequence of the digits of pi carried out to a few thousand decimal places. "At that point, you have a discovery and I guess you buy an air ticket to Stockholm" to accept the Nobel Peace Prize for one of mankind's greatest discoveries, Horowitz said. "I have a hard time -!- WM v3.00 [Gamma] * Origin: STARGATE BB.SYSTEM NEW YORK,NY (718) 519-8042 (1:278/714.0) From: Sheppard Gordon Date: 21-05-93 23:22 To: All Msg#: 77 Subj.: If Aliens Were To Land / Area: UFO being mentally prepared. It's pretty mind-boggling." If they landed on Earth, aliens probably would have technology to surpass the speed of light, currently thought to be the cosmic speed limit. "We would no longer be the most advanced. These would be creatures who have solved harder problems than we have," he said. "It would permeate the subconscious and all layers of discourse, even jokes, in a way I can't even begin to guess." Steve Maran, spokesman for the American Astronomical Society in Washington, D.C., said mankind today might actually be apathetic toward alien life. Look up, glance briefly at the mother ship, then go back to sipping java and wiping cream cheese off our lips. "The way our society has gone to a nation of couch potatoes," Maran said, "I think we'd probably wait for the government to deal with it and watch it on CNN." -!- WM v3.00 [Gamma] * Origin: STARGATE BB.SYSTEM NEW YORK,NY (718) 519-8042 (1:278/714.0) --- TitanIum Knight -= titan@sys6626.bison.mb.ca =- [ Amiga 1200: 32 Bit, 16.8 million colours ]