Should we attempt contact with aliens? The question may seem ridiculous at first, the purview of science fiction—but it’s been the subject of serious debate among scientists in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) community for decades. Some argue that our cosmic youth and ignorance might make us vulnerable to an unknown and potentially hostile threat, others that actively pursuing a conversation is our only hope of making contact at all. Nautilus has asked this question of a number of experts. Now, we want to know what you think.

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* 1. If an alien civilization contacts us, should we reply?

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* 2. If we don’t hear from aliens, should we send out a message to strike up a conversation?

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