Below is a piece of news from a newspaper:

Astronomers searching for alien life spot signs of intelligence beyond the solar system Parkes Observatory’s Murriyang radio telescope has detected “promising” radio signals that seem to be extraterrestrial. The strange signals appeared to come from Proxima Centauri, the Sun’s nearest neighbouring star.

Proxima Centauri is a mere 4.24 light years away, and is orbited by two planets. One of them is Earth-like and thought to be in the “habitable zone” where liquid water exists. Scientists involved in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (Seti) have processed the signals and found them to be a “technosignature”, evidence of alien technology.

The news has inspired the editors of a student magazine to run a writing competition. Readers are invited to send in short science-fiction stories based on the piece of news given above.

You decide to take part in the competition and write your own science-fiction story with the following quotation as an epigraph:

“The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.” (Isaac Asimov)

Your science-fiction story must be related to the epigraph, it must have a title, a clear storyline, a risky situation and direct speech.

Write 250–300 words (the words in the epigraph are not counted).

Тексты представлены участниками олимпиады в авторском оформлении.



“The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.”

Isaac Asimov. 

Parkes Observatory's Murriyang radio telescope recently detected radio signals from one planet-satellites orbiting Proxima Centauri. Moreover, these signals were told to be a "technosignature," meaning they were sent by creatures intelligent enough to use complex machinery. 

After this news, a group of engineers from the science team of the US California was given an order from the higher-ups to finish the construction of an already half-finished spaceship designated to cover long distances. Soon, the ship was ready, and the research team sent two young astronauts, Joseph and John, to discover the mysterious signals coming from Proxima Centauri. 

After a month of traveling in space, the astronauts reached their destination point. The ship experienced shaking due to high gravitational force. The astronauts stepped out. The ship landed near a structure resembling rock and a body of water. A strange creature lurking behind a stone caught their eye. 

"Should we come closer?" asked Joseph. John nodded, thinking about his younger wife and a new-born son. As they approached, the creature showed itself. The creature seemed friendly. It had rough grey skin, antennas on the head, a pair of blue eyes on the front, three arms, and two legs. 

However, when the astronauts started taking out a camera to shoot the alien, it started hissing while the antennas of the creature straightened up. Moreover, the creature's skin turned red and seemed to begin inflating. As the astronauts recognized the danger, Joseph put strong his hands up in the air mimicking the creature. Then, suddenly, the creature's skin turned blue and grey. The astronauts avoided the conflict. "The behaviour of the creature is similar to animals on the Earth," pointed out Joseph. Though, there might be war.

After some time, the astronauts managed to befriend the creature. They wrote down the characteristics of their new friend and took down notes of unique knowledge alongside taking many samples of rock. Then, as they finished the analysis of the landing site, they packed their equipment and were going to set the course of the spaceship back to the Earth. All of a sudden, they heard agressive shouts, and saw biorobots armed to metal teeth. 



The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.
Isaac Asimov

Jane had been working for Parkes Observatory for 5 years. She had to monitor any signals detected by the Murriyang radio telescope. Most of the time, radio signals were of minor significance. However, on one day, everything changed. 

It all happened on the 12th of April, 1989. Jane was sitting and sipping her coffee, when suddenly she heard the telescope beeping. She dashed to it and was astonished by what she saw. On the computer screen that was attached to the telescope she could make out strange radio signals. Trying to find out what these signals might mean, Jane ran to her colleague, Mia, to show her this bewildering finding. Mia was also shocked but managed to calm down and say, “These signals are undoubtedly extraterrestrial. They must have come from Proxima Centauri, the Sun’s nearest star. We discussed its peculiarities during our weekly meeting last Monday. It’s believed that one of its nearby planets is habitable.” After further analysis, Mia’s assumptions were confirmed by other scientists, who stated that these signals were evidence of alien technology.

The news spread quickly and people from all over the world began to join forces in order to fly a spacecraft which could take them to Proxima Centauri. The first person to accomplish this was no one but Jane herself. Although she understood all the risks of flying so close to the Sun, she decided to give it her best shot. She was on the verge of hitting a huge asteroid, but managed to avert it by the skin of her teeth. Unfortunately, she didn’t find any signs of alien life on the planet.

When Jane came back home, she desperately tried to explain that the radio signals were fake but people didn’t believe her. They feverishly continued to fly into outer space. Their careless actions led to excessive gas emissions and space trash. As a result, our planet now faces serious environmental problems.



The overcast skies on that blustery autumn day of 2042 accentuated our gloomy mood. My daughter Sarah, who was an apprentice and my fellow researcher, was beavering away at efforts to write her article about signals recently detected by the radio telescope, tacking her golden curl behind her ear. “Sarah, take a look at it!” I cried out, pointing at the screen which showed the Earth’s orbit. “It’s plummeting towards us!” Sarah said in a trembling voice when I stood transfixed watching an extraterrestrial object soaring near our planet.

In 2 hours entire Parkes Observatory’s team was outside, peering into the starry sky. A space shuttle which resembled a titanic ball slowly landed. “Isn’t it a marvel?” Sarah couldn’t forbear to say, but I told her to gather her wits and behave cautiously. The spaceship’s door opened, so our team stepped inside. As I crossed the threshold, wild noises sent shivers down my spine. Little did we know that we weren’t allowed to enter someone’s private zone.

I observed the interior and it felt like there wasn’t a soul inside. A vague shadow of a creature appeared in front of us. A tear of sheer dismay and excitement fell down Sarah’s cheek. She took a photo of the arcane creature and I didn’t have time to prevent her from making that fatal mistake. The camera flash blinded the alien and the door started closing. “Sarah, run!” I was screaming at the top of my lungs. Her leg stuck and the space shuttle was going up steadily.

I managed to get her out of that ship safe and sound, but that fateful day left an indelible mark on her soul and my hair turned gray overnight. Unfortunately, Parkes Observatory didn’t receive any signals ever since.