First Contact and ETIs
In cinematography the First Contact with an Extraterrestrial Intelligence (ETI) is often represented in two ways.
On the one hand, we have violent invasions. In this case “bad aliens” attack planet Earth to plunder raw materials.
On the other hand, we find “wise aliens” that smoothly conduct the so-called First Contact apparently without a substantial reason, sometime just to meet mankind.
The first scenario seems to be very questionable, mainly for two reasons.
Firstly, raw materials, especially those needed to sustain life forms, appear to be widespread in the cosmos such as water (in the form of ice) and carbon. So should be excluded a course of action like that adopted by Europeans when arrived on America in the 15th century.
Secondly, technologies needed to design and build huge mother spaceships, like those seen in movies such as “Independence Day” or “Arrival” (the last one of the sequence), and capable of making the Interstellar Travel, require the joint effort of a cohesive planetary society. I refer to a society that has eliminated social divisions, where individuals do not crave power and luxury, and civilization has outweighed the risk of self-destruction.
The topic is very complex and encompasses various scientific disciplines from Physics to Sociology, through Biology and Psycology and many others.
Anyway, even in the second scenario emerge some matters.
FERMI PARADOX again!
The main issue is: why technologically advanced civilizations able to perform the Interstellar Travel, should reveal themselves at primitive civilizations like ours? instead of begin relationships with civilizations similar to them?
Actually, the technological and cognitive gap with ETIs could provide a possible solution to the famous Fermi Paradox or to the so-called “Great Silence”.
Therefore, we have reason to believe reasonable that, even if, according to the current values associated to the factors of the Drake Equation, the universe is statistically populated by a number of ETIs much of which more highly developed, for many years to come, if not centuries, we will not see mother spaceships flying in our skies.
In fact considering that the dominant civilization on Earth is still intent on conducting fratricidal wars and on pollute vastly the home-planet, would be very strange to consider compelling to begin here some “cultural” relations.
Finally, the hypothesis of “good aliens” that roam the universe in rescuing of civilizations on the brink of self-destruction, as it happens in the movie “Arrival”, is not much convincing. Travel in space is very expensive…
Nowadays we recognize that the universe is filled with galaxies each containing billions of stars; almost every star is structured as a planetary system. Thanks to the discoveries of space telescopes we have clear evidences that planets in the habitable zone are common. The majority of planetary systems are older than ours, so is plausible to assume that if life is widespread in the universe ETIs are more advanced than us on astronomical scale (that means millions of years).
Therefore the question is: what kind of advanced technology own ETIs?
If ETIs have the technology of the Interstellar Travel and are able to move an entire civilization on board of colossal mother spaceships, it is obvious that they can defend themselves from any kind of weapon in our possession, so in case of confrontation humanity would have no chance to survive.
However, even if a primitive species such as ours has understood the need to avoid contaminating other worlds, in fact our space probes are carefully sterilized before launch in order to not bringing terrestrial microbes in space, definitely should be an attitude adopted by the most advanced civilizations.
In conclusion, if one day aliens will arrive on Earth in all probability it will be a peaceful experience, at least we hope!
Key words: First Contact – Prime Directive – Extraterrestrial Civilizations – Fermi Paradox – Arrival – Interstellar Travel – SETI – METI – ETI.
For further insights, the topic is presented in the book: Extraterrestrial Civilizations and The First Directive – A possible solution to the Fermi Paradox.