E.T. Expert Says Alien Invasion is Unlikely

June 15, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. extraterrestrial (adj.) 
[ek-struh-tuh-res-tree-uhl] – originating from outside the planet Earth (often shortened to E.T.)
Example: Witnesses believed the unusual object flying in the sky was an extraterrestrial aircraft.

2. terrorize (v.) [ter-uh-rahyz] – to cause widespread fear (usually in order to control or dominate)
Example: The soldiers terrorized the villagers into following their orders.

3. at odds (idiom) [at odz] – in disagreement or at conflict
Example: Scientists are at odds whether aliens are real or not.

4. venture (v.) [ven-cher] – to go on a journey
Example: They were the first group to venture to the top of the tallest mountain.

5. strip (v.) [strip] –  to remove or to take away something from a person or a thing
Example: A long dry season could strip the land of water resources.

Read the text below.

Science fiction movies showing angry aliens who want to take over Earth is far from reality, says extraterrestrial life researcher Jill Tarter of the SETI Institute in California.

Tarter disagrees with the possibilities shown in movies such as "Battleship" and "Men in Black", in which aliens terrorize humans and violently take over Earth for its resources. Tarter says that if aliens have advanced enough technology to be able to visit this planet, they likely would not need humans, or any other planet to provide their needs.

Her theory is at odds with Stephen Hawking’s belief. Hawking, a well-known astrophysicist, warns that aliens may venture to Earth and strip it of its resources.

Tarter, outgoing director of the Center for SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), says that she respectfully disagrees with Hawking. She believes extraterrestrial beings may venture to Earth just to see and learn what is here. She adds that the universe is much too old, and humans are probably not the first people aliens meet.

At 68, Tarter is retiring after 35 years of studying the skies for alien life. However, she plans to continue devoting herself to E.T. hunting. She will help raise money to re-open the Allen Telescope Array—radio telescopes used for alien searching—which shut down due to lack of funds.

In SETICon II later this month, Tarter, along with other scientists, artists, and entertainers, will have discussions about the place of humanity in the universe and the future of the search for extraterrestrial life.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A 

      Which theory do you agree with, Tarter's (aliens will be peaceful) or Hawking's (aliens will be harmful)? Why?
      What do you think is the importance of searching for extraterrestrial life? Do you think it is worth spending money on?

Discussion B

      Why do you think media (movies, TV, comics, etc.) often show aliens at war with humans?
      If aliens were to visit Earth, what do you think they would learn about human society?


June 15, 2012