If extraterrestrials invade, how much warning might there be?

Friday, 27 February, 2015

On the off chance you had been wondering about this very matter… a Slashdot discussion regarding the Earth’s distant early warning capabilities, as it were, if such a term is even applicable, and just how effective it might be:

My question is how good are we at the moment in detecting an alien ship/fleet that jumps into our solar system. Do we have radio dishes around the globe such that we can detect objects in space in all longitude and latitude degrees? I know we have dishes pointing to the skies but how far can they reach? Do we have blindspots perhaps on the poles? I also wonder if our current means, ie radio signals, are relatively easy to be compromised with our current stealth technology? To formulate it in more sci-fi terms, how large is our outer space detection grid, and what kind of time window can they give us?

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How would Earth fare if it were engaged in a war of the worlds?

Friday, 8 June, 2012

And coinciding with the release of Prometheus, during which the threat of an attack was posed to Earth, a Foreign Policy article assessing the ability of military technology across the planet to fend off an actual alien invasion.

Everyone knows that alien spaceships don’t have to clumsily lumber down a runway before takeoff – they lift off vertically with perfect balance and then propel in whatever direction they choose. Helicopters have the vertical takeoff aspect down, but even the best designs can be foiled by ground landings, as was the stealthy MH-60 Black Hawk helicopter used in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. A Discrotor helicopter is actually a helicopter/airplane blend that can take off and land vertically, but also enter into high-speed flying mode by retracting its rotating blades and relying on fixed wings, allowing it to move like a plane. Will that help against aliens? We certainly hope so.

A difficult question to address really, considering we’d likely have no idea at all as to what we were up against.

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My god it’s full of meat

Tuesday, 7 February, 2012

From a short work by US science fiction and fantasy writer Terry Bisson… the transcript of a conversation between two extraterrestrials who are studying humans:

Just one. They can travel to other planets in special meat containers, but they can’t live on them. And being meat, they can only travel through C space. Which limits them to the speed of light and makes the possibility of their ever making contact pretty slim. Infinitesimal, in fact.

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We’re so desperate to explain elusive aliens we’ll say anything

Wednesday, 25 January, 2012

If there are more planets than stars in our galaxy, then the same probably applies to most other galaxies in the universe. It seems reasonable then to assume intelligent life exists on some of these planets, even if it’s a small fraction of them. That we haven’t found any sign of said intelligent life, to date, is called the Fermi paradox.

If, however, the universe as we know it is in fact a simulation, that would account for the absence of aliens, as the intelligent entities responsible for creating the pseudo-reality we reside within are not projecting themselves into it.

If we are living in a simulation, does that resolve the Fermi paradox? I would think so. The “aliens” would be here, we just would not “see” them as such. But in fact we would be looking at nothing but the alien products, namely the creators of the simulation.

I hate to think of the repercussions to the space-time continuum resulting from this line of thinking though.

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Survival may favour the quiet in a possibly violent universe

Thursday, 14 April, 2011

Alien civilisations may prefer to lie low, in the belief that keeping their existence on the down-low will protect them from interstellar marauders, an idea that offers a counterpoint to the Fermi paradox, which tries to account for the lack of evidence of extraterrestrial life in the universe, against the high likelihood that it actually exists.

If so, the universe would be a violent place, and evolutionary selection may favour the inconspicuous – those who lie low on purpose, or who simply lack the skill or ambition to venture forth or advertise their existence.

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The resources upon this blue and white globe don’t interest aliens

Tuesday, 12 October, 2010

Alex Zehnbacht’s rebuttal of Stephen Hawking’s recent comments that humanity’s efforts to establish contact with alien civilisations could backfire on us should extraterrestrials, responding to our shout outs, instead show up and plunder our planet for its natural resources… there’s nothing here worth taking anyway:

The aliens are not coming to take away our resources, they just don’t need them. Imagine they also have a star system filled with as many goodies as ours, maybe even more, and then imagine swarms of star systems they need to travel through to get to us (or just have access to, if you believe in Start Trek). We are just not important. Not us, not our Earth. Humanity should stop thinking about itself as a pinnacle of Creation. It should stop crying about the lost heaven-Earth, while chewing its hamburgers. Just get to work, and get out of this planet. Once it does the stars would look way brighter.

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Earth’s first ambassador for extraterrestrial life to take office

Thursday, 30 September, 2010

Malaysian astrophysicist Mazlan Othman is expected to be officially appointed by the United Nations as our first point of contact with extraterrestrials in the event they arrive at – or send messages to – Earth.

During a talk Othman gave recently to fellow scientists, she said: “The continued search for extraterrestrial communication, by several entities, sustains the hope that some day humankind will receive signals from extraterrestrials. “When we do, we should have in place a coordinated response that takes into account all the sensitivities related to the subject. The UN is a ready-made mechanism for such coordination.”

While it doesn’t looks like we’ll need such a person anytime soon, nonetheless it is always prudent to be prepared.

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The view from out there, how the solar system looks to aliens

Wednesday, 29 September, 2010

Thanks to tracks created by outermost planet Neptune (if you accept that Pluto is no longer classed as a planet that is) in the dust of the Kuiper belt – a very large Asteroid belt like collection of frozen objects that reside on the edge of the solar system – astronomers on alien worlds should be able to detect the presence of the Sun’s planetary system:

“The planets may be too dim to detect directly, but aliens studying the solar system could easily determine the presence of Neptune – its gravity carves a little gap in the dust,” Goddard astrophysicist Marc Kuchner said in a press release yesterday. “We’re hoping our models will help us spot Neptune-sized worlds around other stars.”

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Spotting changing trends in UFO spotting, it’s all in their speed

Monday, 20 September, 2010

An analysis of UFO flight characteristic data shows that flying saucers have more recently developed a tendency to hover, rather than fly at great speed, which was the case when UFO sightings first started to be reported in increasing numbers from 1947.

Things have certainly changed since 1947, and the oddest, simplest proof of this is in the statistics about the speed of saucers. Where 53 percent of the cases of 1947 emphasize speed, statistics from 1971 showed only 41 percent of cases mention it. By 1986 it had fallen to 22 percent. Inversely, there has been a startling shift in the presence of hovering in UFO reports. Only 3 percent of Bloecher’s 1947 population of reports involve hovering. That any are present at all may have something to do with either the fact that the Flying Flapjack was known to possess a vertical landing and take-off capability or with the fact that 1946 saw the first licensing of commercial helicopters. By 1971 hovering appeared in 39 appeared of reports and by 1986 it swelled to 49 percent. Hovering has moved from practical insignificance to become the dominant mode of presentation, showing up over twice as often as high speed.

The Flying Flapjack by the way was an experimental fighter aircraft developed by the US Navy after World War II, and certain of its flight characteristics seemed to crop up in many of the reported UFO sightings of the late 1940s.

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Extraterrestrials don’t even need to change the channel to find us

Friday, 9 July, 2010

While Stephen Hawking may have been well intended when he recently warned that sending messages into the cosmos, in the hope that an alien civilisation may detect them, was not a good idea – particularly if those receiving such signals have hostile leanings – Seth Shostak from SETI says his cautioning comes a little too late, some 60 years too late, in fact.

We have been inadvertently betraying our presence for 60 years with our television, radio and radar transmissions. The earliest episodes of I Love Lucy have washed over 6000 or so star systems, and are reaching new audiences at the rate of one solar system a day. If there are sentient beings out there, the signals will reach them.

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