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Science
15 Feb 2018

Aliens can destroy Earth without even setting foot here: Researchers

Alien messages should be destroyed immediately, researchers warn

After all these years, what if our first alien contact isn't via spaceships, but through messages?

And what if those messages had the capacity to destroy Earth?

Two astronomers have deduced it will be safest to simply destroy such messages, because there's no way to determine what they might contain: a simple "hello," a virus, or a powerful AI that can overpower mankind.

In context

Alien messages should be destroyed immediately, researchers warn
Why would aliens make contact through messages anyway?

Explanation

Why would aliens make contact through messages anyway?

In a paper titled 'Interstellar communication. IX. Message decontamination is impossible,' astronomers Michael Hippke of Germany's Sonneberg Observatory and John Learned of the University of Hawaii argued that contrary to popular theory, it is likely that the first alien contact happens through messages.

"After all, it is cheaper for ETI to send a malicious message to eradicate humans compared to sending battleships," they write.

Danger

But why should we be afraid?

Considering their intelligence (they were able to get the message to us in the first place), it is possible they send something harmful in the message, the researchers warned.

Even relatively simple messages, for example threats to destroy the sun, could unleash on earth.

So messages have to be "decontaminated" before we actually read them, but there's no foolproof way of doing so.

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Could simple texts be so harmful?

Code/AI

Could simple texts be so harmful?

There's a possibility that aliens could send a malicious code which might take down earth's computer network once it's run.

Or there might be a sentient AI which might manipulate people around it to get what it wants.

The astronomers suggested building a "prison" on the moon to contain the AI, but even then it could find a way to escape.

The ultimate dilemma: To follow or not to follow?

If we trade with the AI "which has no clear limit," we might be trapped, the researchers write. If it offers a cure for cancer which contains blueprints for nanobots, "should we build and release them even if we don't understand how they work?"

Conclusion

So should we just dump alien messages?

Eventually, the researchers admit that the potential rewards of opening an alien message are greater than risks, and so they should be read.

It could even let us build networks with aliens and gain unimaginable knowledge and resources.

But from our side, we shouldn't be transmitting codes, they advise. "Instead, a plain text encyclopedia, images, music etc. in a simple format are adequate."

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Most asked questions

What if they really exist and need human help?

Do aliens exist?

Are aliens real? What is the proof? Pleas add their image as a proof.

Can aliens send message to the researchers or to any citizen on earth?

What will happen if they set foot on earth?

When will these happen?

Have we ever received a message from aliens? And if so, how could we recognise?

First of all, do these experts know that aliens exist?

It's time to create a big SHIELD before aliens arrive or destroy us without setting a foot?

I don't understand how it is possible to send messages to aliens. Is there any picture of aliens, yet?

More questions

What if they really exist and need human help?

Asked on 17-02-2018 by Anonymous

Answered by NewsBytes

There is no conclusive proof that aliens even exist. The scenario, in which they exist and also need our help, looks a bit far fetched.

Do aliens exist?

Asked on 17-02-2018 by Anonymous

Answered by NewsBytes

There is no conclusive proof that aliens exist. However, there is a famous equation called 'Drake Equation' which estimates the number of communicating civilizations in the universe. You can read more about it here.

Are aliens real? What is the proof? Pleas add their image as a proof.

Asked on 16-02-2018 by Anonymous

Answered by NewsBytes

There is no conclusive proof that aliens exist and hence there is no picture of extraterrestrial creatures.

Can aliens send message to the researchers or to any citizen on earth?

Asked on 15-02-2018 by Anonymous

Answered by NewsBytes

For decades, some scientists believed that a 72 second radio burst received in 1977 was a proof of aliens sending us signals. This theory was later disproved in 2017. Having said that, radio signal is the way via which we try to contact aliens. If they have to send signals, they will probably use the same method. But your guess is same as mine.

What will happen if they set foot on earth?

Asked on 15-02-2018 by Anonymous

Answered by NewsBytes

There is no conclusive proof of whether even aliens exist or not, so it is almost impossible to hypothesize what would happen if aliens come on earth. However, if the current study by scientists from Sonneberg, Germany, and the University of Hawaii is to be believed, they can destroy humankind using AI even without setting foot on earth.

When will these happen?

Asked on 15-02-2018 by Anonymous

Answered by NewsBytes

This is only a theory which states that if aliens exist, they might be able to destroy humankind without setting foot on earth. We even don't know if they exist and hence to hypothesize this scenario and give a time frame for the same is impossible.

Have we ever received a message from aliens? And if so, how could we recognise?

Asked on 15-02-2018 by Anonymous

Answered by NewsBytes

Scientists are divided on the subject of aliens, from their existence to humans contacting them. In 1977, astronomer Ehman captured a 72-second burst of radio-waves ('WOW' signals). It was regarded as a proof that aliens exist. However, in 2017, another scientist gave a more plausible explanation behind these signals. In short, there is no conclusive proof that we have received a signal from aliens.

First of all, do these experts know that aliens exist?

Asked on 15-02-2018 by Anonymous

Answered by NewsBytes

Till now, scientists haven't been able to conclude with certainty that aliens exist. However, there is a famous equation called 'Drake Equation' which is used to estimate the number of communicating civilizations in the universe. It was first proposed by Frank Drake in 1961. You can read more about it here.

It's time to create a big SHIELD before aliens arrive or destroy us without setting a foot?

Asked on 15-02-2018 by Anonymous

Answered by NewsBytes

We are not even sure of existence of aliens. Even if they exist, how intelligent they are and what kind of a shield will protect us are impossible questions to answer. However, NASA is aware that we do need to protect Earth from any potential biological contamination brought back home from space. They have even released a job called Planetary Protection Officer.

I don't understand how it is possible to send messages to aliens. Is there any picture of aliens, yet?

Asked on 15-02-2018 by Mohammed Abbu Abrar

Answered by NewsBytes

As of now, there is no conclusive proof that aliens exist and there is no picture of extraterrestrial creatures. However, we have been sending radio signals to nearby stars since the last couple of decades. In 1974, scientists beamed a radio transmission from the Arecibo radio telescope. The message had information about our planets, DNA's structure and a cartoon-like picture of human being.

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