I have long had a nagging unease about the search for life in the Universe.
Apart from the various craft that Nasa has sent hurtling through space, there are numerous radio telescopes around the world transmitting signals in the hope that alien civilisations will contact us.
Is it such a good idea to be drawing their attention?
Fine, if we make contact with a benign species that subscribes to a compassionate lifestyle, universal peace and harmony, etc. That’s the kind of being we’d like to hear from.
But we just might be visited — or invaded — by beings that are as far removed from us intellectually as we are from other species on our own planet.
They could opt to avail of us in the way we have exploited the animal kingdom. And what could be our argument against that? On what ethical basis could we object to being subjected to the same treatment that we have meted out for so long to the “lesser species”?
Visualise the factories, breeding establishments and rendering plants built to turn us into dinner for our new masters.
No. I’ll not be popping open a bottle of champagne if the camera on Curiosity Rover transmits an image of a happy little green man or woman waving at us from Mars.
I’d be more inclined to reach for a bottle of the hard stuff.