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Schenkel (1997) proposed the need to acknowledge and plan for a different kind of response if ETI actually visits Earth or makes direct contact, rather than simply sends signals.
Tarter (1997) suggests that a higher level of organizational readiness may be needed to avoid chaotic conditions upon discovery due to a clash between the scientific goal of openness and governmental concerns about security.
In addition, because of the vigilance of the mass media, it is likely that public announcements about alleged discoveries may occur far earlier in the verification process than The Principles have planned.
Unofficial, premature, or widespread publicity based on uncertain signal findings could create a public frenzy of sorts, similar to those experienced following a SETI hoax, the announcement of fossil life in martian meteorites or predicted impacts by Earth crossing asteroids. (Shostak, 1997, Oliver et al., 1999)
Need to develop operating guidelines for ‘no harm” dependent upon the discovery scenario.
a. if in situ robotic discovery: don't disturb or organism or habitat (consider observational or non-destructive methods only?)
b. if discovered in returned samples: reassess containment adequacy, revisit questions about sterilization, culturing, and distribution of life forms to scientific community
c. if in-situ human discovery-- implications for potential contamination of both martian environment and on-Mars habitat module, as well as concerns about eventual Earth-return of astronauts.