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Even just listening out for signals of alien communication frequencies coming from a far-flung part of the Milky Way, mankind risks opening himself up to total wipe out.

Aliens are a highly advanced race and experts fear they could maliciously send us the blueprint for a machine that could take over Earth... and because paranormal enthusiasts are so intent on finding life in a far away galaxy, they could be tempted to build it.

The hypothetical outcomes of making contact with beings from a distant planet sound like some of the many alien conspiracy theories that regularly do the rounds online.

But, amazingly, these are genuine concerns of an eminent panel of scientists debating the pros and cons of the search for extra terrestrial intelligent life (SETI).

Chairing the debate at the British Science Festival in Bradford, astrobiology researcher Lewis Dartnell, said: "Perhaps there are exo planets with developed ecosystems and lush rainforests.

"We are asking the question should we attempt to contact or even just reply (to any future galactic message from aliens), what are the ethics involved, and should we announce we are here?

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