August 18, 2011 | David F. Coppedge

SETI Blurs Line with Hollywood

Down again, up again; the SETI Institute got a reprieve for its Allen Telescope Array from actress Jodie Foster, star of the Sagan SETI saga Contact.  And just in time; NASA needs contact to protect earth from aliens who might invade to punish us for global warming.

Foster is actually only one of 2,557 donors who rose up to keep SETI going, according to PhysOrg.  Bill Anders, Apollo 8 astronaut (one of those who read from Genesis back on Christmas Eve 1968) was another.  Live Science said sci-fi writer Larry Niven also put his money where his hope is.  The SETI Institute only raised enough money so far to man the Allen array through year end – or should that be to “alien the Man array”?

The Guardian UK released a photo of one of the aliens punishing humanity for global warming.  Sure enough, (if one can believe the sensationalist British rag), some NASA guys and Penn State eggheads are worried that changes in Earth’s atmosphere might trigger tough love:  “Watching from afar, extraterrestrial beings might view changes in Earth’s atmosphere as symptomatic of a civilisation growing out of control – and take drastic action to keep us from becoming a more serious threat, the researchers explain.”

It’s a “highly speculative scenario,” Ian Sample, “science correspondent” admitted, but what hey – they’re NASA scientists.  Their speculations are only for humanity’s good, provided we take action now: “ ‘Green’ aliens might object to the environmental damage humans have caused on Earth and wipe us out to save the planet,” Sample surmised, drawing authority from the authors of a joint study that considered “plausible outcomes that could unfold in the aftermath of a close encounter, to help humanity ‘prepare for actual contact’.” 

Of course that is just one of a number of “plausible scenarios,” good, bad, and neutral.  What makes this scenario appealing is that it has political teeth.  The authors explained, “These scenarios give us reason to limit our growth and reduce our impact on global ecosystems. It would be particularly important for us to limit our emissions of greenhouse gases, since atmospheric composition can be observed from other planets.” 

So Earthlings might just be the real illegal aliens.  Maybe it’s time to consider what Wynne Perry at Live Science suggested: renaming Homo sapiens (wise man) something more realistic.

Clever way to sneak global eco-politics into a story, don’t you think?  They will have better luck aiming their telescopes at those described in the 08/17/2011 entry.  Plenty of aliens there.  Some of them are green, too.

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