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Bizarre research paper examines the threat of alien galactic cyber attack

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Do the Earthlings have to be prepared for the possibilities of an alien cyber-attack?

That is the question that almost no one to ask, but at least two astrophysicists to answer.

In a rather unusual (non-peer reviewed) research paper, the scientists investigated the unlikely possibility that the planet Earth is to receive a complex message from space.

They sketch a scenario in which three decades from now, we intercept the message of an unknown alien intelligence. The world’s best and brightest are brought in to decipher the message, but only if they do that, our digital networks, power grids and internet connected devices of all crash.

It turns out that the aliens sent a kind of galactic malware.

“A complex message from space may require the use of computers, to analyze and to understand. Such a message can not be disinfected with certainty, and the technical risks that pose an existential threat,” the researchers wrote.

The paper was produced by Michael Hippke of Sonneberg Observatory in Germany, and John Learned, a fellow astrophysicist of the University of Hawaii.

They suggest that receiving an alien message would be to invite destruction, and social chaos.

They outlined a number of different scenarios, including a friendly message that a form of downloadable artificial intelligence, so that the communication between us and the alien species. This scenario examined the difficulties of ensuring the safety of the planet is found in the acceptance of such technology.

The two astrophysicists have concluded that, ultimately, the potential benefits outweigh the risks of asset receipt of such notice.

“Generally, we believe that the risk is very small (but not zero), and the potential benefit is very large, so that we recommend reading an incoming message,” they said.

It is a fun thought experiment, but probably not something we need to worry about our life.

This week, however, the scientist said that the human race can do not need to look any further than our own solar system in the search for extraterrestrial life.

ONE OF SATURN’S MOON COULD HAVE ALIEN LIFE

Researchers probing one of Saturn’s moons, said Tuesday that the icy orb known as Enceladus boasts ideal living conditions for single-celled micro-organisms known as archaeans found in some of the most extreme environments on Earth.

They reported the news in the science journal Nature Communications.

A methanogenic (methane-producing) archaean called Methanothermococcus okinawensis flourished in laboratory conditions mimic those thought to exist on the satellite of Saturn, the team said.

On Earth is this type of archaean is in very warm temperatures near deep-sea hydrothermal vents, and converted into carbon dioxide and hydrogen gas into methane.

Traces of methane were previously detected in the vapor from cracks in Enceladus’ surface.

“We conclude that some of the CH4 (methane) detected in the plume of Enceladus can in principle be produced by methanogens,” the researchers in Germany and Austria wrote.

They have also calculated that there is enough hydrogen to support these microbes can be produced by geochemical processes in Enceladus’ rocky core.

Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun separated from the Earth only by Mars and Jupiter. It has dozens of moons.

Earlier research suggested that Enceladus sport an ocean of liquid water — a key ingredient for life — under the icy surface.

The moon is also thought to contain substances, such as methane, carbon dioxide and ammonia, and the south pole sport hydrothermal activity — a combination of properties that makes it an important target in the search for extraterrestrial life.

— With AFP

This story was previously published in the news.com.au.

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