Dateline: The New York Times, Thursday, December 15, 1960
Mankind is Warned to Prepare For Discovery of Life in Space
Brookings Institution Report Says Earth's Civilization Might Topple if Faced by a Race of Superior Beings
Washington. Dec 14 (UPI) -- Discovery of life on other worlds could cause the earth's civilization to collapse, a Federal report said today.
This warning was contained in a research report given to the National Aeronautical and Space Administration with the recommendation that the world prepare itself mentally for the eventuality. The report, prepared by the Brookings Institution, said "while the discovery of intelligent life in other parts of the universe is not likely in the immediate future, it could nevertheless, happen at any time." Discovery of Intelligent beings on other planets could lead to an all-out effort by earth to contact them, or it could lead to sweeping changes or even the downfall of civilization, the report said. Even on earth, it added, " societies sure of their own place have disintegrated when confronted by a superior society, and others have survived even though changed."
Responding to Crisis
"Clearly, the better we can come to understanding the factors involved in responding to such crisis the better prepared we may be." The agency's 100-page report, prepared at a cost of $86,000 was for the space agency's committee on beings-in-space studies. The members, headed by Donald M. Michael also recommended further study of other space activities, including the symptomatic and propaganda effects and the implications of communications and weather satellites. On the question of life in outer space, the report said that if intelligent or super-intelligent beings were discovered in the next twenty years they would probably be found by radio communications with other solar systems.
Evidence of such existence "might also be found in artifacts left on the moon or other planets," it said. An attempt already has been made to contact outer space. Government scientist at Greenbank, West Virginia used radio astronomy in an effort to pick up signals that might have been beamed by intelligent beings. They concentrated on a star about fifteen light years away. Signals were sent from Greenbank were of a kind that would show to anyone receiving on other planets that they were man-made and not natural phenomena.