In a decision that would have Gene Roddenberry spinning in his space urn (if it hadn’t burned up on re-entry) several UN scientific committees are set to discuss the possibility of appointing a full-time ambassador for alien affairs.
The holder of the position would be responsible for coordinating humanity’s response to alien contact and, presumably, would also need to know how to make the Vulcan peace sign.
The head of United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), Mazlan Othman, is the likely candidate to hold the inaugural position. This would mark UNOOSA’s first major foray into interplanetary diplomacy. The agency is currently tasked with “coordinating international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space,” which includes the important, albeit uninspiring, task of maintaining a list of objects launched into space.
The decision to discuss the appointment of a full-time first-contact officer apparently comes from the increasing use of satellite equipment designed to detect alien radio signals as well as the large number of extrasolar planets found in the past 10 years.
According to Othman, “The continued search for extraterrestrial communication, by several entities, sustains the hope that some day human kind will received signals from extraterrestrials.”
The discussion follows Professor Stephen Hawking’s warning earlier this year in which he said that “It would be ‘too risky’ to attempt to make contact with alien races.”