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Experts Call On UN To Prepare For Extraterrestrials

Posted on: Monday, 10 January 2011, 09:35 CST

The United Nations (UN) should prepare a course of action, just in case the Earth should ever be contacted by extraterrestrials, scientists say in a new, extraterrestrial focused edition of the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A.

The special issue, according to Guardian Science Correspondent Alok Jha, focuses on “all aspects of the search for extraterrestrial life, from astronomy and biology to the political and religious fallout that would result from alien contact.”

The issue is currently available online and is dated February 13, 2011.

In one article, Professor John Zarnecki of the Open University and Dr Martin Dominik of the University of St. Andrews say that “a lack of co-ordination can be avoided by creating an overarching framework in a truly global effort governed by an international politically legitimated body.” The UN’s Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) is ready made for the task, they argue.

According to the organization’s official website, COPUOS was established by the UN General Assembly in 1959 in order to “review the scope of international cooperation in peaceful uses of outer space, to devise programs in this field to be undertaken under United Nations auspices, to encourage continued research and the dissemination of information on outer space matters, and to study legal problems arising from the exploration of outer space.”