Contention 2: Harms We could discover proof of alien life in the next 25 years. The Drake Equation proves that the universe is too massive for humans to be alone. Clara Moskowitz, Space.com senior staff writer, 8/16/2010, “Proof of Aliens Could Come Within 25 Years, Scientist Says,” http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38727371/ns/technology_and_science-space/t/chances-well-find-et-are-pretty-good/ SANTA CLARA, Calif. ? Proof of extraterrestrial intelligence could come within 25 years, an astronomer who works on the search said Sunday. "I actually think the chances that we'll find ET are pretty good," said Seth Shostak, senior astronomer at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute in Mountain View, Calif., here at the SETI con convention. "Young people in the audience, I think there's a really good chance you're going to see this happen." Shostak bases this estimation on the Drake Equation, a formula conceived by SETI pioneer Frank Drake to calculate the number (N) of alien civilizations with whom we might be able to communicate. That equation takes into account a variety of factors, including the rate of star formation in the galaxy, the fraction of stars that have planets, the fraction of planets that are habitable, the percent of those that actually develop life, the percent of those that develop intelligent life, the fraction of civilizations that have a technology that can broadcast their presence into space, and the length of time those signals would be broadcasted. Reliable figures for many of those factors are not known, but some of the leaders in the field of SETI have put together their best guesses. Late great astronomer Carl Sagan, another SETI pioneer, estimated that the Drake Equation amounted to N = 1 million. Scientist and science fiction writer Isaac Asimov calculated 670,000. Drake himself estimates a more conservative 10,000. But even if that lower value turns out to be correct, at the rate they're going, it wouldn't take scientists too long to discover an alien signal, Shostak said. "This range, from Sagan's million down to 10,000 ? that's the range of estimates from people who have started and worked on SETI," said Shostak. "These people may know what they're talking about. If they do, then the point is we trip across somebody in the next several dozen or two dozen years." The SETI quest is set to take a leap forward when the Allen Telescope Array, a network of radio dishes under construction in northern California, is fully operational. By 2015, the array should be able to scan hundreds of thousands of stars for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence, Shostak said. But while humans might be able to discover an alien signal within that timeframe, interpreting what ET is trying to tell us could take much, much longer. Shostak admitted such a task would be very difficult. An alien civilization may be as technologically advanced compared to us as Homo sapiens are to our hominid relatives Neanderthals. "We could give our digital television signals to the Neanderthals, and they’ll never figure it out. And they're not stupid," he said. Yet simply having proof that we are not alone in the universe would likely be a world-changing achievement, Shostak added.
Furthermore, Aliens would not be hostile to humans. In order to survive to the point where they could make contact with us, they must be peaceful beings. Seth Bauman et al 10, Phd Candidate in Geography at Penn State University, Acta Astronautica Volume 68, Issues 11-12, June-July 2011, Pages 2114-2129, “Would contact with extraterrestrials benefit or harm humanity? A scenario analysis” We do not know if ETI would be cooperative, butwe have several reasons to suspect that they would be.Noncooperation can be a risky and harmful strategy, and noncooperative civilizations may tend to have shorter lifetimes as their noncooperation eventually leads to their demise. For this reason, a long-lived civilization that explores the galaxy may have transcended any aggressive patterns out of the need to maintain long-term survival  and . It is also possible that intelligent civilizations may inevitably develop cooperative tendencies as part of their evolutionary process  and . However, there are also reasons to suspect that evolution would proceed along different, less desirable trajectories . Another reason to suspect that ETI would be cooperative follows from the Sustainability Solution to the Fermi paradox. A corollary of the Sustainability Solution is that extant ETI civilizations in the galaxy may be less prone to violenceand destruction in the event of contact. This corollary follows from the tendencies of sustainable human populations. On Earth, sustainable human populations tend to be more protective of their ecosystems.This protectiveness can be for either of two reasons. First, humans can protect ecosystems for their own benefit. This protection is known as conservationism and involves humans placing intrinsic value on themselves. Second, humans can protect ecosystems for the ecosystems’ benefit. This protection is known as preservationism and involves humans placing intrinsic value on the ecosystems. (See  for a similar approach to environmental ethics in the context of terraforming Mars.) In either case, human populations that follow a sustainable mode of development are less likely to expand for lack of resources, although they may choose to explore out of sheer curiosity. ETI populations may be similar in this regard . Thus, if exponential growth is in fact unsustainable on the galactic scale as Haqq-Misra and Baum  suggest, then we are much more likely to encounter a long-lived ETI civilization that follows a sustainable development pattern. Such a civilization may have no need to consume Earth systems (or humans) because they will have already found a way to effectively manage their resources over long timescales. Therefore, the possible unsustainability of long-term rapid expansion decreases the probability that ETI will destroy us. However, there is a scenario in which sustainable ETI would destroy us—specifically if the ETI is expanding at the maximum rate possible given its sustainability constraints. This “maximally expansive” scenario is one of the “harmful to humanity” scenarios discussed below.