The Consequences of Contact

  • Michael A. G. Michaud


Those who have speculated about the consequences of contact have envisioned a wide variety of outcomes, from utopian to disastrous. Predictions have ranged from contact being a passing news event to it being the end of human existence. These speculations have become increasingly detailed— and discordant—since the radio search and the Space Age got under way in the 1960s. At one extreme of the spectrum are best-case scenarios; at the other, worst-case.


Alien Civilization Radio Message Greek Science Extraterrestrial Intelligence Extraterrestrial Civilization 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Ben Finney, “The Impact of Contact,” in Tarter and Michaud, editors, Acta Astronautica, Vol. 21 (1990), 117–121; quoted in White, 137.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Swift, 406; Sagan, The Cosmic Connection, 218; Sagan, “The Quest for Intelligent Life.”Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Sagan, editor, CETI, 353; Carl Sagan and Frank Drake, “The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence,” Scientific American, May 1975, 80–89; Sagan, “The Quest for Intelligent Life;” Drake and Sobel, 159.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Clarke, Greetings, 230; Billingham, et al., Social Implications, 50; Richard Berendzen, editor, Life Beyond Earth and the Mind of Man, Washington, DC, NASA (SP-328), 1973, 17; Harrison, After Contact, 315; Michael A.G. Michaud, The Consequences of Contact,” AIAA Student Journal, Vol. 15, Number 4 (Winter, 1977–78), 18–23.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Frank Drake, “In Which Klingons Become Chimeras,” Cosmic Search, Vol. 3, Number 1 (Winter 1981), 9.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Dyson, in Project Cyclops, 177; Albert A. Harrison, “Slow Track, Fast Track, and the Galactic Club,” paper prepared for the Foundation for the Future, 1998.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Arnold J. Toynbee, A Study of History, Vol. 9, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1954; McDonough, 216.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Steven J. Dick, “Consequences of Success in SETI: Lessons from the History of Science,” in G. Seth Shostak, editor, Progress in the Search for Extraterrestrial Life (1993 Bioastronomy Symposium), San Francisco, Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 1995, 521–532; Morrison, et al., editors, SETI, 8; Harrison, After Contact, 280.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Harrison, “Slow Track, Fast Track, and the Galactic Club.”Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Brin, “A Contrarian Perspective on Altruism;” Chris Boyce, Extraterrestrial Encounter, Seacaucus, NJ, Chartwell, 1979, 100.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Billingham, et al., Social Implications, 62.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Brin, “A Contrarian Perspective.”Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    White, 156.Google Scholar
  14. 4.
    Bracewell in Ponnamperuma and Cameron, editors, 116.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Personal communication, 18 September 2003.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Jean Heidmann, Intelligences Extra-Terrestres, Paris, Editions Odile Jacob, 1992, 11.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Trudy E. Bell, “The Grand Analogy: History of the Idea of Extraterrestrial Life,” Cosmic Search, Vol. 2, Number 1 (Winter 1980), 2–10. This article appeared previously in the August 1978 issue of the Griffith Observer, a publication of the Griffith Observatory.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Billingham, et al., editors, Social Implications, 34.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Billingham, et al., editors, Billingham 32.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    MacGowan and Ordway, 183, 235. Jack Cohen and Ian Stewart also concluded that we will meet mostly or entirely mechanical-electronic creatures. What Does a Martian Look Like? The Science of Extraterrestrial Life, Hoboken, NJ, Wiley, 2002, 308.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    A.A. Harrison and J.T. Johnson, “ETI: Our First Impressions.” 22. Francois Jacob, “Evolution and Tinkering,” Science, Vol. 196 (10 June 1977), 1161–1166; Darling, 118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 23.
    Casti, 392–393; Swift, 125, 273.Google Scholar
  23. 24.
    Swift, 83; Clarke, Greetings, 480. For galleries of alien types, see Ronald D. Story, The Encyclopedia of Extraterrestrial Encounters, New York, New American Library, 2001, 22–25, 27–28, 39–45.Google Scholar
  24. 25.
    Quoted by Clarke in Bova and Preiss, editors, 311.Google Scholar
  25. 26.
    Cohen and Stewart, 100–106, 297.Google Scholar
  26. 27.
    Swift, 322.Google Scholar
  27. 28.
    Billingham, et al., editors, Social Implications, 71–72, 116; Harrison, After Contact, 214; John Clute and Peter Nicholls, editors, The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, New York, St Martin’s Griffin, 1993, 15–19. Wayne Barlowe and others depicted imaginary aliens from popular science fiction works in Barlowe’s Guide to Extraterrestrials, New York, Workman, 1979, reprinted 1987.Google Scholar
  28. 29.
    Beck, in Regis, editor, 13; Boyce, 60.Google Scholar
  29. 30.
    MacGowan and Ordway, 235; Arthur C. Clarke, foreword to MacGowan and Ordway, v.Google Scholar
  30. 31.
    Koerner and LeVay, 213; Davies, Are We Alone?, 51-53; Grinspoon, 399.Google Scholar
  31. 32.
    Shostak, Sharing The Universe, 109.Google Scholar
  32. 33.
    Albert Harrison, After Contact, 222.Google Scholar
  33. 34.
    Billingham, et al., Social Implications, 70, 116.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael A. G. Michaud

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations