Add alien affairs to Twelfth Five-Year Plan, says Chinese sci-fi writer

08:24, March 15, 2011      

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China's most popular science fiction writer Liu Cixin has suggested adding alien affairs policy research to the country's Twelfth Five-Year Plan, adopted during the annual parliamentary session which ended here Monday.

"The suggestion might seem far out there, but an alien spaceship might hover right over us over any time soon," said Liu Cixin, 47-year-old electrical engineer and China's top sci-fi writer, who lives in the remote city of Yangquan in north China's Shanxi Province.

"At that time, everything we are worried about, including housing prices, food prices, medical treatment and education, will take a back seat," Liu told Xinhua.

"China, as a strong country with a long history, is playing an increasingly important role in international affairs, thus, China should take its corresponding responsibilities in interstellar affairs between the beings on earth and other planets," Liu said.

Liu created a survival of the fittest theory for sentient beings across the universe, which he called "Dark Forest," in his latest trilogy "Three Bodies."

In "Three Bodies," humans hopeful of finding aliens send signals into outer space with information about Earth and its location, which proves disastrous for the human race.

So far, it seems that no official statement has been issued to guide interstellar affairs, and no governmental department has been appointed to deal with such affairs, Liu said.

"With advances in science and technology, extraterrestial life might be found any time soon," he said.

Liu mentioned that the world's largest single-aperture telescope FAST had been under construction since December 2008 in a remote county of Pingtang in southwest China's Guizhou Province and will be completed in 2014. The telescope will be able to probe dark matter, dark energy, black holes as well as look for extraterrestial life.

"The project drastically increases the possibility of finding aliens. When completed, shall we simply gather information from the universe, or shall we send signals to tell aliens where we are?" he asked.

"If we really find aliens, which department shall we report to? The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the military departments, or some other department?"

Liu suggested to open up a new field of scientific research under the Twelfth Five-Year PLan titled "Investigations of Extraterrestrial Life," which would demand a combination of astronomy, life sciences, sociology and international politics.

There was no need to invest a huge amount of money initially to develop it, he said.

"The researchers should decide: shall we just receive or provide information as well? Should we allow humans to send signals into outer space? What are the consequences of the latter? And what are the policies if we get a result?" he said.

China might also push for a United Nations convention on extraterrestrial life probes and contact, including rules on sending signals and sharing information about extraterrestrial life among humans, he said. "The convention should be based on the interests of human beings."

"Shall we contact the aliens? Via what kind of means? Who will have the right to contact?" he asked.

Liu's trilogy consists of three books: "Three Bodies," "Dark Forest" and "Dead End," published in January and May of 2008, and November 2010 respectively.

Liu's Dark Forest theory suggests that humans should not attempt to contact extraterrestrials, also something that the famous English theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking has raised.

Hawking said in 2010 on America's Discovery Channel that communicating with aliens could be a threat to Earth and a visit from extraterrestrials might be similar to Christopher Columbus's arrival in the Americas.

"Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonize whatever planets they can reach," Hawking said.

"That day might come at any time, and we are not prepared," Liu Cixin said.

Liu said the next Five-Year Plan would probably include "non-directly-economy-oriented" scientific research, covering space probes, which would change public attitude towards science.

"Chinese people might become more concerned about science with regard to the whole human being race," Liu said.

"As a sci-fi writer, I hope Chinese people will stop thinking so much about daily chores and consider boundless outer space, even just for a little while. Sometimes, it's such a realistic thing," he said.

Source: Xinhua

 
 
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