Communication style, substance critical at moment of first contact

Mystery Wire

A gold record was stashed on Voyager I 41 years ago, and is now hurtling through interstellar space. (NASA / Wikimedia Commons)

MYSTERY WIRE — Images from popular culture shape our vision of the moment when we come face to face with the reality that we are not alone in the universe.

Many movies in the genre touch on the question of how we should communicate when first contact happens. But few of them reflect this sobering statement: “Our only real defense will be communication: Our ability to somehow let our visitors know that we harbor no ill intentions toward them.”

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