Ben McGee presents Galactic Deep Time, Xenoarchaeology, and the Case for Physical Artifacts as “First Contact”

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Ben McGee presents Galactic Deep Time, Xenoarchaeology, and the Case for Physical Artifacts as “First Contact” - 2013 International UFO Congress DVD

With respect to the age of the galaxy and the probability of the evolution of extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI), Enrico Fermi famously asked the question, “Where are they?”—referring to the apparent lack of ETI activity in the galaxy, which the sciences have come to call the Fermi Paradox. In response, some speculate that the overt lack of evidence of ETI implies that Earth is subject to a sort of cosmic quarantine, known as the “galactic zoo” hypothesis, which is akin to the famed “Prime Directive” of Star Trek fame. However, we now know that the galaxy is a very threatening place, with regular gammaray bursts, bolide impacts, and orbital perturbations, all serving as potential extinction-level events. With this in mind, it is entirely possible that the Fermi Paradox exists not by design but because natural or self-inflicted extinctions are far more common than we optimistically speculate. In this case, the concept of xenoarchaeology, the scientific study of artifacts of potential alien life and culture, takes on a role of centralized importance—as it is argued that humanity’s definitive “first contact” moment will involve evidence of alien life long since perished.

Ben McGee is the Founder and Principal Research Scientist of Astrowright Spaceflight Consulting LLC and the resident scientist on the National Geographic Channel’s reality series, Chasing UFOs. Prior to helming Astrowright’s scientific projects and contracts, McGee initiated and directed a wide array of scientific field investigations for industry leaders and quasi-governmental clients. An established author and scientific peerreviewer, he has served for several years as adjunct faculty in the Physical Science Department of the College of Southern Nevada, and in 2011 he successfully completed FAA-certified suborbital-scientist astronaut training at the National Aerospace Training and Research Center. McGee is currently engaged in research exploring alternative temporal implications of Special Relativity, documenting the industrial archaeology of the NASA-AEC Nuclear Rocket Development Station, and developing guidelines for xenoarchaeology, a speculative form of archaeology assessing possible alien life and culture.