Little green men
And what if the aliens were intelligent? “If you find intelligent life elsewhere, [you] know that you’re not the only kid on the block,” says Seth Shostak, an astronomer at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif. Knowing that human intelligence isn’t so special after all could provoke a much different emotional response than finding mere microbes “like pond scum in space,” Shostak says.
To get a sense of how people would feel about finding intelligent aliens, Varnum analyzed reports that the interstellar asteroid ‘Oumuamua could be an alien spaceship (SN Online: 12/18/17). The news articles took a largely positive angle. So the broader public might also take kindly to the discovery of little green men, Varnum says.