If We Find Aliens, This Is The Protocol For Announcing It To The World
What if we come across aliens somewhere in the universe? Do we shake hands? Run? Set phasers to stun?
We're not sure how the first encounter will go down, but the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) Institute has a detailed plan for how to announce news of an extraterrestrial discovery.
The Truth Is Out There
The search for aliens is not new, and finding alien life isn't totally unthinkable. Mathematically, the likelihood that alien life exists is overwhelming (Fermi paradox, anyone?). A function of the IAA SETI Permanent Committee is to establish protocols to be followed by SETI (search for extraterrestrial life) scientists in the detection, analysis, verification, announcement, and response to signals from extraterrestrial intelligence. In 1989, the IAA adopted the Declaration of Principles Concerning Activities Following the Detection of Extraterrestrial Intelligence, which was revised in 2010. It's mainly referred to as The First Protocol today.
Step 1: FREAK. OUT.
You can read The First Protocol on the SETI Institute site, but we broke down the nine-item list in more easily digestible terms here: