Tag Archives: alien life

Why haven’t we heard from the aliens?

One of the most heard questions about aliens is “If there are aliens, why haven’t we heard from them yet?”. This is also known as the Fermi Paradox. But just because we haven’t heard from aliens, doesn’t mean they’re not out there. Here I’m merely focusing on the reasons why we haven’t heard from them. We’re here and listening, so, what gives?

They haven’t found us yet

If they don’t know we exist, how are they going to send us messages? How are they going to visit us? They don’t know where we are and where to look! And quite frankly, there are many species on our own planet unexplored as well. They have no idea there’s this species that calls itself intelligent out there, that will tag them and partly destroy them as soon as they tale notice of them. And we don’t know they are there so we can’t tag them in the first place. Ignorance can be bliss. We just haven’t been noticed yet.

And think of this. We’re just a tiny planet in a tiny solar system with a tiny sun. The chances an alien civilization will have found our star may be likely, but will they know planets are orbiting it? And will they know how many and are they able to find the rock planets? Mercury, Venus, Mars and Earth really aren’t all that big and relatively close to the sun. Seen from Saturn we’re nothing more than a pale blue dot. We barely see ourselves from within our solar system, how are we traceable from outside, or even outside our galaxy? If they’re equally advanced like us, it’s very likely they haven’t found us yet, just like we haven’t found them. For all we know, we might even be the most advanced species in the universe.

We’re not interesting to them

If an alien civilisation is able to detect and contact us, chances are that they have done this before. They’re probably part of a multi-galactic alliance with numerous of species. To them, finding life in the universe is common and the real question is why on some worlds or solar systems life hasn’t evolved at all. Finding life in the universe is not that special to them. It’s more something that they expect to find.

If that’s the case, they’re a highly advanced race. Benefited from other races from various galaxies. They are way more advanced than we are. They know how to explore the universe way beyond our imagination. They’ve found us. But with all the other advanced civilizations they know, we’re just not interesting enough. We’re just galactic infants who barely made it to our own moon. Hardly impressive. We’re not trying to talk to ants either. So why would they want to talk to us? They may observe until they get bored. Some nerds may stay behind and continue to observe us. They may also be the laughing stock of their species for doing so.

We have, but it’s not common knowledge for whatever reason that may be

Roswell, 1947. An alien craft crashes. Two passengers die due to the impact, but one survives. It causes a stir but soon the word is out. It was just a weather balloon. Move along, nothing to see here. Just the military picking up the pieces and taking the evidence away. Then, Area 51 comes in existence, and is being denied.

While the pieces of alien spacecraft are being investigated and studied, the lone survivor is being patched up. They’re able to tell where they’re from. They have a wealth of knowledge and technological skills way beyond our own. They’re able to phone home. They’re telling about this species of humans and they agree on sharing information among each other. They study us. In return we get they’re knowledge. Only, us and we are not the same group of people. Us don’t know what we know. Why? Ask we, whoever they are.

We have but we’re not listening

It’s life! It’s intelligent life! Look, they have satellites! They must be intelligent! We must send them a message that we are here. It will be such a surprise! It’s how we would react and it’s very likely that an alien civilization will react the same. So they send out a message to us. With coordinates telling us where they are. DNA information. Images, sound files. A warm welcome. Send to our planet. But they will not get a responds.

Hope

Let’s just hope the sending party is advanced enough to understand that we’re not being impolite and see the radio silence as an act of war. And where I say radio silence, it should read whatever the form of communication they decided to use to contact us. Not being on the same wavelength is a saying used to explain that two persons simply doesn’t understand each other due to different interests or intelligence level. It can also be used to explain why we haven’t heard from them. We’re using a different wavelength. Hence we are receiving but are simply not listening with the right tools. And this goes vice versa. Our wavelengths may have reached another civilisation but they’re not listening to that frequency.

We may not be alone. But maybe we’re just very lonely.

The Prime Directive in the 21st century

The Prime Directive forbids protagonists to interfere with the normal development of any life on any planet or celestial body, especially life that hasn’t been as fully developed like the visiting crew. Even though interfering could mean saving lives, then still one should not as it could disturb the development life on that planet would otherwise have. It’s not an easy rule to follow. But who is to say that a little interference that seems like a good idea at the time, will be a good idea for the future to come. In the universe of Star Trek personnel of Starfleet struggle on a regular basis with this rule as their job is not just to discover but also to protect.

This may be 24th century problems but we already deal with the very same concept today. We’re looking for life outside our planet and the chances are good that we will find it in our very own solar system. Mars is a good candidate. But so are Saturn’s moons Enceladus and Titan, Jupiter’s moons Europa, Callisto and Ganymede and the planet Venus. These are just a few examples. Life could hide in a dense atmosphere, hide in dusty rocks or lure underneath a thick layer of ice. Underneath that ice may be oceans that contain liquid water and is heated by the gravitational pull of their planet and other bigger moons in orbit.

Fascinating! We humans can’t go there ourselves yet, so we don’t run the risk that an astronaut will accidentally step on a life form and ruin the entire future ecosystem of that world. So why don’t we send our orbiters there, land on the surface and drill a hole into the ground and start exploring!? If only things were that easy. Technology however is getting more and more advanced so it will be possible to drill bigger holes in for instance Mars. A few millimeter won’t get us very far, even the most hopeful scientist will agree to that. To get to the oceans of for instance Europa, we will have to dig deeper, meaning we need to send a pretty large drill that may not weigh too much or else the project will get too costly and we need to have a camera attached to that drill so we will actually be able to see what’s out there. And of course a pretty mean transmitter that will be able to send all that data back to us.

The good news is, science is working on that and it all seems possible. Great! There’s no doubt a curious billionaire that will ‘borrow’ the missing money for development and doesn’t SpaceX have some qualified rockets available? So, what are we waiting for? Well, if there really is life out there, we don’t want to contaminate it with earthly germs.

First of all we don’t know what kind of life is out there. To keep to the Star Trek theme, it may be life, but not as we know it. If that’s the case, there is no knowing what will happen to the life form when it comes in contact with an earthly hitchhiking germ. We may cause mutilation and possibly extinction of that form of life. Humans have a horrible trackrecord of destroying and eliminating life on their own planet already, let’s try and not expand that in the universe so we may pretend to have a good name for the aliens.

Even if it’s a life form we recognise, exposing it to our life may still be a bad idea. The environment on say Titan is completely different than that from Earth. How would an earthly life form even react under such conditions? It’s unknown territory, we have no way of testing what will happen. Once we get drilling through the ice, there is no way back. Damage will be done. We will change something. It doesn’t even matter if it’s for the better or the worse.

So, we don’t send any germs to Callisto, got it! But this is a difficult thing to do. Where humans work, there are germs. We can do everything in our power to make sure the orbiter and the landing module and the drill get as sterile as possible on that rocket. Well, that rocket. That rocket can’t be expected to be completely sterile. It will soar through our atmosphere and yes, will only suffice as the transporter out of our atmosphere. The rocket will not reach the surface of Titan. But. Can we exclude that no contamination will be present on the actual lander? As much as we try, and the chance is incredibly small, I mean, really small, we can’t exclude any earthly germs landing on the surface, as any lander before will have high guarantees but not a full 100%. This isn’t a problem on lifeless worlds but it may be if there is. We just don’t know it yet.

Somehow Earth will become part of the United Federation of Planets and Earth will send out explorers into the universe so we will overcome this problem in the future. Whether this will mean humans will influence other life in the solar system and the universe for that matter, has yet to be seen. But who is to say that life on Earth hasn’t been pushed into the direction it has gone without help from outer space? Maybe life is meant to contaminate other worlds in order to thrive. There is only one way to find out. I’m confident that humans will confirm extraterrestrial life of any kind within 20 years from now. And it will change everything.

What if Voyager 1 crashes

Just imagine this. You’re out in the field. Doing research, going for a walk, just relaxing, whatever. Suddenly you hear a sound and you look up to the sky. An object is flying through the air. An Unidentified Flying Object? You follow it with your eyes until you notice that it will fall down pretty close to you. It’s going to crash. You seek shelter but you keep watching the object. It crashed and you get up to look what has fallen from the sky.

Pause right here. Before we go any further we need to set some things straight. You are on a planet but not on our solar system. You have vision, otherwise you wouldn’t have seen it. And you have a hearing device or else you wouldn’t have heard it. You are not too small to have been completely ignorant of the object and you’re not too big either. It could have crushed you. You have been aware of it. You know to check it out, you have intelligence. You are what we on Earth would call an extraterrestrial intelligence or in short, an alien.

In this story it’s important you have eyes that can see and ears that can hear. Intelligence will help you too and you’re about the size as are the humans on earth. What are the odds of that? You have no idea and neither have we.

Back to the object. You’re walking towards it and notice that it’s a wondrous thing. The first thing you notice is the disc. It’s a little under 4 meters in diameter. There are sticks attached to the disc and a box. What the hell is this thing? It looks a bit like an old satellite. How did this end up here? There were no news reports about old satellites still up in the air. Didn’t anyone see this thing coming?

Probably not. It’s probably too ancient to be picked up by current means of communication and detection. Didn’t it appear on any radars? You look around. So far no one else is heading your way. You have time to examine this machine, which may be up to 800 kg in weight.

OK, pause! If you are being picky you now may ask the question how the weight can be estimated to 800 kg. Weight depends on gravity. We could say that the weight of the object is about 10 times the weight of the full grown alien. If we are already assuming this alien can see, hear, feel and walk, we may as well assume they are about the same size.

You walk around it. Astonishing! This is ancient! It must have come here through a wormhole or something. Which may explain the late detection, if so, of this object. This must be from a civilization that just has learned to communicate around the globe and beyond! And if that is the case, they must have left a message.

With still no one else coming to the object (which is indeed a little strange but is convenient for the story), you careful try to touch it. Amazing! You study how everything is connected to each other and then notice there’s a compartment. Your heart is pounding, what would be in there? You see something that shines with the little light that hits it. Carefully to not break anything you reach out and retrieve something you have never ever seen in your life.

It’s a gold disc. What a rare element, a weird choice to create something so… what is this? You flip it around and see that the other side has grooves in it. Peculiar. It has a darker ring on which the grooves are much further apart and something is written or drawn in the middle. There’s a hole in the middle. You flip it around again and see a flat surface with circles, lines and squares. There seems to be a code on it but you aren’t sure. What you are sure of that this is worth a fortune, even if someone has sketched into it.

You decide to keep the disc and leave the rest of the object to the scientist. No one will know you took it. You call the authorities who order you to get away as far away from the thing as possible. No, you haven’t touched it, which is good. They however have questions for you. You leave it for later and go home.

At home you store the valuable disc and head over to the news device. Scientists have yet to confirm but the object seems to have traveled from another solar system. This means that there is indeed another civilization out there. They may not be as advanced as we are judging from the device but they are out there. Scientists are looking for a message. It could be anything because we know nothing about them. For all we know the device could be emitting signals over and over again trying to tell them something.

You smile and are excited. You found that thing. You hope that whatever signal the ting is emitting is a friendly one and that you didn’t find a war machine. That would look bad.

What the alien has found is of course the Voyager 1 (or 2). We send a golden record, an LP, to them assuming they know how to play it. Changes are that the aliens don’t even know what a record is and are looking for signals from the satellite that correspond with their own ways of communicating. And our alien friend? He has something so valuable in his house, namely gold, that with the fame he gets for being the one first at the scene of the crash, he starts to become paranoid. He may be the wealthiest alien on the planet but no one can ever know. For all we know we have caused an alien to go insane by sending some music and sounds from the planet Earth.