By Miriam Kramer
Humanity should start thinking about how to interact with alien species long before coming into contact with extraterrestrial life, experts say.
Coming up with a strict set of guidelines that govern the way people on future interstellar space missions study and interact with aliens is imperative before anyone blasts off to a distant world, according to attendees at Starship Congress in August.
While a "prime directive" — the rule that prevented Star Fleet officers from interfering with the business of alien life-forms on TV's "Star Trek" — might be a little extreme, such a rule could help govern interactions between aliens and humans.
"In the event that we discover evidence of intelligent life on another world, that will be a social, cultural and technologically influential event to human affairs which will need to be managed with great care and to ensure our culture and their culture remains intact and not disrupted by this new knowledge," Kelvin Long, the founder of Project Icarus, said during a panel on Aug. 16. . . .
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