Read More: NBC News
First came the suggestion that an “alien megastructure” had been observed around KIC 8462852, a.k.a. Tabby’s Star. Months later, people were talking about a signal seen by a Russian telescope that some thought was transmitted from the environs of a stellar cousin of the sun. And not long after that, the Cyclopean Arecibo antenna in Puerto Rico reported weird signals that seemed to come from the dwarf star Ross 128, a scant 11 light-years away. This brisk cadence of celestial surprises might make it seem that we’re on the cusp of proving the existence of extraterrestrials. But just because the crow’s nest announces clouds on the horizon doesn’t mean you’re close to land. These three claims purporting to show the existence of aliens haven’t panned out. But what happens if some future claim does? What preparations are in place to deal with the discovery of a radio signal or a laser flash that would prove beyond doubt that we have cosmic compeers? Does the government have a plan? Does anyone? A lot of people think there is a plan. A secret one. A recent survey indicated that 55 percent of the population figure that the discovery of extraterrestrials would be squelched — deep-sixed to prevent widespread panic. Only 19 percent believe the feds would fess up to E.T.’s existence.