When you need a publicity pick-me-up, there are a couple of well-worn ideas that seldom fail: space aliens and extraterrestrial life.
And that’s what a NASA Planetary Science Division writer has done here with a “scenario analysis” called Would Contact with Extraterrestrials Benefit or Harm Humanity? That a group of three writers can tease out a 33-page paper on the consequences of E.T. to mankind is certainly a tribute to their academic perseverance. Although references to Star Trek, Contact, and K-PAX are made in the paper, Mars Attacks and Men In Black were noticeably (and tragically) absent. That simple error moves it out of the “A-paper” category; it’s like writing a military paper and failing to reference Clausewitz, Corbett, Mahan, or Sun Tzu.
Then there’s also the teaser that there may be water on Mars.
NASA: Water is life, so maybe there’s life on Mars. But we’ll need more money to keep working on this…
Still, E.T. speculation and water on Mars exploration are better uses of taxpayer money than The Man Who Cried Doom, “muzzled” NASA climate scientist James Hansen.