Q: If You Find Alien Life, Do You Have to Report It to the Government?

If You Find Alien Life, Do You Have to Report It to the Government? | WIRED

Via WIRED:  ‘First thing I did was call Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer at SETI. He laughed and said, “You’re certainly not obligated to report it: Theres no law, theres no policy. Nobody forces you to report that any more than you’re forced to report a sighting of a ghost or a leprechaun. But if you don’t tell anybody else, its just your story. And if nobody can verify what you saw, its not that meaningful … So if you didn’t tell, it wouldn’t do much good. And if you did tell someone, it usually doesn’t do much good anyway because theres usually very thin evidence.” I took this to mean that as far as he’s concerned, it doesn’t matter what you do—because you probably didn’t see anything anyway. To me, this is an argument for keeping it to yourself: Its probably nothing.

But then I called Mufon, the Mutual UFO Network, an organization that compiles and investigates these claims. You say it this way: “Moo-FAWN.” Mufon’s communications director, Roger Marsh, was adamant: Yes, you should report it. Mufon needs you to report it. “Its hard to study UFOs,” he said. Mufon is trying to make a rigorous scientific study of extraterrestrial sightings, but their sample size is inevitably very small; they need more people to come forward out of the darkness. And the more people who do, the less ridiculed they’ll be—the less lonely they’ll feel. And the easier it will be for the next person. This is a pretty good argument for reporting what you saw: It just might be something.

But no one thinks of these encounters from the aliens point of view—the risk that creature took, to fly beyond its frontiers and reveal itself to you. Maybe it took you aboard for a quick surgical analysis. And for what? When it returns and reports to the monarchs or venture capitalists that bankrolled its voyage, what sort of deliverables will it have to impress them? Maybe mass hysteria on our part is the only way to make alien investors feel they’re getting their moneys worth.Which is to say, maybe—just maybe—reporting an alien visitation actually encourages more alien encounters. Anyway, those are the facts, as best I can puzzle them out. I lean toward reporting. But now, at least, you can make an informed decision.’