Real life Felicity Montagu from Lost: Astronomers call for multi-stakeholder approach to alien life search

Image copyright NASA Image caption The Kepler Space Telescope discovered about 150,000 new planets in the past decade

Scientists say they are uniting with the public to make a ‘new scientific governance framework’ for the search for alien life in space.

Instead of the current process of collaborating with private organisations, like SETI, they have asked the public to have their say.

They say the idea would create “a more widespread and representative body with immediate authority to initiate and direct the efforts of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence”.

The group would also “enable a credible scientific response to claims of advanced technological life elsewhere”.

It adds: “This body could itself undertake missions and push for rational evolution of the search for E.T.”

By using crowdsourcing, the scientists say their project would gain the support of more volunteers as well as more funding.

Image copyright NASA Image caption The team envisions a team of citizen scientists taking part in the next astrobiology missions and choosing which future missions to pursue. Image copyright NASA Image caption They believe the new endeavour could eventually generate significant funding and influence NASA decisions

The process is being spearheaded by the United Future of Humanity Institute, which describes itself as “a public enterprise that brings together members of society across categories to cooperate on a common human and planetary goal”.

Dr Andy Parfitt, convener of the initiative, said: “In many ways, this is a search for missing links between science and politics and academia and industry.”

He added: “If we want to give ourselves the best shot at finding intelligent life, we have to make sure that the climate for that search is right – that the scientific and political inputs to it are not unintentionally drowned out by money and influence from those who wish to see it fail.”

If you are inspired by the quest to find the final frontier and you would like to take part, you can register your name, email address and location as a member of the public at

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