A term coined by Ronald Bracewell1
to describe a Galaxy-wide community of advanced technological races. Our
prospects for membership of such a Club, should it exist, may depend on
our ability to solve our present environmental, political and sociological
problems, as well as our capacity to reach a certain level of proficiency
in interstellar communication or transport. Bracewell proposed that we may
be under surveillance by races interested in our progress. See also Bracewell
probes and sentinel hypothesis.
- Bracewell, Ronald N. The Galactic Club: Intelligent Life in Outer
Space. San Francisco: W. H. Freeman & Co. (1975).
From the Preface: The human interest - or anxiety - associated
with the possibility of life in outer space is intense. Do we have
neighbors? Will we contact them? What will be their interest in us
be? Friendly? Hostile? Will man expand into space and play a grand
future role, bringing fertility to the galaxy? We do not know. This
book explores these questions, bringing together to offerings from
the different specialties that delve into the possibilities of life
in outer space.
College astronomy texts now invariably devote a chapter to what astronomy
has to say about life in outer space because the interested layman
(and who is not interested?) expects to turn to those who have studied
astronomy for reliable comment. Other sciences, especially physics,
chemistry, biology, and anthropology, also contribute to the subject
of extraterrestrial life; and, in return, the study of these sciences
is enriched when it is illustrated by topics such as space travel,
development of life, and the establishment of communication between
independant civilizations. High school science can only be enlivened
by injection of these stimulating and currently developing ideas.