NASA says we need a new approach for announcing evidence of ETs if (when) it happens

Originally published at: NASA says we need a new approach for announcing evidence of ETs if (when) it happens | Boing Boing

8 Likes

Maybe the aliens should hire a good PR agency to help them craft an announcement strategy, similar to the John Scalzi novel Agent to the Stars.

17 Likes

FTFY.

14 Likes

And yet every time there is some unusual molecule like phosphine, it gets reported as if it were alien life anyway, to the point where saying “not life” has been considered an improvement. :slightly_frowning_face:

NASA announcements

16 Likes

I’m guessing any set approach for announcement will be preceded by a lot of leaks.

6 Likes

I’d appreciate a scale.

Slime found on Planet X = 1
Slime found on Planet X that has a nervous system = 2
Reptilian / Crustacean Hybrid with a smallish brain found on Planet X = 3
and so on up until around 10. 10 being a sentient creature that’s enjoys fermented barely equivalent smoked with peat equivalent that may or may not be interested in playing well with others.

11 Likes

3811814772c98502595559360f1f5b88

9 Likes

Scientists: “Alright, here we go. Ahem. We have reached step 1 and have found hints of the signatures of life on another world.”

Every news agency everywhere: “NASA reports life on other worlds found!”

In other words: great idea, and it won’t mean jack to the news agencies who are rushing to get info out quickly and don’t care about accuracy much any more. You want to PROPERLY control it? Great, then you better start your OWN news agency and television station and get big enough to compete with the CNN’s and other agencies, because your qualifiers and careful explanations aren’t going to last five seconds once they get their hands on the information.

7 Likes

The existing process just isn’t working!

5 Likes

Sounds great until you realize that the most successful science education effort of this type has, so far, been the Food Pyramid. If you announce that you have discovered conditions where life is possible, but is as likely as finding a hamster that has graduated from Harvard, the media will report “Joint NASA/Harvard project breeds a talking hamster!”

8 Likes

earth_like_exoplanet

21 Likes

I mean, all popular science reporting is basically terrible.

Every wonky minor metamaterials paper gets reported as OMG INVISIBILITY CLOAK.

Every terrible p-hacked small-N psychology study gets reported as OMG WE UNDERSTAND HUMANS NOW.

Every mathematical anomaly slightly above the noise floor in terabytes of radio telescope data gets reported as OMG DYSON SPHERE.

Every loose connector on a piece of test equipment gets reported as OMG WARP DRIVE AND TELEPORTATION.

…and so on. Every one of these widens the gap of understanding in the general public for how science works, and ultimately contributes to the undermining of reality and critical thinking.

14 Likes

“So… so you’re saying I need to work on my ‘HOLY FUCK! ALIENS!!!’ headline?”

2 Likes

But how do we, in all good conscience, warn them?

4 Likes
  1. Please put on these special sunglasses…
8 Likes

Step 1: Organic molecules found
Step 2: DNA detected
Step 3: Multicellular life detected
Step 4: Intelligent life detected
Step 5: Alien books detected
Step 6: Alien language partially decoded
Step 7: Cookbook identified

16 Likes

On the bright side, announcements may not be needed.

7 Likes

What’s that picture from?

2 Likes

Gray Skies: A War of the Worlds Story

1 Like

Captain Kirk had a strict policy of not hooking up with any alien who wasn’t at least an 8.

c0e5eefed4c2a700effd4bb5ef267af8

11 Likes