Airdate: Feb 03, 2010
Scientist: Jill Tarter
Kids' Science Challenge: SETI - News From ET
If aliens landed on Earth, how would you spend YOUR day?
JT: So if I told you we detected a signal from an extraterrestrial intelligence, would you go to school the next day?
JM: And how would you react to news of extraterrestrials contacting planet Earth? I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Jill Tarter is Director of the Center for SETI Research; that's the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. She's speaking with Kamau Hamilton, a winner in last year's Kids' Science Challenge, our free nationwide competition for 3rd to 6th graders.
KH: I might want to go to school, because everyone else would talk about it anyway; I don't know.
JT: I don't know is a good answer, because when we ask people who study how humans respond to things, they don't know either. If it lands in the United Statesmost people say they believe that there's life kind of like us out thereso they wouldn't be so startled or frightened, I would hope. I would hope that we would react respectfully. You can bet that pretty quickly there would be some form of authority, some police force, military reserve, coast guard would get involved, because that's how, just how we are. I would hope that we would react well, even though we would be startled. There are other places in the world where people actually might react in a far more positive way, because their culture is one that is more contemplative. There are places in the world that it might be pretty dangerous for them, because it's dangerous for us.
JM: In the Kids Science Challenge, kids come up with ideas or problems for scientists to solve. And if your idea is picked, you get to work with scientists and engineers to see the idea come alive. For more information, check out kidsciencechallenge.com. Pulse of the Planet's Kids' Science Challenge is made possible by the National Science Foundation.