Sunday, September 26, 2010
Mazlan Othman, a Malaysian astrophysicist, may soon become Earth's first official ambassador to extra-terrestrial civilizations.
Most people aren't even aware that the United Nations has an Office of Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), which Othman is Director of. Discussions are currently underway for Othman and UNOOSA to become official representatives of Earth if and when formal diplomatic communications channels need to be established between ourselves and some other alien life forms. UNOOSA's global headquarters (pictured above) is an extraterritorial area, meaning that although it is physically located in Vienna, it is not subject to any local law. It is, like military bases and embassies, floating in a limbo of no fixed jurisdiction.
UNOOSA suggests that Kepler's recent discovery of hundreds of extrasolar planets makes the discovery of extraterrestrial life increasingly likely. Apparently they're serious enough about this to suggest that we need to be ready for aliens to arrive and say "take me to your leader" - Othman recently said in a speech that when extraterrestrial contact is made, "we should have in place a coordinated response that takes into account all the sensitivities related to the subject. The UN is a ready-made mechanism for such coordination."
This all comes not long after Stephen Hawking's recent controversial pronouncements about alien life. Hawking, widely regarded as one of the most brilliant minds of our planet, indicated that alien contact would almost certainly be a bad thing, because odds are good that their technology would be superior to ours and we would therefore assume a subservient role. Said he, "The outcome for us would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans."