So why shouldn't we stump up a little money now, in order to prepare ourselves for life as we don't know it?
The astronomers' insights -- the full version of which is available here -- were at times quite mesmerizing. Shostak, for example, said he didn't think we are currently being visited by any aliens. (Not even on reality shows?)
He explained that if we were, all the world's governments wouldn't have kept it secret. This is rare, and perhaps misplaced, confidence.
Shostak also said he didn't think the pyramids were built by aliens. He feels the ancient Egyptians were really quite clever enough to have built them all on their own. "I know that's a radical idea," he said.
Werthimer, on the other hand, offered an even more startling rebuttal of a common terrestrial myth: "UFOs have nothing to do with extraterrestrials."
But don't people from out there always come here in flying saucers?
"When Jules Verne wrote about flying saucers, everybody started seeing flying saucers," said Werthimer. So the sightings, he feels, come from our imagination, rather than any observable fact.
Before flying saucers, Werthimer explained, people saw angels.
To all those who imagine that alien-seekers are mad scientists, Shostak and Werthimer offered a pleasing jolt. They 're serious about finding life in a universe so vast and old that it must hold secrets untold.