We will not freak out when scientists finally confirm life on other planets. At least, according to study by Arizona State University.
The study team led by psychologist Michael Varnum used language analysis software to analyze media coverage of potential discoveries of alien life. They looked at reporting of the alien superstructure surrounding “Tabby’s Star”, martian rocks on Earth that might hold fossilized alien microbes, and “‘Oumuamua”, the first interstellar object to pass through our solar system, which SETI checked to see if it was a spacecraft or just a very strange rock. It seems to be a rock.
In each of these cases, media coverage mostly expressed positive emotions, not fear. This finding suggests we would welcome the discovery of alien life, at least distant alien life.
Feelings might be different if we woke up with spaceships overhead going all “Independence Day” on us. In that case, freak out. Please freak out.