Risk Management

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 63–87 | Cite as

Preparing for extraterrestrial contact

  • Mark Neal
Original Article


This article introduces the issue of extraterrestrial life to the study of disasters, their prevention and their management. Up until now, major journals in the field of risk and disaster research have ignored the potential threats posed by the existence of extraterrestrial life. With increasing scientific support for the existence of planets able to support life, and the rapid development of scientific disciplines such as astrobiology, the article argues that limiting the scope of disaster research to terrestrial matters is increasingly intellectually untenable. In order to rectify this situation, and begin a debate within the field, the article develops five theoretical scenarios concerning the likelihood of, and the threats posed by, extraterrestrial life forms. Doing so highlights possible new themes in disaster and risk management research. It is thus hoped that subsequent researchers may close the gap between scholarly discourse about risk management, and the scientific findings of disciplines such as astrobiology.


SETI extraterrestrial risks risk management extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI) 


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark Neal
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Financial & Management StudiesSOAS, University of LondonLondonUK

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