Are humans really prepared to meet an extraterrestrial civilization in this century? A new study suggests we're psychologically ill-prepared for this monumental event — and that the prominence of religious beliefs has a lot to do with it.
Despite the eerie Great Silence, there's good reason to suspect we'll eventually make contact with aliens. Our galaxy is absolutely littered with terrestrial planets, forcing us to continually update our odds of meeting an extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI). What's more, we're coming up with a slew of new ways to detect signs of alien life. Unquestioningly, first contact with an ETI would represent one of the most monumental things to ever happen to our civilization. Just the simple knowledge that they're out there has the potential to dramatically alter the course of history. And indeed, governments have established protocols for such an eventuality.