By Ted Peters, METI International Advisory Council
METI scientists need to defend their message-sending to possible new neighbors on planets elsewhere in the Milky Way metropolis. Fearing that hostile aliens will receive these messages and order their armies to conquer and colonize Earth, METI critics such as Stephen Hawking raise a challenging ethical question. How might we connect this question with a dozen other astroethical questions formulated to deal with space exploration within our solar ghetto? (1) does planetary protection require protection of off-Earth ecospheres? (2) do extraterrestrial microbial life and of off-Earth ecosystems have intrinsic value? (3) should space scientists invoke the Precautionary Principle? (4) should earthlings clean up space junk? (5) what should we do about satellite surveillance? (6) should we weaponize space? (7) how should we adjudicate the competition between scientific research and economic interests, including space tourism? (8) should we terraform Mars? (9) should we colonize Mars? (10) how can we protect Earth from extraterrestrial threats such as solar flares, asteroid collisions, and gamma bursts? (11) does astroethics require a single planetary community of moral deliberation? (12) should we stretch the common good into a cosmic commons? Can we stretch these existing ethical issues drawn from within our immediate solar ghetto to include the entire Milky Way metropolis, including our first encounter with exoplanetary civilizations?