Astronomers and Hollywood directors have long imagined what contact with extraterrestrial intelligence might mean for the future of humanity. But a new study concludes after decades of searching, we may be doomed if they find us.
The controversial Acta Astronautica report evaluates the probability of various contact scenarios. The report is titled "Would Contact with Extraterrestrials Benefit or Harm Humanity? A Scenario Analysis."
International Business Times reports that researchers Seth Baum, Jacob Haqq-Misra and Shawn Domagal-Goldman support the theory that "aliens might destroy life on Earth or plan to eat or enslave humans if they sense our civilization was expanding too rapidly and could harm others."
"[T]he extraterrestrials might proceed to kill, infect, dissect, conquer, displace or enslave us, stuff us as specimens for their museums or pickle our skulls and use us for medical research," the study reads.
The 33-page report is creating such a national stir, NASA is attempting to distance itself from the research after media outlets found out that one of the authors is a postdoctoral student working for the agency. The Drudge Report picked up the study findings and originally mis-stated "NASA REPORT: Aliens may destroy humanity to protect other civilizations ..."
But do we actually have a reason to fear an alien-lead doomsday? While science fiction authors and celebrity physician Stephen Hawkings say "yes," public reaction of the report ranges from outrage to amusement. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman even suggested a fake alien invasion might breathe new life into our economy.