Last night I met someone who was really into aliens. I've been thinking about some of the things he said. He started by talking about the newly discovered planet Gliese 581g, which seems capable of supporting life. I'd read about this and told him that I didn't believe there to be any life. It's much bigger than earth and orbits very closely around it's star, meaning its atmosphere must be super dense and its soil must be sterile from all the radiation.
He remarked that the bigger implication was this: because we found this planet so close to us (20 light years away) and so early on in our search it must mean there are billions of similar planets capable of supporting life. And this must mean intelligent aliens exist somewhere. He then said he believed we made contact already and the governments of the world are conditioning the public to be ready for the announcement. Last week, the UN appointed an ambassador for alien contact, a Vatican astronomer told the press he would love to baptize an alien and former US military personal held a press conference -apparently broadcast live by CNN- where they informed us aliens had been watching our nuclear stockpile.
I asked him what was holding the governments back from just telling us and he envisioned worldwide riots, plummeting stock markets and mass panic if they announced alien contact now. I disagreed, I believe that we as a species are mature enough to deal with such info and would probably return to our normal daily routine minutes after such an announcement.
Where do you stand? Do you believe aliens exist and are visiting us? Do you believe people would panic if Obama reveals that he's been talking to little green men?