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Americans would welcome alien life rather than fear it

U.S. volunteers were pretty positive about the hypothetical discovery of E.T.

By
5:00pm, February 16, 2018
illustration of potential alien microbes

ITSY BITSY ALIENS Americans would probably welcome the discovery of microbial alien life.

AUSTIN, Texas — If alien microbes crash-land on Earth, they may get a warm welcome.

When people were asked how they would react to the discovery of extraterrestrial microbial life, they give generally positive responses, researchers reported at a news conference February 16 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

This suggests that if microbial life is found on Mars, Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus (SN: 5/13/17, p. 6) or elsewhere in the solar system, “we’ll take the news rather well,” said Michael Varnum, a social psychologist at Arizona State University in Tempe. What’s more, the tone of news reports announcing potential evidence for intelligent aliens suggests people would welcome that news, too.

Varnum and colleagues asked about 500 online volunteers — all in the United States

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