Where The Search For Intelligent Life Ends
That era of catapults won't be of much use.
Until then, NASA reckons that they've discovered about 700 planets as of 2014, and that more than a few of them are in solar systems not terribly dissimilar to ours.
This of course boosts the postulations and speculations about there being other life forms out there, somewhere.
Believers in UFOs have been convinced of that from the first reported sightings. Some conspiracy theorists go so far as to suggest that a space ship with alien corpses crashed in New Mexico in '47, and the last Indiana Jones movie exposed their existence.
But NASA wants to tamp down the speculation that when/if aliens make first contact with us, they'll be like what Hollyweird has portrayed them as: little green men, or big headed ETs.
Some among the NASA "What If" staff believe that it is possible that today, among us, there are aliens who are spying on us as we live and breathe. South Park went so far as to suggest that Earth is a reality show for the cosmos, and lots of intelligent life out there looks in amusedly at the lack of intelligent life here.
If you've ever listened to recent public statements by Russell Brand, you'd have to agree with the cosmos on that point.
I had my pet rock, Seymour -- a 4.5 billion year old resident of this h'yar orb -- speculate hisself on that possibility, and it made him wish I hadn't disassembled the VCR remote that he'd converted into a home defense device, after watching a marathon of the The Outer Limits (TOS) a few years ago.
After a vaporized refrigerator, I reckoned we'd all be better off with it disabled.
But Seymour's acute eye for oddities did come up with some very distinct possibilities for alien infiltration within the human race. These are his suspicious characters that prove that while alien life is present, the intelligence of it is dubious at best:
So many questions remain about life on other worlds. Questions that might be answered in our lifetime, perhaps. But if NASA and my pet rock are correct, the examples of "ETs" we have among us thus far suggest that the universe is no better off than we are.