• Former SETI director explains what will happen when extraterrestrials contact us

    Just over 30 years ago this month, E.T., The Extra-Terrestrial hit the big screen and made everyone feel warm and fuzzy about aliens with E.T.'s sweetly urgent message about wanting to "phone home."

    This summer, Hollywood alien fare paints a far gloomier picture with a deadly alien monster in After Earth, a zombie invasion in World War Z, giant robots in Pacific Rim and more robot invaders in The World's End.

    But what do the experts really think?

    We asked astronomer, Jill Tarter, the TED Prize–winning, former director of the world's most ambitious search for alien life at the Center for the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Research, who we interviewed on "How to Find Extraterrestrial Life" for our book on success, The Art of Doing. Tarter gave us SETI's 9-point plan should there be an extraterrestrial attempt of any kind to contact us: