What will happen when we manage to contact extraterrestrials? What consequences will it have for humanity? How can we prepare for that? Sputnik did these and other questions to the sociologist Michael Schetsche, author, along with Andreas Anton, of the publication ‘An alien society’. Introduction to exosociology. ‘
The exosociology, the doctrine that Schetsche and Anton drink from, studies the possible paths that the future interaction between the terrestrial civilization and another, also intelligent, but extraterrestrial, could take.
As Schetsche reminds Sputnik, the first figure to speak of exosociology was the Soviet astronomer Samuil Aronovich Kaplan in the late 1960s.
Now, these and other issues related to unknown civilizations are again topical because “already 20 years ago we know that there are planets in space scattered everywhere.”And, as Schetsche recalls, according to the latest data, in our galaxy there are between 200,000 and 300,000 million planets. About 1% of these planets revolve around a star in an area where life is possible – known as a ‘habitable zone’.
It follows, as the sociologist explains, that between one and three billion planets can be habitable. Will there be life in them?
“In every place on Earth where the conditions for life are met, there is all kinds of life,” warns Schetsche.
Signals, artifacts and direct contact
Schetsche has explained to Sputnik that he and his companion Anton contemplate three possible scenarios in case some intelligent extraterrestrial life can be contacted in some way.
1. Remote contact. In this scenario, the Earth would receive the distant signal of a lost and remote civilization. At this moment this is the only possible scenario that shuffles the US institute SETI-‘Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence’-, in charge of looking for extraterrestrial life.
2. Indirect contact through an artifact. In this scenario, we would contact them in the vicinity of the Earth when discovering some ancient probe or suspicious space debris. It would be artifacts that demonstrate the presence of an extraterrestrial entity that would have visited the solar system long ago. 3. Direct contact. In this scenario, we would contact them with nothing in between, directly with a flying object, on board which would be the extraterrestrials. It is not ruled out, however, that the spacecraft can be directed by artificial intelligence or by some type of machine.
Most likely, the contact is dangerous
Since we do not have any example of extraterrestrial civilization with which to elucubrate about possible contact, we must make use of episodes of history in which more advanced civilizations have contacted with other ‘less developed’, explains Schetsche to Sputnik. It is what he calls “asymmetric cultural contact”.
“The conquerors represented ‘the most technologically powerful civilization’ and repressed the representatives of the weakest civilization,” recalls the sociologist.
Remember also that, in those cases, the meeting between both cultures always had negative economic, political and religious consequences for the weakest civilization, which was not capable of “introducing new knowledge into its own conception of the world,” he says.
In the end, all this led to the destruction of that civilization. Taking into account the examples of that type, Schetsche believes that contacting an extraterrestrial civilization technologically superior to ours could have “serious consequences” for humanity.
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