The United Nations has prepared for a visitation of aliens on Earth by selecting a designated “first contact coordinator.” Her name is Mazlan Othman, a hitherto obscure Malaysian astrophysicist.
Mazlan Othman does have quite a few qualifications for dealing with the arrival of aliens to this planet. According to the the Sunday Times:
“Othman previously ran Malaysia’s national space agency and oversaw the flight of her country’s first astronaut.
“As director of Unoosa, she has developed policies on issues raised by advances in space technology, such as how humanity should respond to the discovery of asteroids and comets found to be on a collision course with Earth.”
Mazlan Othman official title is “Director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs” Othman has already started to draw up procedures about how to deal with an alien visit.
“Ms. Othman’s first job could be to protect aliens from humanity, rather than the reverse. Under the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, which Ms Othman’s office oversees, UN members agree to protect Earth against contamination by alien species by ‘sterilising’ them. Ms Othman is understood to want a more tolerant approach.
“Her plans to make her department the co-ordinating body for dealing with alien encounters will be debated by UN scientific advisory committees and should eventually reach the body’s general assembly.”
Scenarios of alien first contact with the Earth have been the subject of science fiction literature and film for decades. Whatever Mazlan Othman’s procedures are for dealing with such first contact will largely depend, one would imagine, on the intentions of the aliens.
If the aliens are peaceful, one would imagine that the first step would be to establish a communications. An alien language, whether vocal or by some other means, would have no relationship with any human language. Possibly a new common language based on mathematics, the principles of which are universal, would have to be developed.
Then what would happen is anyone’s guess. A world tour by the alien visitors? Negotiations to enter the Galactic Federation? Exchanges of scientific knowledge and works of artistic and cultural interest? It would be anyone’s guess, depending on the purpose of the visit.
Of course if the aliens are hostile and want to conquer or destroy us, something depicted in “War of the Worlds” and “Independence Day”, likely Mazlan Othman’s services will not be needed, except maybe to negotiate a surrender.
But what if the situation was between “We want to be friends” and “Surrender Earthlings”? Here we have two scenarios.
What if, in the style of “The Day the Earth Stood Still”, the aliens came to warn us to stop whatever bad behavior that was bothering them, say war, environmental degradation, or Keynesian economics? Would Mazlan Othman’s job then be not only to communicate with the aliens, but also with the Earthlings to try to accommodate their demands and at the same time figuring out if the aliens’ demands are legit?
The mind boggles at the scale of that job.
Then there is the idea that the aliens may be just here to buy and sell things, say in the style of sea faring merchant adventurers of old. One could imagine the aliens selling goods and services like cures for diseases, food replicators, tourist packages to all the hot spots of the Galactic Federation, and so on. In that case, perhaps an astrophysicist may not be the best person for dealing with the aliens. Perhaps a capitalist with experience in negotiating deals would be the best person. Warren Buffet, Donald Trump, or Bill Gates for preference.
Source: The UN is to appoint an astrophysicist to be the first contact for any aliens, Jonathan Leake, The Sunday Times, September 26th, 2010