Washington: The Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence (SETI) is planning to actively send messages from Earth (Active SETI) to detect possible extraterrestrial civilizations.
The ethical and sociological implications of this proposal have been analyzed by the neuro-psychologist Gabriel G. de la Torre, professor at the University of Cadiz and participant in previous projects such as Mars 500 or space psychology topical team project financed by the European Space Agency.
The professor sent a questionnaire to 116 American, Italian and Spanish university students. The survey assessed their knowledge of astronomy, their level of perception of the physical environment, their opinion on the place that things occupy in the cosmos, as well as religious questions - for example, "do you believe that God created the universe?" - or on the likelihood of contact with extraterrestrials.
The results indicate that, as a species, humanity is still not ready for trying to actively contact a supposed extraterrestrial civilization, since people lack knowledge and preparation.
It was deduced from the questionnaires, which will soon be available to everyone on line, that university students and the rest of society lack awareness on many astronomical aspects, despite the enormous progress of science and technology.
It also revealed that the majority of people consider these subjects according to their religious belief and that they would rely on politicians in the event of a huge global-scale crisis having to be resolved.
The results have been published in the journal Acta Astronautica .