First Contact: We'll Meet Aliens Soon, Then What?

As scientists seek extraterrestrial life, what would we do if we actually found it? How would we manage first contact, and could we even communicate with aliens? Franck Marchis, a senior planetary astronomer from the SETI Institute, unpacks the prospect with Andrew Harrison – and the idea aliens might already know we’re here, but we’re too boring for them to care.

“The most important question is intelligent life.” 

“This discovery will not be a big surprise for a lot of humans on this planet.” 

“If we find a civilisation slightly more advanced to us, maybe 100 years, they may be much more intelligent in terms of technology.” 

“We may not see them because perhaps their technology is invisible to us.” 

“We have been visible as a civilisation for at least 100 years, so they know we are here if they have slightly better technology.” 

“I believe that there is microbiological life everywhere, but the key thing is the I in SETI - intelligence.”

“It's obvious if you analyse our planet that there is a civilisation there.”

“Maybe the future of our civilisation is purely mechanical or technological rather than biological.”

Written and presented by Andrew Harrison. Lead Producer: Jacob Jarvis. Producers: Jacob Archbold and Jelena Sofronijevic. Assistant Producer: Elina Ganatra. Audio production by Jade Bailey. THE BUNKER is a Podmasters Production
Learn more about your ad choices. Visit