Malaysia’s first astrophysicist will soon become Earth’s first official point-of-contact with aliens if they come a-calling. Datuk Dr Mazlan Othman, who heads the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (Unoosa), would be the nearest thing that we have to a “take me to your leader” person when she takes on the new role. Allegedly the United Nations made the appointment over the weekend.
Dr Mazlan was reported to have told fellow scientists recently of an increased likelihood in the meeting with extraterrestrial life after a discovery of hundreds of planets around other stars. The portal quoted the 59-year-old former director-general of the Space Science Studies Division in the Science, Technology and Environment Ministry as suggesting that the United Nations “must be ready to co-ordinate humanity’s response to any first contact”.
“The continued search for extraterrestrial communication, by several entities, sustains the hope that some day humankind will receive signals from extraterrestrials. When we do, we should have in place a co-ordinated response that takes into account all the sensitivities related to the subject. The UN is a ready-made mechanism for such co-ordination,” she was quoted as saying.
Dr Mazlan is set to talk about her new role at a scientific conference at the Kavli Royal Society International Centre in Buckinghamshire next week. Unoosa, based in Vienna, is charged with implementing the United Nation’s outer space-related policies. The office implements a programme on space applications and maintains a register of objects launched into outer space. It also provides support to developing nations in using space technology for economic development.