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With the discovery of seven new exoplanets orbiting around their own star, it’s looking a tiny bit more likely that aliens are going to visit Earth at some point.
At least, that’s according to Nick Pope – who was in charge of the government’s UFO Project between 1991 and 1994.
Pope is one of the world’s leading experts on UFOs, conspiracy theories and the unexplained.
As part of a lengthy career in the Ministry of Defence, he spent four years heading up the government’s UFO department, preparing for a possible invasion – or friendly visit – from our celestial neighbours.
So, after all that time, what is the government’s plan?
‘There’s no plan.’
‘There’s no contingency plan as far as I’m aware,’ he told Metro.co.uk. ‘The government’s answer would be that, “We regard this as an incredibly small possibility”.
‘But I would say, why not have a plan if there’s even the smallest possibility of it happening.’
While this may be alarming to some, Pope did go one to say that an alien visit wouldn’t really look like the ‘War of the Worlds’ type of thing we’d expect.
Instead, he believed it would more closely resemble Arrival – which comes out on DVD on March 20 – in which each country puts together a team of scientists, cultural academics and military experts in order to try and communicate with the new species.
Especially since, given that they’ve managed to successfully visit Earth, they would undoubtedly already be several thousands years ahead of us technologically.
But this, in turn, could lead to some international conflicts, at least in the short-term.
Pope said: ‘There would be a scramble for the alien technology, and weapons. Some of the big countries – and also, nowadays, corporations – would be scrambling to get their hands on alien technology.
‘The country that gets that [technology] would be the world leader for the foreseeable future.’
Although he went on to say that, in the long run, we’d all end up closer for it.
‘Ultimately this [an alien visit] might have a unifying effect,’ Pope said.
‘An extra terrestrial arrival might convince us that there’s more that binds us together than pushes us apart.’
So, while world leaders are scrambling their top people, what’s the best thing for normal people like us to do?
‘First, and it is a cliche, but don’t panic,’ Pope warns.
‘Don’t start running for the hills or shooting at alien ships. Wait for some of the finest minds on the planet to figure out what this is.’
That ‘don’t shoot at alien ships’ bit is particularly important, he said, because we might one day need to leave the planet ourselves – and could do with a few tips.
‘One day we will have to move on, so it would be good to have some help from extra-terrestrials,’ he said.
‘At the moment we’re confined to Earth, but hopefully one day we’ll have the technology to take us to the stars.’
So our best plan is: chill, make friends with the aliens, steal their technology when they’re not looking.
Sounds good to us.