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Will We Survive First Contact?

from Through the Wormhole; One day, an alien spacecraft will pierce the clouds on an unexplored world, and the aliens might be us. Crossing the vast emptiness of space is not the only challenge of making first contact, we must also figure out what we're going to say when we get there. How does one communicate across language barriers? Here on Earth, our faces can express fear, love or happiness even better than words sometimes. But what ideas and emotions could we share with aliens - and how can we avoid sending the wrong message? Narrator of Through the Wormhole: Charles is confident that at first contact we will meet an intelligent race of predators that most likely developed a war-like culture, just like ours. Mike's finding shows that the building blocks of DNA could be scattered all over the galaxy, that DNA might be the basis not just of life on Earth, but of alien life as well. The impact of a first contact would be absolutely stupendous, on the level of the discovery of fire.
  Will We Survive First Contact? find answers from scientists Charles Cockell, Michio Kaku, Laurance Doyle, John Brophy, James Kakalios, Paul Davies, Michael Callahan
A Type-3 civilization could control the power of an entire galaxy
A Type-3 civilization could control the power of an entire galaxy


A chance to make contact
A chance to make contact


Through the Wormhole Will We Survive First Contact picture
Picture of Through the Wormhole Will We Survive First Contact


Contact could be with our distant cosmic cousins
Contact could be with our distant cosmic cousins
  Narrator of Through the Wormhole Will We Survive First Contact episode: If we spent all of our waking hours eating the pounds of grass it takes just to power our brain, we would have little time for the imagination and ambition that sent us to the moon. But nature provides a solution. It's not pretty, but it is a fact of life ... Our massive brains require colossal amounts of energy - and being a predator is the cleanest, quickest and most effective way to acquire the energy necessary for advanced intelligence, whether human or alien. Charles Cockell, guest at Through the Wormhole: Intelligent creatures, particularly very intelligent creatures, would be predatory. They would be at the end of a food chain and they would eat other creatures that would eat other creatures. So they're bound to be predatory in some way. Charles Cockell: Conflict in human beings is definitely linked to predation. It's all about grasping territory, it's all about having resources and commanding those resources in times of famine or in times of difficulty. Narrator: Predatory aliens who show up on our doorstep may well be in need of new resources. If so, the existence of humanity could be in jeopardy. Narrator: But what if aliens cannot or will not meet us face-to-face? There is still a chance to make contact - because aliens could've already sent us a message, hidden on Earth for hundreds of millions of years ... If you compress the entire history of planet Earth into 24 hours, human beings would only appear in the final few seconds. If aliens have already come here, we probably were not around to greet them. But, what if they left a record of their visit? Where would it be? One scientist thinks he may have found it hiding inside us all.     Michio Kaku, guest at Through the Wormhole: We physicists like to classify alien civilizations in outer space by energy. A type-1 civilization harnesses planetary power. They can, for example, control hurricanes, control volcanoes. Type-2 could control an entire star. They play with stars. Type-3 controls the power of an entire galaxy. On this cosmic scale of energy, what are we? Do we control hurricanes and volcanoes? Do we play with stars? Do we roam across the space-lanes of the galaxy? No, we are type zero. We don't even rate on this scale. Paul Davies, guest at Through the Wormhole: Imagine that there is some way that we could etch, or embellish, the fundamental structure of DNA with some sort of message - in such a way that it didn't compromise the functionality of the organism. Then it could endure for tens of millions of years or even longer. Narrator: Paul believes that long ago alien genetic engineers could have rearranged sequences of DNA inside living organisms on Earth, maybe in our earliest mammalian ancestors. Their descendents would carry the message through the eons unnoticed - until one of them is finally smart enough to sample his own DNA and read the message. Michael Callahan, guest at Through the Wormhole: People have found lots of interesting molecules, such as amino acids, which are the building blocks of your proteins, another essential molecule, in meteorites for years. But there was always this missing puzzle piece with nucleobases. That's been a scientific question that's been out there for over fifty years. Michael Callahan: We find these simple building blocks, these nucleobases, like adenine and quinine, in meteorites.
List with pictures of the scientists, in order of their appearance in Through the Wormhole Will We Survive First Contact? documentary, who share us their knowledges:
Charles Cockell
Charles Cockell (professor of astrobiology, University of Edinburgh)
  Michio Kaku
Michio Kaku (physicist, string field theory, City University of New York)
  Laurance Doyle
Laurance Doyle (astrophysicist, SETI Institute)
  John Brophy
John Brophy (Jet Propulsion Laboratory Pasadena, California)
  James Kakalios
James Kakalios (physics professor at the University of Minnesota)
  Paul Davies
Paul Davies (physicist, cosmologist, astrobiologist)
  Michael Callahan
Michael Callahan (chemist, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)
   
Narrator: The same molecules that make up the DNA common to all life on Earth have existed in outer space for billions of years. They were created when our solar system formed. Narrator: Nucleobases are the letters of DNA : A, G, C and T - the molecules that zip together the double helix. For decades, biochemists have struggled to synthesize them and puzzled over how they could have been created on our primordial Earth. But in Mike's meteorite tea, the answer may finally have arrived. Michael Callahan: It's amazing when you start looking at what's inside these meteorites, what you actually truly find - and now we're looking at this and thinking "Well, if these meteorites are coming in to Earth and now they're being scattered everywhere in the solar system, everywhere in the universe, I think maybe aliens do look very similar to us because maybe we're all composed of the same building blocks." Paul Davies, guest at Through the Wormhole Will We Survive First Contact: We would have access to new technologies that would solve some of our immediate problems. But, the big problem is, we'd also need to have the wisdom to be able to implement those changes in a way that won't cause massive economic and social disruption. That wisdom part is really difficult.
Executive Producer of Through the Wormhole Will We Survive First Contact: James Younger, Morgan Freeman, Tracy Mercer, Lisa Andreae; Producer: Anthony Lund; Field Producer: Savas Georgalis; Editor: Gillian McCarthy; Executiv in Charge of Production: Erika Schroeder; Post Producer: Cory McCrum; Main Title Theme by Hans Zimmer; Music by Hans Zimmer and Jacob Shea; Music Editor: David Paul Dorn; Associate Producers: Andrea Anderson, Amy Kagelmacher; Production Manager: David Kraemer; Right & Clearances: Katie Del Core; Director of Photography of Through the Wormhole Will We Survive First Contact: Kris Denton, John Lawrence, Mark Trottenberg, Jason Newfield, Chris Phillips, Andrew Begg; Post Supervisor: William Hoppins; Assistant Editors: John Dentlinger, Freddie Harris; Visual Effect by ENGINE ROOM; Visual Effects Supervisor: Adam Simpson; Visual Effects Producer: Dan Schmit; Visual Effects Coordinator: Sarah Mcanally; Audio Post Production: POST HASTE SOUND; Video Post Production: MTI FILM; Re-recording Mixer: Rick Ash; Supervising Sound Editor: Eric Raber; Colorist: Troy Davis; Production Accountant: Barbara Tillman; Archivist: Andy Zare; Production Assistant: Pat Mcgrath; Footage & Images Provided by Dustin Farrell, Eric Hines, ESA/HUBBLE, NASA, SETI INSTITUTE; Special Thanks to ARCATTACK; For Science: Executive Producers: Bernadette Mcdaid, Rocky Collins, Deborah Adler Myers; Coordonating Producer: Lindsey Foster; Vice President of Production: Bernadette Mcdaid; General Manager/EVP of Programming: Deborah Adler Myers; Produced for Science by Revelations Entertainment & The Incubator; @ 2012 DISCOVERY COMMUNICATIONS, LLC