Are We Alone in the Universe? (The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence)

  • Barry B. Luokkala
Part of the Science and Fiction book series (SCIFICT)


The commercial towing vehicle Nostromo, en route back to Earth, with its cargo of ore and crew of seven in suspended animation, intercepts a radio signal from a planetary system along the way. The ship’s computer determines that the transmission has a very high probability of originating from an intelligent civilization. This triggers an override of the default programming to return home: the computer begins to awaken the crew from their sleep and deviates from its original course to investigate. At first unaware of the change in plans, the crew go about their normal routines, under the very reasonable assumption that they have completed their journey and are about to dock at Earth. They soon discover that they are only about half way home and are approaching an unfamiliar solar system. Most of the crew are only interested in getting their fair share of the mining profits and are annoyed at the unexpected detour. But their science officer points out a clause in their contract, which requires them to investigate any radio signal of potentially intelligent origin, on penalty of forfeiture of their shares.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhysicsCarnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA

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