Humanity finding an ' alien signal ' could start World War Three on earth, scientists have warned.

Boffins have been discussing the dangers of sending out signals into space, and listening for replies, with fears that any contact could result in humans fighting among ourselves.

A study by geophysicist Kenneth Wisian and religious studies expert John Traphagan, suggests that knowledge of alien technology "if wielded solely by one nation here on Earth might enable it to dominate the world"

READ MORE: Meeting aliens could trigger world war on Earth, experts say in chilling warning

However, a paper published in the journal Space Policy , critiquing the study says, these fears are unfounded and highly unlikely due to the nature of interstellar communication.

The author of the space policy paper, and professor of astronomy and astrophysics at the Penn State Extra-terrestrial Intelligence Center, Jason T. Wright, told Newsweek that a scenario where a signal will contain that type of technical information is "pretty unlikely".

He said that even if a signal did contain info on how to build new technologies, perhaps even military technologies, "there's not much governments could do to get a monopoly on that information".

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"A signal from space will be available to anyone on Earth with a satellite dish, so there's not much point in, for instance, sending the army in to take over a radio telescope facility," he said.

According to Wright, the ways people would react to that information are hard to predict, meaning that governments might mistakenly think sending in the army is a good idea.

"We argue to prevent that we need to make sure policymakers and government officials are aware of what SETI is, and understand the nature of any signal that gets detected early.

"There are some protocols in place that SETI practitioners know and generally try to follow, and these include widely sharing the details of any detected signal to make sure there are no misunderstandings."

While we have had no indication of alien life yet, we have been sending radio signals out into the abyss since the dawn of wireless communication on Earth.

The fact that we have had no reply yet doesn't necessarily mean that we are alone in the universe, however.

"A lot of those ideas come from the misperception that we've been working hard to detect alien life for decades, and that the lack of success so far must mean they either don't exist or are hiding," said Wright.

"In fact, the radio search for alien life has only really scratched the surface, and it's only recently we've conducted thorough radio searches of the nearest stars across much of the radio spectrum, thanks to the Breakthrough Listen project.

So there's no reason to think anyone's hiding; they might all be out in the open and we just haven't checked the right stars or frequencies yet."

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