Alien civilizations may not wish to make contact with us in person, but send highly advanced robots to do so instead, a leading expert told Coast to Coast AM.
The senior astronomer at SETI (the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Seth Shostak told C2C that advanced extraterrestrial civilizations may not wish to make first contact with humans up close and personal.
Instead of a firm handshake, as an alternative, highly advanced aliens may launch "sophisticated computers" or robot probes as proxy emissaries to gather data from across the interstellar void.
According to Shostak, these aliens may not even be all that interested in us nor have the capabilities to traverse the vastness of deep space.
"That even applies to us," Shostak said.
"There was a conference here last weekend in Silicon Valley called the 100 Year Starship Conference," he elaborated, saying that within the next century, they would build "a rocket that could go to the stars".
Despite the ambitious proposal, critical difficulties may arise on such a voyage that could endanger the lives of the astronauts.
"Our sensor technology is advancing so much faster than our rocket technology," Shostak said. "Maybe the thing to do is don't put people in the rocket. They're very difficult to keep alive."
"Just send a lot of instrumentation. Send the robots and have the robots send back lots and lots of pictures. Then you can go there without actually going there."
In the meantime, SETI continues to scan the stars for a signal or message originating from deep space. And, if such a message is detected, Shostak revealed there is no "hot line" to immediately report their findings to the government.
"There are no rules that they tell us what to do if we found a signal," he said, adding that SETI is "a private, non-profit organization" – answerable to no one.
If they do receive a possible transmission, the first thing SETI would probably do, Shostak said, is to contact "another radio observatory and have them check out the signal" to confirm the findings, he said.
"And our experience in the past when we found signals that looked interesting is that the media starts calling us right away. There's no secrecy."