Wednesday, September 29, 2010

United Nations May Appoint Malaysian Astrophysicist as Alien Ambassador

I recently got an email from an old classmate of mine who lives on the other side of the world who asked me what my thoughts were on the U.N.'s recent decision to possibly expand their current Office for Outer Space Affairs director's role. The director, Mazlan Othman, presently is responsible for "promoting international co-operation and peace in dealing with outer space," according to Wired's U.K. outlet. She is poised to become the planet's go-to person should we ever make contact with aliens - if they exist.

Some people, for whatever reason, take exception to this. I find the possible appointment of an alien ambassador interesting, to say the least, but I cannot imagine anyone taking a particularly strong position either way. If the U.N. wants to expand Othman's role, I say, "Why not?" Assuming that humans could possibly be the only intelligent life in the entire universe is a little naive.

Think about how massively huge the universe is. I tend not to, because it makes my brain hurt. But to think that the same kind of processes that first created life on earth, beginning the awe-inspiring process of natural selection, would be impossible on the billions of other planets in the universe is just wrong. I don't know if life exists on other planets, or whether that life would be intelligent, but the scientific evidence we have suggests that it is certainly possible.

It's not rare for countries to try to make contact with otherworldly folks. NASA has a balloon equipped to pick up radio signals from the universe (spoiler alert: they have been receiving "mysterious" radio signals). There are multiple SETI projects that have been undertaken by multiple entities over the years. On the extreme side of things, ex-Air Force folks have said recently that UFOs took a particular interest in our country's nuclear stockpile.

Is there intelligent life out there? Who knows. But if science says it's possible, it can't hurt to be prepared.

Photo - Alien movie poster (Chud)

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