Or, how to avoid a “Mars Attacks”-style bloodbath when we eventually encounter extraterrestrials.
While we haven’t seen any signs of extraterrestrial beings on the galactic horizon just yet, some scientists have mounted a serious effort to prepare for their arrival. One of the biggest conundrums post-encounter, and one that a raft of sci-fi movies seem to fail miserably at solving, is how to avoid a Mars Attacks-style bloodbath and the potential end of our civilization.
One solution might be: Instead of engaging in warfare, why not try trading with aliens instead? That’s the idea put forth by Daniel Helman, professor of Labor Relations and Trade Unions at Ton Duc Thang University in Vietnam. We’ve even got a commodity here on Earth worthy of an intergalactic trade agreement, Helman says: DNA—from animals, plants… even us.
Helman proposed the idea at the International Space Development Conference in Los Angeles in May. When I talked to him on the phone afterward, he explained why the usual Earthling trading goods—tools, weapons, or technology—just wouldn’t cut it with extraterrestrials. Any alien civilization that makes contact with Earth is probably way more advanced than us, and wouldn’t be interested in our technological relics, he said. They ...