The hunt for aliens continues to heat up and it gained traction last week when scientists announced the discovery of a possible biosignature in the clouds of Venus. But finding microbial life and intelligent aliens are two different prospects, and will need to be dealt with accordingly.
Now, a Russian cosmonaut has given an insight as to how Russia and its space agency, Roscosmos, would react in the event of meeting an intelligent extraterrestrial.
Sergei Kud-Sverchkov, who will go to the International Space Station (ISS) in October, believes the first encounter with extraterrestrials will be diplomatic.
Mr Kud-Sverchkov said meeting an alien would probably not be much different to meeting any Earth-based species.
The cosmonaut made the claims at a news conference organised by the Russian media outlet Rossiya Segodnya.
He said: “I think that when meeting intelligence extraterrestrial life, we will exhibit friendliness, goodwill and consideration, just as we do when meeting intelligent and unintelligent life on Earth.”
Other scientists, however, have said we should consider avoiding aliens at all costs.
Professor Stephen Hawking, who died in March 2018, said meeting an advanced species would be akin to when Europeans encountered Native Americans and almost killed them off in order to conquer the New World.
Prof Hawking wrote in Brief Answers To The Big Questions: “Breakthrough Message is an international competition to create messages that could be read by an advanced civilisation.
“But we need to be wary of answering back until we have developed a bit further.
“Meeting a more advanced civilisation, at our present stage, might be a bit like the original inhabitants of America meeting Columbus – and I don’t think they thought they were better off for it.”
Olle Häggström, a professor of mathematical statistics at Chalmers University and author of the existential risk book Here Be Dragons, is another who envisions a scenario in which aliens are further up the pecking order than humans.
Mr Häggström told Bryan Walsh, author of the new book End Times which analyses the existential threats which humanity faces: “There are optimists who say that good things can come out of establishing communications.
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“We could learn wonderful things from them.
“But an extraterrestrial civilisation of very advanced technology might be a threat – and they may want to get rid of us before we become a threat to them.
“There are real evolutionary-style arguments pointing int that direction.
“Maybe we would be better off observing exoplanets for ten or 20 years until we’re in a better position to assess the risk of communication. The risk is too great.”
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