Now in a previous question I tried to figure out what would a realistic response to humanity learning that we are unequivocally alone in the universe, (check it out here, How would humanity react to finding the universe is uninhabited? ) but personally I do not think it will ever actually happen because in the words of Michael Crichton, “life finds away.” There are just too many stars in our galaxy alone for us to be all that there was, especially given the weird places life can tend to crop up. There are a dozen icy moons in our solar system that have been proposed as possible harbors for life in our solar system alone, any many questions on this site are addressed to what life on those worlds might be like. But what I am curious about is what would humanity do with that life if and when we found it.
Imagine an expedition of human astronauts exploring under the ice of a moon much like Europa, maybe even Europa itself, and the astronauts discover not only a thriving ecosystem, but also an intelligent tool using species. The species itself earned the nickname of dolphin-squid, because they bear a slight resemblance to a dolphin but with tentacles that they use to manipulate tools such as the abacus, sea weed rope and obsidian cutting tools.
Everyone one hears the good news on earth and there is much rejoicing for our first contact. But here in lies the issue I want to explore.
Not only have we discovered a second intelligent species, but because of our probes and the dolphin-squids curiosity we have unwittingly revealed ourselves to that species before we could even contemplate any kind of no interference. The dolphin-squids now know there is something beyond their ice covered sea and after the tireless work of every xenoliguist on the planet, everyone on earth knows that the dolphin-squids want to be a part of it.
Not to mention dolphin-squids popularity back on earth has lead to millions of people wanting to help them break free of their icy homeworld and join what many are now calling the “galactic community.” Show them our technology, teach them how to use it, maybe even help them colonize other icy moons like their home. But the big question, is how?
It will take quite a bit of work to bring an aquatic species that was banging volcanic rocks together up to speed enough to become equal partners with us in a multi species civilization.
So here is the million credit question: How would humanity uplift and integrate an intelligent species that evolved on an ice shell world?