Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A More Prime Directive


So, the prime directive states more or less that once an alien civilization has reached a certain threshold for technological advancement--particularly with space travel capability--other alien civilizations may contact them, but any "primitive" civilization must remain untouched.



In Star Trek this all revolves around warp capability.



Whatever.



What would be the real conditions for contacting an alien civilization?  My contention is that this revolves around danger.



When a race of aliens poses an existential threat to other alien races, that would be cause for intervention.  In another sense, it is in the best interests of an alien race to remain hidden until they are sufficiently threatened that they must annihilate said threat or risk detection via other means.



Staying hidden from other aliens keeps a civilization alive unless they are safely technologically superior.  This is basic to how civilizations interact.



For mankind that means two things.  One, we don't want to find aliens.  Two, we can't make contact until we are sufficiently advanced that nothing else could pose an existential threat.  That means we need to harness huge amounts of energy from the solar system before trying to make contact with another alien race.



Tough call though.  By building for a military engagement that may never come we are only expending huge amounts of resources in a potentially useless area.  And we could be unintentionally provoking an engagement with an alien race.