WASHINGTON. Dec. 14
(UPI) - Discovery of life on other worlds could cause the earth's civilization to collapse, a federal report said today.
This warning was contained in a research report given to the National Aeronautical and Space Administration with the recommendation that the world prepare itself mentally for the eventuality.
The report prepared by the Brookings Institution, said
"while the discovery of intelligent life in other parts of the universe is not likely in the immediate future, it could nevertheless, happen at any time."
Discovery of intelligent beings on other planets could lend to an all-out effort by earth to contact them, or it could lend to sweeping changes or even the downfall of civilization, the report said.
Even on earth, it added,
"societies sure of their own place have disinterated when confronted by a superior society, and others have survived even thought changed."
"Clearly the better we can come to understanding the factors involved in responding to such crises the better prepared we may be."
The agencies 190-page report, prepared at a cost of $36,000, was for the space agency's committee on long-range studies.
The authors, headed by Donald N. Michael, also recommenced further study of other space activities, including the diplomatic and propaganda effects and the implications of communications and weather satellites. On the question of life in outer space, the report said that if intelligent or semi-intelligent beings were discovered in the next twenty years they would probably be found by radio communications with other solar systems. Evidence of such existence
"might also be found in artifacts left on the moon ot other planets," it said.
An attempt already has been made to contact outer space.
Government scientist at Greenbank. W. Va., used radio antennas in an effort to pick up signals that might have been beamed by intelligent beings. They concentrated on a star about fifteen light years away.
Signals sent in from Greenbank were of a kind that would allow to anyone listening on other planets that they were man-made, not the result of natural phenomena.