Earlier today I was listening to a recent episode of the Joe Rogan podcast where Bob Lazar and Jeremy Corbell were interviewed about a recent documentary on the former's experiences with extraterrestrial technology. Generally I don't pay much attention to stories about alien visitations and whatnot but, if Joe Rogan is asking the questions, then there's no harm in listening to the conversation unfold1. Based on Bob Lazar's claims, a research centre associated with Area 51 had as many as 9 extraterrestrial craft in the 1970s, each from a different origin and each with their own team of dedicated scientists working to understand how the vessels operated. There were some specific references to the kinds of technologies that were associated with the one craft that Bob was working on, and about halfway into the show he explained that he was disappointed with himself for ruining his only chance at being around — and reverse engineering — extraterrestrial technology.
For me the technology would be interesting, but not the most interesting area of research. I would want to know about the organisms that travelled in the ship. What do they look like? Do they have the same biological needs as humans? Do they breathe an atmosphere like ours? How do they communicate? What is their lifespan? What is their culture like? What is the history of their world? And, perhaps most importantly, why do they have a humanoid body? Technology would certainly play a role in the history of these people, just like ours has allowed us to migrate across the planet and harness the atom, and I would find it a fascinating area of study, but not nearly as much as the history and culture aspects of the species.
Unfortunately, I'll likely never have the opportunity to learn about an off-world civilization. I do believe that the universe is teeming with life and some of it is sentient like we are, though I am doubtful of the visitation stories. Given the opportunity, I would certainly invest the time and effort into understanding a truly alien culture and perspective with the hopes of sharing that knowledge with the rest of humanity.
Mind you, the episode featuring Alex Jones spouting off all kinds of weird "conspiracy" stuff was a bit too much. Managed to get through only the first 45 minutes of that show.