Last month we brought you a story about a contest designed to lend 50,000 people the voice to send transmissions and possibly make contact with an alien race to mark the 50th anniversary since the SETI program began. But what exactly did the human race find important to say as a potential first impression between mankind and an alien intelligence? Some of the responses the contest got may shock you.
When asking what the intentions of a visiting alien race are, it is certainly noteworthy and a worthwhile endeavor to attempt to find out the reverse. After-all, can a species’ mental affiliation be so uniformed that its intentions can be defined with such distinction and accuracy with one concept? The traditional “we come in peace,” unfortunately would likely be met with a response, “how many of you?” So it is with this in mind that SETI’s contest to discover what the average person would say to a race of aliens is met with intrigue and curiosity, and the shocking results are all the more perplexing.
The messages were beamed out two days ago after a team designated which contest entries were the most worthy, from BT’s Goonhilly Earth Station located in Cornwall. There was a firm belief by many that the entries would largely be of a spiritual and/or technological nature, attempting to unify the two races into one to reach out across planetary borders and hope to rebuild a greater understanding of all life, rather than merely the competitive aspects life on Earth has so well nurtured. Few within the contest actually suspected anything close to what would eventually be submitted as first contact from Earth to the stars.
“Please kill us now… have no mercy,” was the entry from one submitter from Indiana. After a shocked silence of contemplation about the mental state of an individual who wishes to really urge an alien race to wipe out everything and everyone he knows. Several other entries were equally disturbing. Though they may have been intended as a joke, an alien race with virtually no understanding of human culture could easily be misinterpreted as an intergalactic plea from a dying civilization. Of course it’s also possible an equally self-deprecating alien race would find this amusing and decide misery loves company. Is it possible, however, that the self loathing nature many people feel within society are a symptom of societal problems rather than an inherent and human trait?
Some of the messages, however, were more positive and/or productive. “Four Trillion Tons of Carbon Emissions for sale. Must pick up. No delivery,” was an interesting take on the greenhouse gas problem. The winners of the contest were largely based on humanity’s hospitality, and thankfully less apocalyptic. First place went to one college from an Essex College, “Greetings from the pupils of GGSK College, Chigwell, Essex. Why don’t you visit us one day , there is ample landing space for one spacecraft on the roof. Please come on Friday, when we have chana and puri for school dinners. It is especially tasty.” The line is not only a welcoming invitation, but could open up a dialogue between an alien race and humanity about cultural differences and, more importantly, similarities.