All About Space

Alien contact: who will be the first to know?

The news will hit a number of individual­s before the general public is informed


1 The discoverer

An extraterre­strial signal is detected! The discoverer will need to verify the signal several times before revealing to others that it might be a sign of intelligen­t alien life.

2 Seth Shostak, SETI Institute

As director of the SETI Institute, Shostak is likely to be one of the heads of the institutio­ns that are asked to independen­tly verify the signal.

3 The president

Once confirmed, national authoritie­s will have to be informed of the signal. In the US that would likely include the president, and in the UK, the prime minister.

4 António Guterres, secretaryg­eneral of the UN

Broader organisati­ons – including the United Nations – can now start to be told about the groundbrea­king new discovery.

5 You

Last, but by no means least, it will be time to publicly and officially inform the world of this amazing discovery – if it hasn’t been leaked by the media already.

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