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Announcement of evidence for aliens by 2020?


The prospects for "contact" with an extraerrestrial civilization have been the subject of endless speculation. It is generally agreed that no evidence of such civilizations exists. Indeed, the apparent lack of aliens, in conjunction with the known profusion of stars and planets, forms the basis for the so-called Fermi Paradox.

The announcement in the news media of the detection of an alien-generated signal, or some other strong evidence of an extraterrestrial civilization, would clearly generate quite a bit of interest. This would be especially true if the announcement was authorized by a reputable and authoritative source or coalition of sources. Examples might include NASA, NSF, ESO, IAU, AAS, etc. Depending on the content of the message, or on the nature of the evidence, societal implications could potentially be profound.

By December 31, 2019, will the New York Times publish an article suggesting that reasonable scientific evidence for an extraterrestrial civilization has been found?

Note that this question is not asking whether extraterrestrial contact will actually take place. Despite strong efforts at both peer review and confirmation, official press releases on scientific topics of public interest are sometimes more definitive in tone than is warranted by later consensus. The 1996 New York Times article describing evidence for fossil life in the Martian meteorite ALH 84001 is a good example. If you believe there is a negligible probability of actual aliens, your answer to this question amounts to your assessment of the probability that a widely publicized false alarm will occur.

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