Pretty soon the answer will be a Malaysian astrophysicist named Mazlan Othman, who’s expected to be appointed as the United Nation’s space ambassador for extraterrestrial contact affairs. That gives her the right to make the first official response to any travelling aliens.
Othman was Malaysia’s first astrophysicist, became the head of the country’s national planetarium (Negara) and launched the first Malaysian astronaut, Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, to the International Space Station in October 2007.
Now, Othman is the director of the UN’s Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA); a branch of the General Assembly, established in 1962. The office is responsible for promoting international co-operation and peace in dealing with outer space, and includes topics such as satellite navigation and space debris.
If approved, her latest role would place her as the go-to contact in the event of aliens making contact with earth. She’s got to pitch her new job title at a scientific conference at the Royal Society’s Kavli conference centre in Buckinghamshire next week, then if the idea is backed by the UN scientific advisory committees, it’ll be passed to General Assembly.
Othman recently gave a talk to fellow scientists, where she said that the continued search sustains the hope that “some day humankind will receive signals from extraterrestrials. When we do, we should have in place a coordinated response that takes into account all the sensitivities related to the subject”.
Stephen Hawking suggested earlier this year that aliens almost certainly exist, but cautioned humanity against making contact. He warned that extraterrestrial nomads could be “looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they can reach.”
By Mark Brown |27 September 2010
Taken from: http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2010-09/27/alien-ambassador