I was a little wary about starting this thread as I do NOT want it to degenerate into an "aliens grabbed my mother" conspiracy discussion. I am interested in how aliens who have discovered our presence could manage first contact with us as friends without causing mass panic. I am interested in this as background to story ideas but am posting it here as I think it is a more generally interesting question. I would like to assume that the aliens' science is not so far different to ours. IE they have not discovered any radical new science concepts that allow them FTL travel, or even FTL communications. They cannot "beam" themselves to the surface of the planet or even project some kind of holograms to the surface etc. Their application of that science can and probably would be far in advance of us but no great pure science surprises. It seems to me that there are a number of problems: 1. It is unlikely that any sizeable starship (and without FTL it would have to be sizeable) could approach Earth without being spotted by amateur astronomers as well as professionals (at least once in Earth orbit). If nothing else their decelerating drive is likely to be visible. So maybe they would stand off a long way and send in a smaller, harder to spot ship. 2. If they just broadcast a general radio message for all to hear, I am convinced the result would be mass panic across the globe, financial markets going into melt down, cults and religions going bonkers. There would be, I am certain, a lot of deaths associated with such an announcement. 3. If they wanted to contact only world leaders, then which would they contact first without putting the others’ noses out of joint? Maybe the answer would be to contact the head of the UN. Either way, just how exactly would you make that contact without ending up back in scenario 2? You can’t just get on the phone to the president of the USA/Russia/China etc. or the secretary-general of the UN or walk up to their doors and knock. However if you turned up yourself (not looking particularly human) in order to verify your story then you would get no further than the man on the gate before the security team went into overdrive. That is assuming you could get that close without drawing attention to yourself first. 4. If we can solve problem 3 we have still only delayed problem 2. A global announcement by the Secretary-General, President etc. would generate only marginally less panic than the announcement being made by the aliens themselves. I really can’t think of any way that contact could be made without generating panic. Ironically it would probably have been easier several thousand years ago when the aliens could have just appeared as “Gods” and then proceeded to “educate us”. Again please let me stress I am not saying that has already happened and don’t want to discuss whether it has happened. I want to consider how an alien arriving today could announce their presence without causing a breakdown in Earth’s society. Maybe you disagree that there would be mass panic, in which case I would be interested in why you would think that.