Feeds

UN appoints alien liaison boffin

'I for one would like to welcome...'

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

The head of the UN's Office for Outer Space Affairs is poised to become first point of contact for extraterrestrials.

Astrophysicist Mazlan Othman, 58, is concerned that we simply don't have a proper welcome mat ready to unroll when ET finally gets in touch - something she feels is ever more likely as we scour the skies for signs of non-human life.

According to The Australian, she recently told fellow scientists: “The continued search for extraterrestrial communication, by several entities, sustains the hope that some day humankind will receive signals from extraterrestrials. When we do, we should have in place a co-ordinated response that takes into account all the sensitivities related to the subject. The UN is a ready-made mechanism for such co-ordination.”

Professor Richard Crowther of the UK's Space Agency lent his support to the appointment, which requires ultimate UN approval. He said: “Othman is absolutely the nearest thing we have to a 'take me to your leader' person.”

Crowther doubts, though, that Othman will be required to shake hands personally with intergalactic envoys, since our "first contact" is likely to be via radio, and in any case much alien life is probably nothing more than microbes.

This view is not shared by professor Stephen Hawking, The Australian notes. He recently warned: “I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet.

"The outcome for us would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn't turn out very well for the native Americans.”

The native Americans, of course, didn't have the benefit of a "co-ordinated response" fronted by an astrophysicist, and we're sure Othman has a diplomatic strategy in place to spare humanity subjugation by fleets of enormous astrocruisers packed with pitiless, resource-hungry lizard creatures. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
Relive the death of Earth over and over again in Extinction Game
Apocalypse now, and tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that ...
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.