From the December 2013 issue

What happens when we detect alien life?

Seth Shostak, the man who will know first, describes what will happen if E.T. phones Earth.
By | Published: December 30, 2013 | Last updated on May 18, 2023
Allen Telescope Array
While searches for extraterrestrial intelligence using radio antennas like those that make up the Allen Telescope Array may not have found anything yet, it’s important to plan a response, says SETI expert Seth Shostak.
Seth Shostak
In the May 2012 issue of Astronomy, SETI scientist Seth Shostak wrote an article about his dream scenario: one in which astronomers, after years of searching, actually find evidence of an intelligent extraterrestrial society. “What happens when we detect alien life?” details not just the official procedure scientists and the government will follow but also the way people like you might react to the news. After all, if we learn that we are not alone in the universe, the lives of those stuck on Earth — and their interactions with each other — surely will change.
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