Are there contingency plans for contacts with extraterrestrial aliens?

Before you think: “There’s another one who didn’t take his pills today”, please hear me out.

The idea that there is a chance that humans could one day could get into contact with extraterrestrial aliens (or that maybe this has already happened) is usually considered something that is only on the minds of Sci-Fi buffs or bona fide crazy people.

On the other hand, this issue is a subject which is discussed at least on a theoretical level by mainstream academia:

Both Voyager spacecrafts contained among other things a message by President Jimmy Carter:

The President certainly didn’t lend himself to a silly PR stunt, one has to assume that President Carter was advised that this was a reasonable thing to do.

Now here’s the question: Does the government, and by that I mean, any branch, the military, law enforcement, State Department, FEMA, Department of Justice, Department of Energy etc., consider the extremely remote possibility of a contact with extraterrestrial aliens serious enough to plan for such an event? Are there contingency plans for the day when a fleet of alien space ships shows up in the skies, Independence Day (the movie) style or, less dramatic, radio receivers all over the world suddenly start picking up a constant stream of messages?

One aspect probably is that the mere notion of the government considering aliens from outer space something to be reckoned with could easily be ridiculed and become fodder for all sorts of jokes. If there was no other reason to keep contingency plans secret, this would definitely be one.

(Please no conspiracy theories, stories of UFO abductions, Area 51 etc.)

I would be amazed if there hasnt been at least some small level of planning for such an event, though I’m also sure we won’t have confirmation, as its likely very highly classified.

It’s almost a certainty that extra terrestrial life exists, it’s more a question of the likelihood of them being able to accomplish interstellar travel and notice us. Those two things are far less likely than advanced alien life.

I don’t think there’s anything at all crazy about your question, or even about the notion that we may someday be visited. The craziness is when people point to any blurry photo and say, “Aha! Aliens! And the gummint is covering it all up!!!”

Regarding your question:


Since we don’t have the slightest idea what aliens look like or how they can act, preparation for a visit would be near-impossible.

Couple that with the highly unlikely possibility of a visit in the near future, and our attention and money is better spent elsewhere.

Let me know if anything changes.

I’m definitely not arguing that the government should indeed make it a priority to prepare for the contact with aliens.

The point is: How likely is it that this actually being done? Is there perhaps right now a junior officer in the Pentagon sitting at his desk preparing a memorandum about this topic? In the not too distant past, there were American contingency plans for a possible invasion of Canada and a war with Britain, also a rather crazy idea if you think of it.

That’s the kind of plan I was thinking about.

But a PR “stunt” is exactly what it was.

No scientist involved actually thought this thing would be picked up by extra terrestrials. A tiny spec, in the vastness of space? Heck, it’s been decades and the thing is still in our solar system, and it’ll likely be a relative stone throw’s away from us even millenia down the line.

I think preparations for a signal from space, like the ones outlined by SETI are probably the best you’re going to get. It’s possible governments might have some sketched out plans in case of actual visitors - probably something similar to some sort of natural disaster scenario in case of the worst happening, but really, in the case of a UFO, we’re basically stuck responding to whatever the aliens decide to do.

We couldn’t possibly hope to defend ourselves against a species that has mastered interstellar space travel. It’d be like native Americans back in the 15th century trying to defend against a modern fleet complete with aircraft carriers and laser guided bombs. We just better hope they’re friendly or indifferent.

Shazbot, i hope so.

Personally, I am going to hide behind the sofa.

I’d say: duck and cover

So basically, it’s fair to conclude: The possibility of a contact with aliens is so out of this world (so to speak) that it doesn’t make any sense whatsoever to give it any serious thought, except in philosophical discussions and while procrastinating on internet message boards.

People are constantly saying that, but I disagree. Let’s say, for a second, that we’re the ones that mastered intergalactic travel and that we descended on another planet that A)had life and B) could support our life. In all likelihood, it would only be a few people and they’d be traveling so lightly that they’d be forced to leave the laser guided missiles and nuclear bazookas at home. We’d probably be at their mercy. Who’s to say that wouldn’t be the case if someone landed here.
I’m not saying it’s going to be the case, but it seems like there’s always the assumption that if someone lands here they’ll automatically posses the ability to kill us all in a matter of minutes no matter what we do.
Yes, as of right now, if someone landed here, they’ve clearly bested us in interstellar travel, but who knows, maybe they don’t have weapons, maybe they didn’t come prepared, maybe they’re some kind of idiot (space traveling) savants, maybe traveling through space is ‘native’ to this species and it’s just how they move around (as in, they don’t need an atmosphere to live/breathe).
As far as a contingency plan, I’m sure there’s something in writing somewhere. Probably just a few pages tucked into a classified binder somewhere that the president may not even know about other then to know that there’s a plan in place. I would guess that it’s to attempt to establish contact however the appropriate people see fit, decide if they’re hostile or peaceful, if they appear to want to harm us, do what we can to destroy the threat otherwise we continue to maintain contact…or something like that. IOW, let them make the first move, but destroy them at the first sign of a threat. But if anything goes wrong, they (whoever gave the orders) needs to be able to say they did everything by the book.

i’ve got a board with a nail in it.

Is it rusty? I hear tetanus isn’t very pleasant.
You could put it right by the stairs from their spaceship. Maybe they’ll step on it.

So this is your plan?

Mutli-tenacled green giant aliens with 1920’s style Death Rays invade Earth, and you’re going to put a board with a nail in it at their landing ladder?

Oh, a *rusty *nail!
We’re safe, then.

Well, not if you keep talking about it, they’re probably reading this.

Oh, shit.

I think this is just a misconception of people coming out of too many Michael Bay movies.

Interstellar travel is so beyond us, it’s, well it’s science fiction. And it’s not fiction that may become reality 100 years from now, I doubt even a millenia of technologicla advancement can actually have us traveling to other star systems.

It would be a colossal endevour, probably a global effort, and would necessitate incredible new technologies.

If the aliens were hostile, I really doubt that we would pose any threat to them whatsoever. And NO, we won’t be crashing their alien computers by uploading a virus from a Macbook.

I used to play science-fiction role-playing games with a bunch of military guys, including a naval academy instructor. These guys put together some rather detailed plans as just a minor point of backstory for the game.

And I have to tell you… BORING!

You have to realize that the plans they came up with are not really about dealing with aliens per se. They were very focused on the military’s chain of command, communications, logistics, crowd control, etc. They didn’t even ask “Can we nuke an alien mothership?” but were very interested in questions like “How many people can still use Morse code and semaphore in case our radios and computers are neutralized?” or “If we lose air superiority, how do we resupply toilet paper to personnel in Hawaii?” or “How many men are trained to handle riots in case of a civil disturbance?”

It should be obvious that loss of communication, air superiority and riot control are standard parts of existing contingency plans. In the thinking of these guys, aliens were just the root cause of problems that already had contingency plans.

They did come up with some ideas about first contact and rules of engagement that were particular to aliens, but it was nothing that would get Hollywood excited.

I saw a show on maybe discovery channel about this. Supposedly the military does have such a contingency plan to fight ET’s, which at its worst breaks down to our technology and most powerful weapons fails then every man take to the hills to organize and strike where possible as small independent gorilla forces.

Banana bazookas?