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Former Head of SETI Says Aliens Totally Don’t Want To Eat Us. Well, In That Case…

Oh Really?


Former SETI director Jill Tarter (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) has felt the need to go on the record and let the public know aliens don’t really want to eat us. That’s all well and good but how could this be when most overdramatized science-fiction tells us different? Is Tarter in league with an alien race?? Is she an alien??? All of these answers, as well as the real story, after the jump. 

Tarter has dedicated her life to the study and/or discovery of extraterrestrial life. Thirty-five years of her life to be exact. But in a recent press release in advance of SETI’s science and sci-fi SETIcon on June 22, Tarter felt the need to disagree with filmmakers and fellow scientist, Stephen Hawking when it comes to the nature of alien life.

“Often the aliens of science fiction say more about us than they do about themselves. While Sir Stephen Hawking warned that alien life might try to conquer or colonize Earth, I respectfully disagree,” she said. “If aliens were able to visit Earth that would mean they would have technological capabilities sophisticated enough not to need slaves, food, or other planets. If aliens were to come here it would be simply to explore. Considering the age of the universe, we probably wouldn’t be their first extraterrestrial encounter, either.”

Tarter also mentioned recent and upcoming sci-fi films in her statement. “We should look at movies like Men in Black III, Prometheus and Battleship as great entertainment and metaphors for our own fears, but we should not consider them harbingers of alien visitation.”


“Think about it. If we detect a signal, we could learn about their past (because of the time their signal took to reach us) and the possibility of our future. Successful detection means that, on average, technologies last for a long time,” said Tartar. “Understanding that it is possible to find solutions to our terrestrial problems and to become a very old civilization, because someone else has managed to do just that, is hugely important! Knowing that there can be a future may motivate us to achieve it.”

Just because Tarter is stepping down as the head of the institute doesn’t mean she’s done helping. SETI currently runs on private donations only and she’s going to focus on finding them funding so their work can continue. By the by, SETIcon will feature talent and discussions from both Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica.

And I lied. I don’t have an answer as to whether or not she’s in league with aliens or is one herself. We’ll just have to wait and see…

(via, image via SETI)

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Jill Pantozzi is a pop-culture journalist and host who writes about all things nerdy and beyond! She’s Editor in Chief of the geek girl culture site The Mary Sue (Abrams Media Network), and hosts her own blog “Has Boobs, Reads Comics” ( She co-hosts the Crazy Sexy Geeks podcast along with superhero historian Alan Kistler, contributed to a book of essays titled “Chicks Read Comics,” (Mad Norwegian Press) and had her first comic book story in the IDW anthology, “Womanthology.” In 2012, she was featured on National Geographic’s "Comic Store Heroes," a documentary on the lives of comic book fans and the following year she was one of many Batman fans profiled in the documentary, "Legends of the Knight."