White House Cool to Idea of 3 a.m. Phone Call — if ET Is on Line

Tuesday, 08 Nov 2011 04:13 PM

By Andra Varin

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If ET phones here, the White House will answer the call. But no one is really
expecting it.

That’s the gist of the official response to an online petition that 12,978 people signed asking the government to acknowledge “an extraterrestrial presence engaging the human race.”

"Hundreds of military and government agency witnesses have come forward with testimony confirming this extraterrestrial presence," the petition says. "Opinion polls now indicate more than 50 percent of the American people believe there is an extraterrestrial presence and more than 80 percent believe the government is not telling the truth about this phenomenon. The people have a right to know. The people can handle the truth."

Phil Larson, a member of the White House Office of Science and Technology policy, issued a polite but firm response saying that the government isn’t aware of any contact from outer space.

“The U.S. government has no evidence that any life exists outside our planet, or that an extraterrestrial presence has contacted or engaged any member of the human race. In addition, there is no credible information to suggest that any evidence is being hidden from the public's eye, “ Larson wrote.

Not that the White House is closed to the possibility that some form of life could exist out there.

"Many scientists and mathematicians have looked with a statistical mind-set at the question of whether life likely exists beyond Earth and have come to the conclusion that the odds are pretty high that somewhere among the trillions and trillions of stars in the universe there is a planet other than ours that is home to life," Larson writes.

In his response, titled “Searching for ET, but no evidence yet,” Larson points out that there are ongoing efforts to see whether anyone else is out there.

He cited NASA’s Kepler spacecraft, which is looking for Earth-like planets in the Milky Way galaxy; the Mars Science Laboratory’s Curiosity rover, which will examine the Red Planet for the chemical building blocks of life; and SETI, the Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence, a program that NASA started but now runs with private funds.

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