How Should We Prepare for Aliens to Arrive on Earth?

Event Date: 
Tuesday, September 27, 2022 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Event Location: 
ASU California Center
Presented by: 
Zócalo Public Square

Since the beginning of time, people have gazed up at the stars and wondered: Are we alone in the universe? Now, this question is gaining more heft as the U.S. military continues its slow drip release of declassified videos showing "unidentified aerial phenomena" — about which former President Barack Obama admitted, “We don't know exactly what they are.” It’s time we got a game plan together — preferably one we can all agree on — so we know what to do if extraterrestrial guests really do come here. What will the arrival of a new intelligent life-form mean for humanity’s future? Can the close encounters Hollywood has imagined help us plot our way forward? And, is it possible that humanity will find unity in how we present ourselves to the new arrivals? A panel including Adler Planetarium astronomer Lucianne Walkowicz and Ret. Lt. Gen. Robert E. Schmidle Jr., former deputy commander of the U.S. Cyber Command, visit Zócalo not to discuss whether there is life out there, but rather how we should prepare to meet it. Moderated by Julian E. Barnes, National Security Reporter for the New York Times.

Founded in 2003, Zócalo Public Square, now a unit of ASU’s Knowledge Enterprise, connects people to ideas and to each other by examining essential questions in an accessible, broad-minded and democratic spirit. At a time when our country’s public sphere and our global digital conversation have become ever more polarized and segregated, Zócalo seeks to create a welcoming intellectual space and engage a new and diverse generation in the public square. We pursue our mission by convening events and by publishing ideas, syndicated to 290 media outlets worldwide. Because democracy is as much a culture as it is a system, we believe that creating meaningful opportunities for citizens to communicate with — and learn from — one another both nurtures and protects it.