Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Dealing with Roswell

It is an event that has risen to the top of the pile of UFO reports and debates: a downed extraterrestrial spacecraft, alien bodies, and an extensive government cover-up. The incident at Roswell, New Mexico came to light with an interesting news release on July 8, 1947. Roswell Army Air Field reported that a “flying disc” had been found in a debris field on a ranch outside town. Roswell is the most hyped of the various UFO stories. It eventually turned into reports of alien autopsies and rumors that the government had discovered 11 UFO crash sites over the years.

Roswell itself has become a tourist attraction filled with UFO kitsch. The people who argue about government conspiracy, alien abductions and the like have been relegated to the fringe of society. First Contact would change all of that. Suddenly every one of these scenarios will be resurrected and brought forth. New accusations will surface. Various governments will be accused of cover-ups. The alien abduction and atrocity contingent will gain a new voice and new attention.

And perhaps they should?

Right now we can scoff and say “show me the evidence”. The skeptics are correct: if there has been contact with Earth then why is it always held in the shadows and away from the general public? Why is there not one bit of physical evidence to support such claims?

Carl Sagan did plenty in his lifetime to take a rational look at the UFO report phenomenon. In the end he landed on the side of the skeptics. He took up the subject in an essay entitled “Has the Earth been visited?”

“My own view is that there are no cases that are simultaneously very reliable (reported independently by a large number of witnesses) and very exotic (not explicable in terms of reasonably postulated phenomena-as a strange moving light could be a searchlight from a weather airplane or a military refueling operation).”

First Contact changes everything. When extraterrestrial life visiting Earth becomes a fact, all of these other issues come back to the surface. And they will have to be confronted.
Let’s say that an extraterrestrial civilization lands on Earth and proclaims that this is the first time they have been here. Do we take them at their word? With all of the various alien abduction and landing reports we would have to re-examine the facts.

When the extraterrestrials are walking the Earth, saying hello, and flying a craft through the atmosphere it will be impossible to ignore the cries of those who believe aliens have been visiting and tampering with humans for some time. This will need to be acknowledged in any First Contact situation. A visiting extraterrestrial civilization will need to address the issue immediately and set the record straight with an exact accounting of all previous contact by any alien culture. This may not be easy. Perhaps there are dozens or hundreds of civilizations out there with the technology required to visit Earth? Perhaps the First Contact group is simply one civilization and others have been visiting? The First Contact group could have careful restrictions on human contact while some other society has been performing biology experiments on us for years.

Much of the responsibility for handling these questions will fall on the United Nations. I would think they would want to establish, and quickly, a task force of some sort to take up the claims and refute or support them. The First Contact civilization will undoubtedly have to participate in this action, even if they claim to have had no contact at all. There will have to be a process of raising all of the claims and then dismissing them one by one. Or perhaps even acknowledgement that previous contact did occur and exactly when, where and how that contact was conducted. No matter what the case the issue will need to be resolved. The world will not be able to move forward until all of this is put safely to rest in history.

There is much an extraterrestrial civilization will have to overcome in First Contact with the planet Earth. There are many years of scary science fiction movies, decades of UFO reports and all sorts of other conjecture that will have to be dealt with. Most of that can come from an honest, forthright discussion of the facts. This is one part of the information deluge that we should not hold back. There needs to be a complete accounting so that we can move forward with the real work. We cannot be good citizens of the universe until we know exactly how we got here.

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