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How Should We Prepare for Aliens to Arrive on Earth?

How Should We Prepare for Aliens to Arrive on Earth? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Illustration by Be Boggs.

Moderated by Julian E. Barnes, National Security Reporter, New York Times

Zócalo Public Square values audience safety. During events at ASU California Center, only clear bags (maximum size 12” x 6” x 12”) and small clutches (maximum size 8 ½” x 5 ½”) are permitted in the venue. All bags are subject to search. Questions? Ask us at events@zocalopublicsquare.org.

Since the beginning of time, people have gazed up at the stars and wondered: Are we alone in the universe? Now, this question is stoking controversy as the U.S. military continues its release of videos showing “unidentified aerial phenomena”—about which former President Barack Obama admitted, “We don’t know exactly what they are.” It’s time we put together a game plan—preferably one we can all agree on—to guide us when extraterrestrial guests ultimately do arrive. What will contact with a new intelligent lifeform mean for humanity’s future? Can the close encounters Hollywood has imagined help us plot our way forward? And, is it possible that humanity will find unity in how we present ourselves to the new arrivals?

Senior operations specialist Corey Gray of LIGO Hanford Observatory, ASU astrobiologist and theoretical physicist Sara Imari Walker, and Afrofuturist poet, fiction writer, and editor Sheree Renée Thomas visit Zócalo–not to discuss whether there is life out there, but to reflect upon how we should prepare to meet it.

This event is a part of Experience ASU, a month-long series marking Arizona State University’s expansion in California.

ASU California Center
1111 South Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90015

The Takeaway

tktk | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

What Will First Contact Be Like?

Imagining the Alien Arrival Is a Creative Endeavor—One That Might Just Bring Humanity Together

An “ineffable sense of wonder” filled last night’s Zócalo event, “How Should We Prepare for Aliens to Arrive on Earth?,” an event produced as part of Experience ASU, a month-long …