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In June, the Pentagon released a much anticipated report on, quote, “unidentified aerial phenomena,” or what you and I might call U.F.O.s.

They looked at scores of reports of unknown sightings and found 18 cases that might have shown technology beyond what our enemies, and ourselves for that matter, are capable of. So the government finally admitted that there really are unidentified flying objects in our skies, moving in ways they can’t explain. So does that mean aliens? I’m Jane Coaston. And sometimes I come to a debate from a point of view of a blank slate. Anyone could convince me. But I feel like I should be upfront with you here. I do not like thinking about aliens. Just watching Sigourney Weaver wake up out of her sleeping pod in “Alien” was enough to chase me out of the room. But it does feel like we’ve all been thrust into this new paradigm shift. U.F.O.s are real, and the government admitted it. And reality didn’t break. Hysteria hasn’t broken out. In fact, you may have heard the news with a “huh,” or “that checks out.” Whether or not we assume these flying objects that move in a way we don’t understand are evidence of extraterrestrial life, experts say we’re closer than ever to finding possible life outside of our solar system, which leaves us with a big question. Should we try to make contact with possible life on other planets? Should we beam out stronger signals to potential alien life forms to let them know we’re here and we want to communicate? It turns out my guests today could not disagree more on the answer.

Dr. Douglas Vakoch is the president and founder of METI, which stands for Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence. It’s a nonprofit research and educational organization dedicated to transmitting intentional signals to nearby stars. Arguing against reaching out is Dr. Michio Kaku, a professor of theoretical physics at the City University of New York. He co-founded string field theory and has been very vocal about the dangers of reaching out to E.T.

Dr. Kaku, what were your thoughts on the report?

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