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Parallel Universes
2012-Jul-13, 08:03 AM
How might aliens take over our planet? If I was leading a battle fleet I'd study humanity. Then buy the planet. Hire a few human agents. Mine the asteroid belt and then sell us enough Gold, Platinum, Beryllium and other exotic shiny beads to buy up all the real estate on offer. They wouldn't need to enslave us. We've already got a minimum wage slave work force system in place. It would simply be a change in management. Nobody would even notice.

redshifter
2012-Jul-13, 07:05 PM
Why bother with Earth? Plenty of resources throughout our solar system. Not like we could do anything to stop them if we were so inclined. I can't see a scenario where aliens would need an economic boost selling us refined metals or other resources from our own solar system. If they needed our resources badly enough to come here, they'd probably keep them for themselves.

R.A.F.
2012-Jul-13, 07:13 PM
Why bother with Earth? Plenty of resources throughout our solar system.

Why bother with our solar system? There is nothing here that can't be found in any other solar system.


Well, excluding us. :)

servic
2012-Jul-13, 08:09 PM
If I were an alien, I would need to decide on the climate and what species are ok to live with. If only a human is the problem than just design a virus to wipe most of people from earth - this would be the most efficient way without disturbing much the rest of the ecosystem.

If one does not care about the species than some 15-km asteroid would be enough to erase some 70% of Earth population. The rest of population can be erased by viruses and toxins against the remaining species including humans and plants.

And I do not think any alien would need to enslave a stupid human for work, which could be perfectly completed by a clever robot.

IsaacKuo
2012-Jul-13, 08:13 PM
Why bother with our solar system? There is nothing here that can't be found in any other solar system.


Well, excluding us. :)

If by "us", you refer to Earthlings in general, of course.

Still...I wouldn't be too quick to presume there isn't something else unusual out there in our solar system.

primummobile
2012-Jul-13, 09:12 PM
I can't see any scenario where aliens would have any reason to come to Earth other than to simply meet and study us. There's plenty of everything that is on Earth all through the universe... except for the life. If they have the technology to get here then they have no needs that we or our planet could fulfill for them other than adding to their own knowledge.

Stephen Hawking and a few others say that we should try to keep a low profile, but I don't think their fears have much basis in reality. If our hypothetical alien neighbors have managed to make it this far then I can't think of any good reason that they would have to destroy us. It would be a lot easier to mine the big giant clouds of water in space than it would be trying to do it here with pesky humans trying to kill you.

primummobile
2012-Jul-13, 09:14 PM
And I do not think any alien would need to enslave a stupid human for work, which could be perfectly completed by a clever robot.

Indeed. I think a lot of humans would rather die than be enslaved by aliens. And then there is the matter of providing us with food, shelter, healthcare, and everything else we would need to survive and be good slaves. It would just be a waste of time and resources on the part of the aliens.

Noclevername
2012-Jul-13, 09:28 PM
And even if, for some incomprehensible alien reason, ETs did decide to "invade" us, there are far too many variables to say what scenarios are likely or even plausible. How do they think? What are their goals? What technology do they have? How much warning do we get before they arrive? Will they come in person, or send machines?

Romanus
2012-Jul-13, 10:14 PM
Nuke the entire site from orbit. If these homocidal aliens are really bent on destroying us, there's no need to soft-pedal it.

R.A.F.
2012-Jul-13, 10:41 PM
I wouldn't be too quick to presume there isn't something else unusual out there in our solar system.

Why not?

ravens_cry
2012-Jul-13, 11:06 PM
Well, Earth itself has a thick atmosphere and deep gravity well. I can't think of many natural resources that couldn't be gotten cheaper from asteroids and comets.
Now, if they appreciate cultural artefacts, art and technology, they might come to Earth, but you don't invade for such things.
A semi-plausible reason for an Earth invasion, as opposed to strip mining the solar system, might be some religious indignation.
Perhaps some habit of ours that our broadcasts have shown offend some deeply felt taboo.

Noclevername
2012-Jul-13, 11:34 PM
Still...I wouldn't be too quick to presume there isn't something else unusual out there in our solar system.

There's no evidence of any.

Ara Pacis
2012-Jul-13, 11:36 PM
Nuke the entire site from orbit. If these homocidal aliens are really bent on destroying us, there's no need to soft-pedal it.

That'd take a heck of a lot of nukes, more than even we have, and they'd have to bring them with them or make them here on site.

Ara Pacis
2012-Jul-13, 11:47 PM
If we want to look at this realistically for a moment and not attribute to aliens, sufficiently-advanced magical god-hood levels of technology, then we can make some educated guesses. Better yet, imagine how it might work if we were attempting to colonize another planet.

Without FTL, we can assume they would travel here on a slow boat using non-magical tech. This means there are severe mass constraints on payload and passengers. Due to the actual limitations of detection, they may not know we were here until after they left because we weren't radiating yet or, they didn't detect us until they got close because our radio strength decreases to insignificance not too far out. So, they won't have the technological ability to just take anything from just anywhere in the solar system and maybe their supply situation was based on adapting a habitable planet with small structures or modest paraterraforming. In addition to this, they may not have the numbers in population or weapons tech to make war and survive. They would have to either avoid us and bypass the planet, or if they didn't have the fuel/propellant, they might just hang around in secret hoping to scrounge what they need without anyone noticing.

Selfsim
2012-Jul-14, 12:22 AM
If we want to look at this realistically for a moment ...Well that would be the end of this thread :p :)

QED ...

Cheers

IsaacKuo
2012-Jul-14, 12:29 AM
Why not?
Because of how little we know of other planetary systems, and because exoplanet systems have so far surprised us by being more different from ours than we had expected. Our solar system doesn't even have any examples of mini-neptunes, which seem to be the most common type.

Also, we know precious little about the vast majority of our solar system's bodies. Consider, for example, how little we know of the Pluto system. The Oort cloud and any planets among them is quite mysterious.

Among our solar system's significantly sized bodies are some really odd mysterious outliers. Titan and its unique atmosphere is unusual (for us, at least). 90377 Sedna is another enigmatic mystery.

So, we have a severe lack of information as well as a historical trend of finding out our solar system isn't as typical as we had thought. Given all that, I wouldn't assume that the only possible thing interesting about our solar system is the life here on Earth.

Selfsim
2012-Jul-14, 12:48 AM
Because of how little we know of other planetary systems, and because exoplanet systems have so far surprised us by being more different from ours than we had expected.
{snip} ...
Given all that, I wouldn't assume that the only possible thing interesting about our solar system is the life here on Earth.Well, given that we know so little, why assume anything at all ?

The only real fact is that life elsewhere, is 'unknown'.

Assuming anything, one way or the other, biases the search criteria, and minimises any chances of finding anything (if there is anything to find). Overall, its just poor scientific practice if you ask me.

R.A.F.
2012-Jul-14, 12:50 AM
Because of how little we know ... we know precious little about... how little we know...we have a severe lack of information...

Given all that, I wouldn't assume that the only possible thing interesting about our solar system is the life here on Earth.




Sorry for the "snip job", I just wanted to illustrate that you, yourself admit that we just don't have the information...certainly not enough information to speculate that our solar system has "something" that other solar systems do not.

primummobile
2012-Jul-14, 01:10 AM
Please don't take this the wrong way, because I mean no disrespect. In fact, I admire your rigor, selfsim. But no one is saying that Sasquatch is real or that they saw Nessie in the loch. All they are saying is that you shouldn't assume that life does not exist elsewhere.

I agree with you in principle. We do only have one sample to work with. But that doesn't mean we can't use it to make predictions. A lot of our earlier knowledge about other stars came from observing the only one close to us. We have to work with what we know. No scientist does an experiment before they have some sort of hypothesis or idea of what they are looking for. That's why we don't accept results until we know they have been reviewed and reproduced. That's to eliminate bias. But being human, our first experiment or observation is always going to be biased. Again, that's why we insist that third parties confirm all results. We would be remiss if we did not. But we can't look if we don't have any idea what we are looking for to begin with. We need some kind of starting point. That's why we don't just assume no other life exists. If we did that, there would be no reason to look.

Again, please don't take this the wrong way. I am merely making an observation.

R.A.F.
2012-Jul-14, 02:18 AM
...no one is saying that Sasquatch is real or that they saw Nessie in the loch.

Of course not....that would require evidence to confirm the claim.



All they are saying is that you shouldn't assume that life does not exist elsewhere.

Why is it that Nessie and Sasquatch require evidence before belief, yet a much more important question...if life exists elsewhere in the universe, is "given a pass"...is "assumed" to be correct?

Selfsim
2012-Jul-14, 02:33 AM
All they are saying is that you shouldn't assume that life does not exist elsewhere. Why not assume that ?
It seems completely appropriate to do so particularly if we simultaneously assume that life exists elsewhere, (and I see an abundance of that .. right here !)


I agree with you in principle. We do only have one sample to work with. But that doesn't mean we can't use it to make predictions.The impression commonly being attempted in this section of the forum, is one based on logical reasoning. Just about all scientific theories use abductive and inductive logical reasoning. A theory is constructed on observation or experiment (abductive reasoning). The same theory can be used to make predictions, (inductive reasoning). Mathematical theorems on the other hand, are based on deductive (affirmative) reasoning however, mathematicians occasionally attempt to disprove the premise, even though the initial premise is assumed to be true. If the premise is found to be not true, then a "proof by contradiction" is obtained. This almost never happens in philosophically based logical reasoning .. and the exo-life 'exists' camp, almost never attempts anything similar to that.

Frankly I see the discussion of exolife, not falling in any category of reasoning (deductive, inductive or abductive). The problem is there is no data that forms a conclusion or allows the construction of a premise. The lack of data cannot in itself be considered as a valid basis for formulation of the premise that exo-life doesn't exist either, as this leads to the logical fallacy of 'argumentum ad ignorantium'.

Unfortunately, the only way one can make meaningful predictions, is if there is an empirical, data-based theory, which then enables the generalisation of such a theory, to apply to 'universally applicable life'. In the process of abstracting to such a generalised level of theory, our best mathematically based tools have shown that the cost of doing this, is predictability itself. (This is just like quantum mechanics .. the observation itself, is perfectly capable of obliterating what you set out to observe in the first place !)


A lot of our earlier knowledge about other stars came from observing the only one close to us. We have to work with what we know. Working with what we know, also requires having remain aware that it is, by necessity, completely biased towards 'Earth-like'. There is no escape from this, except if one chooses to become completely oblivious about that (which seems to be the case here).
No scientist does an experiment before they have some sort of hypothesis or idea of what they are looking for. Show me where a testable hypothesis has been clearly stated here.

That's why we don't accept results until we know they have been reviewed and reproduced. That's to eliminate bias. But being human, our first experiment or observation is always going to be biased. Again, that's why we insist that third parties confirm all results. We would be remiss if we did not.The only way bias can be eliminated is via a second instance being discovered. This has nothing to do with peer review, although I would expect that such a discovery would be reviewed, in order to eliminate author bias.

But we can't look if we don't have any idea what we are looking for to begin with. Why not ?
We need some kind of starting point. That's why we don't just assume no other life exists. If we did that, there would be no reason to look.Sure there would open-minded exploration requires nothing more than curiosity.


Again, please don't take this the wrong way. I am merely making an observation.No problems I appreciate the opportunity to elaborate on what seems to be lacking here.

Regards

R.A.F.
2012-Jul-14, 02:40 AM
Sure there would … open-minded exploration requires nothing more than curiosity.

Precisely...it's not, "gee, I'll assume there is life elsewhere, so I'll look for it", but actually, "I don't know what is out there...there may be life, so I'll look for it".

The difference might seem subtle, but there is a difference.

Selfsim
2012-Jul-14, 02:49 AM
Precisely...it's not, "gee, I'll assume there is life elsewhere, so I'll look for it", but actually, "I don't know what is out there...there may be life, so I'll look for it".

The difference might seem subtle, but there is a difference.The difference is honesty ...!!...

R.A.F.
2012-Jul-14, 02:58 AM
The difference is honesty ...!!...

I'm not prepared to make such a judgement "call".

It is as you posted...there is no need to rely on assumption as the "impetus" for seeking other life...you only need to be curious.

Selfsim
2012-Jul-14, 03:05 AM
I'm not prepared to make such a judgement "call". Yep .. fair enough.
'Scientific honesty' is more what I meant (not the morality call).

Cheers

IsaacKuo
2012-Jul-14, 04:59 AM
Well, given that we know so little, why assume anything at all ?
I'm not the one assuming. Some others assume that the only possible thing in our solar system which isn't commonplace is the life forms here on Earth.

Parallel Universes
2012-Jul-14, 05:07 AM
All the evidence I've seen points to life being nothing more than an inevitable chemical processgiven time and the right environmental conditions. Life by its very nature expands and grows into new environments. Intelligence has survival value. We humans have spread to every continent and are endeavouring to reach out into space. Why assume this is only happening on one speck of rock in the Galaxy?

Ants use slaves. Humans use slaves. Why wouldn't creatures more advanced than us decide to enslave us? Robots are expensive and limited in scope here. Maybe they will surpass our capabilities one day and maybe not. There are inventions we have never conceptualised. Some aliens may not have considered building robots.

IsaacKuo
2012-Jul-14, 05:08 AM
Sorry for the "snip job", I just wanted to illustrate that you, yourself admit that we just don't have the information...certainly not enough information to speculate that our solar system has "something" that other solar systems do not.
Umm...YOU are the one presuming certainty about whether or not there could possibly be anything interesting in our solar system other than the life forms here on Earth. YOU are the one claiming absolute certainty.

Anyway, your position seems oddly inconsistent, since you make an exception for "us". You have no problem with speculating that the life forms here on Earth might be something that other solar systems do not have. Why make such a glaring exception?

Noclevername
2012-Jul-14, 06:12 AM
Why make such a glaring exception?

Evidence, perhaps?

We know we're here. We've found no signs of anything similar anywhere else.

Added: Even if there is life out there, it won't be like Earth's life; and if it is like us, that's reason alone to make the trip!

Ara Pacis
2012-Jul-14, 06:44 AM
All the evidence I've seen points to life being nothing more than an inevitable chemical processgiven time and the right environmental conditions. Life by its very nature expands and grows into new environments. Intelligence has survival value. We humans have spread to every continent and are endeavouring to reach out into space. Why assume this is only happening on one speck of rock in the Galaxy?I don't think that's accurate. More properly the little evidence we have and the lack of same gives us the null hypothesis that it was just a "an inevitable chemical process" and the Copernican Principle allows us to contextualize "the right environmental conditions" as being rather common. Thing is, we don't know the cause nor the environmental conditions at the time and location of the cause.


Ants use slaves. Humans use slaves. Why wouldn't creatures more advanced than us decide to enslave us? Robots are expensive and limited in scope here. Maybe they will surpass our capabilities one day and maybe not. There are inventions we have never conceptualised. Some aliens may not have considered building robots.Assuming we have compatible biology... which may not be a safe assumption.

Paul Beardsley
2012-Jul-14, 06:52 AM
Still...I wouldn't be too quick to presume there isn't something else unusual out there in our solar system.

I'm puzzled as to how this straightforward comment got so thoroughly misunderstood throughout most of this thread.

IsaacKuo
2012-Jul-14, 07:39 AM
Evidence, perhaps?

We know we're here. We've found no signs of anything similar anywhere else.

So what? There are also plenty of other things in our solar system which are unique as far as we've seen. One example I already explicitly mentioned was Titan and its unique atmosphere.


Added: Even if there is life out there, it won't be like Earth's life; and if it is like us, that's reason alone to make the trip!

If there's life like us out there, then it's possible they could be interested in, say, sending a probe to study Titan. There are humans interested in a Titan mission, so hypothetical aliens similar to us could possibly interested in a Titan mission also.

If there's life unlike us out there, then it's still possible they could be interested in a Titan mission.

Now, maybe Titan is unremarkable in our galaxy. Maybe there are plenty of exomoons similar to it, and there's nothing sufficiently novel about it to warrant the interest of hypothetical aliens. But we have no evidence to support this hypothesis yet. We have no observational evidence of exomoons, and great uncertainty in theoretical models of exomoons.

Basically, we just don't know. And that's just one example--a moon which we've at least gotten a good enough look at to see some of what's interesting (to us) about it. For the overwhelming majority of solar system bodies, we haven't even gotten a good enough look at them to even know how mysterious they may be to us.

I gave the example of the Pluto system. Despite the high profile that Pluto has enjoyed since its discovery nearly a century ago, we don't even know how many moons it has. What little we do know is remarkable. When New Horizons zooms past the Pluto System, its sensor data will certainly open up more questions than it closes.

Selfsim
2012-Jul-14, 07:41 AM
I'm puzzled as to how this straightforward comment got so thoroughly misunderstood throughout most of this thread.Well, the way I read it was:

i) RAF was arguing non-uniqueness (non 'interestingness') in our Solar System (with the exception of 'us') and;
ii) Isaac countered, arguing for uniqueness (or 'interestingness') in our Solar System, although he qualified it with his usual speculative term: 'possibility'.

The way I see it, we really have no idea of the scales of applicability for 'uniqueness' or 'non-uniqueness', of planetary sized objects within the distribution of known Solar Systems in the observable universe. When it comes to things of the size of living 'beings', within things of the scale of solar-systems, we do know that there aren't any communicative space-faring human beings living elsewhere in our particular Solar System (which supports RAFs statement). Neither argument seems to be comparable to me (yet). Overall, it seems the uniqueness/non-uniqueness arguments gravitate towards an 'unknown' state.
(Does that make sense ? .. I hope so).

Regards

Selfsim
2012-Jul-14, 07:44 AM
IsaacKuo;

I am yet to understand what solar system moons, and their atmospheres have in common with life, which enables us to correlate the two together and distinguish uniqueness from non-uniqueness ??

Can you explain why you are comparing the two ?

Regards

Paul Beardsley
2012-Jul-14, 07:47 AM
(Does that make sense ? .. I hope so).

I got a bit lost, TBH.

Isaac's point was that we don't know enough about the solar system to rule out unusual things. The responses he got were the sort of reponses he would have deserved if he'd said something silly - if he'd said there is definitely life elsewhere in the solar system, for instance.

Noclevername
2012-Jul-14, 07:57 AM
Isaac's point was that we don't know enough about the solar system to rule out unusual things. The responses he got were the sort of reponses he would have deserved if he'd said something silly - if he'd said there is definitely life elsewhere in the solar system, for instance.

The responses were mostly on the order of "we don't know enough to assume unusual things either." I don't see how that equates to anything silly.

Selfsim
2012-Jul-14, 07:59 AM
Frankly, the Copernican Principle is typically taken way beyond its domain of applicability, (eg: down to inappropriate scales), and I think that's the problem at the heart of all this(??)

We seem to desperately 'need' to rely on the 'comfort' it provides ... in spite of the amount of uniqueness we see around us.

Its kinda like a 'tug-o-war' between astronomical and biological camps (??)

Regards

IsaacKuo
2012-Jul-14, 08:08 AM
IsaacKuo;

I am yet to understand what solar system moons, and their atmospheres have in common with life, which enables us to correlate the two together and distinguish uniqueness from non-uniqueness ??

Who is claiming any sort of correlation?


Can you explain why you are comparing the two ?

I'm not.

The question is what sort of "interesting" things could exist in our solar system--interesting enough to warrant a space mission. R.A.F. is among those who argue that there's definitely nothing in our solar system which wouldn't be plentiful in other star systems, except for "us". I take "us" to refer to mean Earth life forms in general, rather than just humans.

I find that rather presumptive. There are plenty of other things in our solar system which are interesting enough to warrant us sending a space mission. Maybe these are all boring and commonplace to hypothetical aliens. Maybe not. We don't know enough yet, but we're starting to learn about other star systems. What we have learned so far has shown our Solar System to be less typical than we had expected.

Noclevername
2012-Jul-14, 08:11 AM
Frankly, the Copernican Principle is typically taken way beyond its domain of applicability, (eg: down to inappropriate scales), and I think that's the problem at the heart of all this(??)

We seem to desperately 'need' to rely on the 'comfort' it provides ... in spite of the amount of uniqueness we see around us.

Its kinda like a 'tug-o-war' between astronomical and biological camps (??)

Regards

I don't understand. What do you mean by "comfort"?

IsaacKuo
2012-Jul-14, 08:20 AM
Well, the way I read it was:

i) RAF was arguing non-uniqueness (non 'interestingness') in our Solar System (with the exception of 'us') and;
ii) Isaac countered, arguing for uniqueness (or 'interestingness') in our Solar System, although he qualified it with his usual speculative term: 'possibility'.

R.A.F. is arguing that there is certainly nothing interesting in our Solar System except for "us".

I'm arguing that maybe there could be something else interesting in our Solar System. Certainly, there are other things interesting to us. What we don't know is whether or not any of these things are so commonplace in other star systems as to be uninteresting to hypothetical aliens.

IsaacKuo
2012-Jul-14, 08:22 AM
The responses were mostly on the order of "we don't know enough to assume unusual things either." I don't see how that equates to anything silly.

The responses by R.A.F. and Selfsim seem to equate "unusual thing" with life. The presumption, it seems, is that the only things that could possibly be interesting to anyone is life forms.

Noclevername
2012-Jul-14, 08:24 AM
The very first sentence in the OP is:


How might aliens take over our planet?

Since the thread isn't about scientific missions to the Solar System, I think we're all sidetracking.

Noclevername
2012-Jul-14, 08:28 AM
The responses by R.A.F. and Selfsim seem to equate "unusual thing" with life. The presumption, it seems, is that the only things that could possibly be interesting to anyone is life forms.

I think you're presuming too much about that presumption-- you seem to be attributing things that they didn't actually say.

Paul Beardsley
2012-Jul-14, 08:32 AM
The responses were mostly on the order of "we don't know enough to assume unusual things either." I don't see how that equates to anything silly.

Given how obvious it is, it implies that Isaac was assuming unusual things, which he wasn't.

But you're probably right, this is sidetracking the thread.

MaDeR
2012-Jul-14, 11:30 AM
Frankly, the Copernican Principle is typically taken way beyond its domain of applicability, (eg: down to inappropriate scales)
Define "beyond its domain of appicability".

I cannot help but wonder if possibility of extrasolar planets before 1995 would be for you "beyond domain of applicability of CP". Sorry, but parallels write themself.


We seem to desperately 'need' to rely on the 'comfort' it provides ... in spite of the amount of uniqueness we see around us.
Uh... considering human nature, I do not see how CP give comfort. For most of history (and to today) humans thought of themself as something very special (God image and all of that). CP says we are not special in this way - contradictory to beliefs and wishful thinking of humanity. No comfort here.

About topic... alien invasion as in those silly sf movies will never happen. It is possible to aliens having contradictory interest to ours, but we would have no say in it or any chance to oppose, if aliens would choose to ignore our interests. Movie would be rather short...

Anyway, most probable reason - as other said - is to study us (implying non-interferrence). Anything else that aliens would need they can get elsewhere. In my opinion it is even worse: no one study us, no one care. Just like that.

primummobile
2012-Jul-14, 03:08 PM
Of course not....that would require evidence to confirm the claim.




Why is it that Nessie and Sasquatch require evidence before belief, yet a much more important question...if life exists elsewhere in the universe, is "given a pass"...is "assumed" to be correct?

First, the Nessie or Sasquatch question. I was using those as examples of an absurdity. Namely, that no one here is advocating any of the absurd claims that you see from cryptozoologists, but I don't see a real distinction between how some react to cryptozoology claims and how they react to claims that extraterrestrial life exists.

Personally, I am inclined to believe that life in the universe is relatively rare, and intelligent life even more rare. Please note, I make a very strong distinction between belief and knowledge. But, I am unwilling to discount the possibility of other life in the universe simply because of what we do know about life on earth. We know that life on earth arose almost immediately after the Late Heavy Bombardment, which is probably just about as early as it was able to exist. Absent some other mechanism for creation, that leads me to believe that it is not difficult for life to, at minimum, get started. Some form of life probably started many times on the ancient earth. It's unlikely that mother nature got it right on the first try.

We also know that the entire universe, including where both of us are sitting, started in the same initial conditions. So, unless Earth is really special, it is mathematically unlikely that no other life exists. Of course, as you would say, the mathematical likelihood of something happening does not constitute evidence. And I agree with that, which brings me to my final point.

No one is assuming that life exists. The exact statements were all of the variety of "I wouldn't assume life does not exist." You are equating "I assume something" with "I do not assume not-something" when they are not logically equivalent. To make any kind of assumption, a reasonable person requires evidence to back up that assumption. We almost universally reject the notion that sasquatch exists because we have explored almost every square foot of the land surface of the earth and never found any evidence to confirm his existence, yet we have found evidence of all other types of life spanning billions of years. Therefore, it is absurd to assume Sasquatch exists because the overwhelming evidence says he does not.

In the case of Sasquatch, we have clear and overwhelming evidence of absence. In the case of alien life, what we have is absence of evidence. Again, evidence of absence and absence of evidence are not equivalent. A doctor who thoroughly examines a patient and finds no evidence of cancer can safely say, "I assume there is no cancer." But a doctor who has examined only the tip of a patient's nose can only say, "I cannot assume that there is not cancer." No other statement about whether or not the patient has cancer can be logically made.

In the case of the question of existence of alien life, the absence of evidence overwhelms the evidence of absence. We have only closely examined a vanishingly small part of even our own solar system. We don't even know how to look for extraterrestrial life. We don't know if there are microbes in the middle cloud layers of Venus, the supposed oceans of Europa, or the hydrocarbon lakes on Titan. We know so little about them that it is logically impossible to assume that life does not exist. The only thing we can do is to not assume that life does not exist. If you are not assuming something, it means that you are assuming nothing. Taking any other position with so little information available cannot be logically supported.


EDIT: Selfsim, you consider this my response to your post as well, because the way I am reading it we basically agree with one another. I do have a couple points of contention with your reply to me, but I don't want to contribute any more to the further sidetracking of this thread. Maybe I will just start a new thread with this.

R.A.F.
2012-Jul-14, 03:32 PM
This isn't a question that can be answered with information available. there is no "I'm right", or "your right"....there is just "semantics".



R.A.F. is arguing...



Not anymore...I am out of this thread.......

primummobile
2012-Jul-14, 03:56 PM
Ants use slaves. Humans use slaves. Why wouldn't creatures more advanced than us decide to enslave us? Robots are expensive and limited in scope here. Maybe they will surpass our capabilities one day and maybe not. There are inventions we have never conceptualised. Some aliens may not have considered building robots.

I think if they can build a machine to get all the way to Earth, then they have built other machines to make their lives easier. We humans are a lot closer to building functioning robot slaves than what we are to building functioning star ships. If aliens chose to enslave us, they would need to provide us with clothing, food, and shelter. They would need to replace us when we died. No matter how you look at it, it's easier to just build a machine to do it better.

publiusr
2012-Jul-14, 05:21 PM
If I didn't want any competition on the block--I wouldn't use nukes--just shove an asteroid and let it do my job for me. They wouldn't even know I was there.

"These Earthers don't have much of a space program--and most of their spacecraft aren't bigger than our dustbins."

Don J
2012-Jul-14, 06:35 PM
How might aliens take over our planet?.
-Hypothetical scenario: -
"If you were a highly advanced culture about to invade a relatively primitive culture, you would not do it with a flourish of ships showing up in the heavens, and take the risk of being fired upon. That's the type of warfare less evolved mortals would get into. You would begin by creating intense confusion, with only inferences of your presence, inferences which cause controversial disagreement (Note: It is interesting that the major Intelligence projects designed to discredit UFO witnesses and cause confusion and contention among -- and infiltration of -- various UFO research organizations have been traced back to the Nazified NSA-CIA, which in turn maintains, as this is being written, continued ties with the Grays. - Branton).

"You would go to the most secret and powerful organizations within the society. In the case of the United States, you would infiltrate the CIA, and through the use of techniques unknown to them, you would take over some of the key people in their innermost core group. You would proceed in the same fashion to take over key members of the KGB. You would also create great dissension among the public at large, some individuals and groups insisting that they have seen UFOs, others insisting with equal vehemence that such a thing is not possible, and that they are either liars or deluded.

"You would involve the planet's two major nations in an on-going idiotic philosophical dispute, keeping them constantly at each other's throats over such questions as whether Thomas Jefferson was greater than Karl Marx or vice-versa (that is, whether 'Capitalist' tyranny or 'Communist' tyranny is worse than the other. By the way, don't confuse Communism with Communalism, and don't confuse Capitalism with Democracy. Communalism and Democracy are sovereigntist movements that respect the personal rights and freedoms of others. So-called unrestrained Communism and Capitalism are co-dependent collectist evils. Capitalist tyranny created Communist tyranny, and Communist tyranny justifies its existence as a force to fight Capitalist tyranny. Insane world we live in, is it not? - Branton). You would keep them continuously occupied with quarreling like two adolescent boys trying to prove their masculinity over who has which piece of territory, whether one has the right to invade Afghanistan or the other has the right to invade Nicaragua, persistently exchanging threats and insults like a couple of macho teen-agers, while arguing whether one should dismantle one type of nuclear warhead, or the other should dismantle another type of nuclear warhead. As you watched all this, you would sit back and you would laugh, if you had the capacity to laugh...

"You would occasionally let your ships be seen by some of the ordinary citizens, so that the elite governmental groups would become involved in attempts to keep them quiet, clumsily squelching attempts to make information about UFO activity public. This would result in the mass population losing confidence in the veracity of their elected officials. There would be constant arguments between the authorities and the public as to whether or not the persistently reported phenomena genuinely existed, thereby setting the population and the government at each other's throats. You would have already set the two major super-powers at each other's throats. By subtly causing economic turmoil, you would set the "Haves" and the "Have Nots" at each other's throats. In all possible ways, you would plant the seeds of massive discontent.

"After you had manipulated the population to the point where your covert control over it was complete, you might decide to go overt, and let a few ships land in public. But you would not go from covert to overt until you were sure of the totality of your control...

Those who have experienced UFO sightings or ET close encounters will constantly be at odds with the government, which will continue to retaliate by stigmatizing them as liars or deluded... The impoverished will become even more impoverished, and more filled to overflowing with explosively righteous anger. The wealthy will cling even more greedily to the wealth that they already have, creating a social atmosphere of sheer desperation and complete confusion. To add to that, there will be series after series of 'natural' disasters, some genuinely natural, some human-induced through aberrant scientific activities such as underground nuclear testing, others deliberately induced by the Grays through the (Scaler-type? - Branton) technology they are in possession of. When approximately three-quarters of the planet's population has been eliminated in this fashion, the Grays can then make an overt appearance as saviors from the skies, distributing food and medicine to the survivors. As the survivors line up to recieve their guotas of food and medicine, implants will be inserted, supposedly to aid in further food distribution, actually to guarantee complete Gray control with no possibility of rebellion (Note: Electronic chip implants have already been developed. These operate on bodily temperature changes and it is interesting that the part of the body which experiences the greatest ranges of temperature change are the forehead and the hands.These chips will not only serve to control individuals, but will also be able to track their every movements by satellite. One individual who worked on such a chip stated that the implant would decay after a certain period of time, at which point a poisonous virus would be released into the bloodstream of those who had recieved it, eventually killing the person and effecting a type of automatic "population control" for the electronically-controlled society. - Branton). From the point of view of the Grays, terrestrial humanity will have been reduced to manageable numbers and to eternal submission.

"Humanity is not about to be invaded. Humanity is not in the middle of an invasion. Humanity has been invaded! The invasion has taken place, and is NEARLY in its final stages. Great invasions do not happen with thundering smoke and nuclear weaponry. That is the mark of an immature society. Great invasions happen in secrecy." Branton

-End of the hypothetical scenario-
Source
http://www.title14.com/ufo/dulce/y93finis.html

Parallel Universes
2012-Jul-15, 06:07 AM
I think if they can build a machine to get all the way to Earth, then they have built other machines to make their lives easier. We humans are a lot closer to building functioning robot slaves than what we are to building functioning star ships. If aliens chose to enslave us, they would need to provide us with clothing, food, and shelter. They would need to replace us when we died. No matter how you look at it, it's easier to just build a machine to do it better.

They might use biological engineering instead of mechanical. Like the ship used in FarScape. Not that I see much difference. We are just living machines ourselves. If thats the case they might decide to use indigenous lifeforms as a base plate for a local work force. If they are anything like us then they are probably at war with factions of their own species. Competition drives evolution remember. No point in wasting precious resources in building millions of expendable robots when you already have millions of humans littering the landscape. I expect we are the only unique things in the solar system and they'll find some use for us. Even if its only as fertiliser.

Buying our planet with our solar system resources would cost them nothing. Once they owned most of the real estate and businesses they would quickly get their investment back in rent and food payments. The money just goes round in circles and they effectively own us. Quite legally I might add.

ravens_cry
2012-Jul-15, 06:17 PM
Biological engineering ,especially in such a hostile environment as space, has its disadvantages. Now instead of just life support for the crew, you got to provide it for the whole ship.
Long term radiation exposure could cause problems as well.

Noclevername
2012-Jul-15, 07:19 PM
Long term radiation exposure could cause problems as well.

There was a thread a while back about bioships growing a thick shell to protect against radiation and other space hazards; link. (http://cosmoquest.org/forum/showthread.php/113751-Biotechnology-arguments-(need-help-with-some-facts))

Ara Pacis
2012-Jul-15, 09:45 PM
There was a thread a while back about bioships growing a thick shell to protect against radiation and other space hazards; link. (http://cosmoquest.org/forum/showthread.php/113751-Biotechnology-arguments-(need-help-with-some-facts))

I wonder if we can bioengineer cryogenic fuel tanks and fission or fusion containment bladders...

ravens_cry
2012-Jul-16, 08:05 PM
I wonder if we can bioengineer cryogenic fuel tanks and fission or fusion containment bladders...
Cryogenic tanks don't sound impossible if they are grown, like teeth or shells. One would want to keep the actual meat bag bits well separated.
Fission and fusion is another matter, though . . .maybe?
An organic laser sounds like an interesting concept to try to think up.
Life processes tend to be fairly low energy.

IsaacKuo
2012-Jul-17, 07:50 PM
I wonder if we can bioengineer cryogenic fuel tanks and fission or fusion containment bladders...
With respect to the current discussion, I think the relevant word here is we. Hypothetical aliens using us as "slaves" wouldn't need to provide us with clothing or food or shelter. We're evolved creatures, obviously we can handle the basics of keeping ourselves alive by ourselves. These hypothetical aliens need not bother themselves with those details any more than the typical Apple customer bothers themselves with the details of clothing/feeding/sheltering Foxconn workers.

Really, it's just a question of whatever it is they would like us to do, and what means they would use to get us to do it. The former is mysterious and mystifying. I mean, who can say what aliens would want us to do? If they're anything like us, this could include all sorts of weird things ranging from producing and broadcasting The Real Housewives of Atlanta to mass mailing AOL coasters. If they're not like us, then the things they could want us to do could be even weirder!

The latter, though, could be straightforward. We humans can be motivated by payment and/or threats and/or deception and/or simply asking. Simple observation of the ways we motivate/manipulate each other could provide hypothetical aliens with all of the information they require in order to figure out how to use the same methods on us.

transreality
2012-Jul-19, 12:15 AM
Aliens are likely to have incompatible biologies. It would make sense to convert our biomass into something more usable by their own systems. Perhaps by using some grey goo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grey_goo). Just rain it into the atmosphere...

Noclevername
2012-Jul-19, 12:27 AM
Aliens are likely to have incompatible biologies. It would make sense to convert our biomass into something more usable by their own systems. Perhaps by using some grey goo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grey_goo). Just rain it into the atmosphere...

But if they can rearrange molecules that radically, why come here? CHON is plentiful throughout the universe.

ravens_cry
2012-Jul-19, 01:49 AM
But if they can rearrange molecules that radically, why come here? CHON is plentiful throughout the universe.
Indeed. The solar system perhaps, but Earth specifically? Why?
Instead, imagine a galactic culture where basically anything can be replicated, anything one needs, anything one want; basically a post-scarcity society.
It would make sense, at least to me, the thing that would be valued most would be originality, newness.
Imagine a group, lets call them cultural pirates, who snap up the cultural legacy of planet bound species for, what are to them, beads and baubles, and make like bandits.
By the time the planet bound join the galactic community, they find themselves destitute as all they have to offer has already been sold, hyped, and exhausted of interest.

R.A.F.
2012-Jul-19, 02:00 AM
Imagine a group, lets call them cultural pirates, who snap up the cultural legacy of planet bound species for, what are to them, beads and baubles, and make like bandits.

Make like "bandits", how? If they want for nothing, as you suggested, then what would be the benefit?

mutleyeng
2012-Jul-19, 02:47 AM
such ideas have been explored in science fiction before.
the benefit is something new to stimulate the senses, art, stories, music.
I have some sympathy with the idea. I can see how cultural pursuits may be of increasing importance to advanced civilizations - but then it might just be anthropomorphising Aliens a bit too much.

R.A.F.
2012-Jul-19, 04:16 AM
such ideas have been explored in science fiction before.

I am reminded of the Holodeck from ST:TNG....when exploring the Galaxy simply isn't "stimulating" enough, the crew plays "pretend".




the benefit is something new to stimulate the senses, art, stories, music.

Somewhat related to the above...they've become so "jaded" with their existance, they're going to travel many multi lightyear distances for "stimulation"?



I'm sorry, I just don't see it as being rational.

Solfe
2012-Jul-19, 04:33 AM
Silly tangent, but imagine how insulting it would be to see undeniably alien activity around the moons of Jupiter or Saturn? A swarm of alien craft loading materials from a moon for weeks on end, completely ignoring Earth... I can't really think of anything more insulting, except perhaps adding an Earth flyby on their way out of the solar system. :)

ravens_cry
2012-Jul-19, 06:34 AM
Make like "bandits", how? If they want for nothing, as you suggested, then what would be the benefit?
They want original ideas and concepts, alien takes on universal, and not so universal concepts, something to assuage jaded pallets, something exotic.

Ara Pacis
2012-Jul-19, 07:31 AM
They want original ideas and concepts, alien takes on universal, and not so universal concepts, something to assuage jaded pallets, something exotic.

To boldly go where no alien has gone before.

mutleyeng
2012-Jul-19, 01:58 PM
Somewhat related to the above...they've become so "jaded" with their existance, they're going to travel many multi lightyear distances for "stimulation"?



I'm sorry, I just don't see it as being rational.

Im not sure you can really apply rationality to an idea about Alien psychology.
If you ask the question, why would they come, you are just fumbling in the dark to come up with any explanation. I see it to be as good a guess as any ive heard.

aquitaine
2012-Jul-19, 02:50 PM
What if they want Earth so they can settle it? I mean, if we found another planet comparable to ours wouldn't we want to settle it?

Another possibility is they are at war with another race, and we just happen to be on the frontlines. So they fight eachother for control of this planet to prevent the other from settling it. If one of them wins they would settle it, and turn it into a staging area to launch future invasions of the loser's territory.

ravens_cry
2012-Jul-19, 07:08 PM
To boldly go where no alien has gone before.
Not exactly. More like raiders from a society where newness is the only commodity worth going for.

Noclevername
2012-Jul-19, 07:15 PM
Somewhat related to the above...they've become so "jaded" with their existance, they're going to travel many multi lightyear distances for "stimulation"?


For a civilization advanced enough to have conquered all physical needs and challenges, it might not be such a project. Just program your nanoswarm to gather up enough space debris to build and fuel a starhip, put yourself into hibernation, and wait out however many centuries or millenia in stasis.

IsaacKuo
2012-Jul-20, 07:03 PM
For a civilization advanced enough to have conquered all physical needs and challenges, it might not be such a project. Just program your nanoswarm to gather up enough space debris to build and fuel a starhip, put yourself into hibernation, and wait out however many centuries or millenia in stasis.
There also the non-silly idea of upload AIs--the concept of digital computer simulations or emulations of biological intelligent beings. If hypothetical aliens were like this, then there would be no need to muck around with hibernation or stasis. An AI being could travel subjectively instantly at lightspeed, from one CPU complex to another one light years away.

Don J
2012-Jul-20, 08:05 PM
For a civilization advanced enough to have conquered all physical needs and challenges, it might not be such a project. Just program your nanoswarm to gather up enough space debris to build and fuel a starhip, put yourself into hibernation, and wait out however many centuries or millenia in stasis.
...put yourself into hibernation
An alien intelligent reptilian civilization can do that naturally....in the event that such alien civilization exist, of course.

Noclevername
2012-Jul-20, 09:10 PM
There also the non-silly idea of upload AIs--the concept of digital computer simulations or emulations of biological intelligent beings. If hypothetical aliens were like this, then there would be no need to muck around with hibernation or stasis. An AI being could travel subjectively instantly at lightspeed, from one CPU complex to another one light years away.

It sounds as if you think my idea is "silly". Is that what you meant?

IsaacKuo
2012-Jul-20, 09:52 PM
It sounds as if you think my idea is "silly". Is that what you meant?
No, and I'm sorry if you thought I had implied anything of the sort.

I simply was stating that the idea of upload AIs is non-silly. I did not mean to imply anything about other concepts.

Noclevername
2012-Jul-20, 10:33 PM
No, and I'm sorry if you thought I had implied anything of the sort.

I simply was stating that the idea of upload AIs is non-silly. I did not mean to imply anything about other concepts.

All right. I also think uploading may eventually become possible, though if so I doubt such beings will physically travel for entertainment-- it'll probably be easier to program randomised scenarios for that purpose.

ZunarJ5
2012-Jul-21, 03:18 AM
Silly tangent, but imagine how insulting it would be to see undeniably alien activity around the moons of Jupiter or Saturn? A swarm of alien craft loading materials from a moon for weeks on end, completely ignoring Earth... I can't really think of anything more insulting, except perhaps adding an Earth flyby on their way out of the solar system. :)

I seriously cracked up at this. :D

Insulting isn't even the word... infuriating? Frustrated beyond madness? There aren't words to describe how (ticked) off I would be if they just scooted through without even saying "sup"...

ZunarJ5
2012-Jul-21, 03:25 AM
There also the non-silly idea of upload AIs--the concept of digital computer simulations or emulations of biological intelligent beings. If hypothetical aliens were like this, then there would be no need to muck around with hibernation or stasis. An AI being could travel subjectively instantly at lightspeed, from one CPU complex to another one light years away.

I like this idea. I've wondered, in a civilization spanning multiple star systems with members who posses cheap cloning tech and advanced neuro-transfer like tech, one could effectively travel bodily from world to world. Dump a body on world A, transfer your mind as information at the speed of light, and pick up a new body on world B.

Would a civilization with this capability still cling to biological bodies? It seems that with a good health insurance plan you could probably store a data back up of your mind... so the risk of death should be minimal. Maybe the visceral experiences of the flesh would be worth it.

Solfe
2012-Jul-21, 04:08 AM
I like this idea. I've wondered, in a civilization spanning multiple star systems with members who posses cheap cloning tech and advanced neuro-transfer like tech, one could effectively travel bodily from world to world. Dump a body on world A, transfer your mind as information at the speed of light, and pick up a new body on world B.

Would a civilization with this capability still cling to biological bodies? It seems that with a good health insurance plan you could probably store a data back up of your mind... so the risk of death should be minimal. Maybe the visceral experiences of the flesh would be worth it.

See "Digital to Analogue" by Alastair Reynolds. The AI doesn't seem to be alien, but just something nasty that humans do to each other.

ZunarJ5
2012-Jul-21, 04:41 AM
I did want to reply to the OP, though I notice they've been banned.

Since the thread is still going though I think I'll take a shot at it while addressing a couple of logical problems that were brought up right off the bat.

So, the problem; What the heck would a species capable of interstellar travel need to "invade" Earth for? If they can get here they can get whatever they need without needing to get rid of us... so why bother?

The solution is that perhaps Earth real estate is a rare commodity. We do not know how common the conditions on Earth itself are. We could be sitting on a rare jewel. What if Earth is not unique, but just truly rare in its ability to foster such a rich variety and density of life. Perhaps the invaders come from another one of these rare jewel worlds... and perhaps they don't like to share.

EDIT: I didn't post my method... d'Oh!

So, probably a virus or cancer delivery system of some kind... Human specific. The invaders would be here for the planet and all its biological splendor and fine weather after all... dont want to mess that up with asteroids, nukes, or broad spectrum biocides...

Noclevername
2012-Jul-21, 04:53 AM
An immortal race long ago seeded Earth with life designed to evolve a specific end-result. They've now come back to collect their bounty; oysters. Because the aliens look really good in pearls. Any other lifeforms that happen to crop up are a side-effect.

(As you can tell, this one is silly on purpose.)

ZunarJ5
2012-Jul-21, 05:04 AM
An immortal race long ago seeded Earth with life designed to evolve a specific end-result. They've now come back to collect their bounty; oysters. Because the aliens look really good in pearls. Any other lifeforms that happen to crop up are a side-effect.

(As you can tell, this one is silly on purpose.)

Ah, but what a wild success! Not only did they create the pearls, but one of those "side-effects" harvests and crafts them into jewelry, ready made for the prospecting E.T.'s ;)

Noclevername
2012-Jul-21, 05:05 AM
Or maybe, they only came along a few million years ago, and bred a local arboreal mammal to grow larger and larger brains. Because brains are delicious. ; )

ZunarJ5
2012-Jul-21, 05:08 AM
Or maybe, they only came along a few million years ago, and bred a local arboreal mammal to grow larger and larger brains. Because brains are delicious. ; )

Poor whales :(

Solfe
2012-Jul-21, 05:17 AM
Another screwball idea: What if the "invaders" are just like Donkey in the Shrek movies? Completely harmless, won't compete with us, very quick to get out of the way, never stop talking, etc. but they simply won't leave.

"But, uh, I don't have any friends. And I'm not goin' out there by myself. Hey, wait a minute! I got a great idea! I'll stick with you."

Noclevername
2012-Jul-21, 05:34 AM
Another screwball idea: What if the "invaders" are just like Donkey in the Shrek movies? Completely harmless, won't compete with us, very quick to get out of the way, never stop talking, etc. but they simply won't leave.

"But, uh, I don't have any friends. And I'm not goin' out there by myself. Hey, wait a minute! I got a great idea! I'll stick with you."

I've read a SF story based on just that idea. The aliens are friendly and generous, but they're just annoying. Eventually humans take the gift of the FTL drive from them and move to increasingly distant stars to get away from their "neighbors".

Ara Pacis
2012-Jul-21, 05:38 AM
It sounds as if you think my idea is "silly". Is that what you meant?

Actually, I kinda think it's silly, depending on what you mean by uploading and AI. Do you mean mind-uploading, cause then it wouldn't be an artificial but synthetic or perhaps some other term denoting digital but real. Anyways, semantics aside, I'm not confident it can be done. Nor am I confident that we can construct actual AI either.

Ara Pacis
2012-Jul-21, 05:43 AM
So, the problem; What the heck would a species capable of interstellar travel need to "invade" Earth for? If they can get here they can get whatever they need without needing to get rid of us... so why bother?Humans are capable of interstellar travel. Would we go to a planet that we think is habitable? I think so. Would we have enough supplies to pacify a planet-full of similarly advanced lifeforms with that vessel's crew and passenger? I'm doubting it.

Solfe
2012-Jul-21, 05:46 AM
I've read a SF story based on just that idea. The aliens are friendly and generous, but they're just annoying. Eventually humans take the gift of the FTL drive from them and move to increasingly distant stars to get away from their "neighbors".

Was that a Simak book?

ZunarJ5
2012-Jul-21, 01:33 PM
Humans are capable of interstellar travel. Would we go to a planet that we think is habitable? I think so. Would we have enough supplies to pacify a planet-full of similarly advanced lifeforms with that vessel's crew and passenger? I'm doubting it.

Hmmm... maybe I am wrong, but by the context of the thread I assumed it would be obvious that the level of interstellar travel proposed should be considered far beyond anything humans are currently capable of.

This is certainly non-specific enough to encompass a very wide range of speculative tech levels. Perhaps the ET's in my scenario are only a few hundred years more advanced, perhaps a few million. In either case, I didn't suggest pacifying the population... I suggested infecting them (poisoning would work too). This should be relatively easy for a species not too far more advanced than us, hell, I'm pretty sure we could do it to ourselves.

Furthermore, upon reading your reply again I wonder if you intended to quote me at all. What did my post have to do with what Humans would do or are capable of?

Finally, I don't see any point to drawing contradictory conclusions about what ET's would do based on human motives and capabilities... especially in a ridiculously speculative thread like this.

skep155
2012-Jul-21, 02:34 PM
How about, they decide to invade and pacify us before we can develop a relativistic kill vehicle/bomb and discover the location of their homeworld/colonies. We are pretty good at building weapons (as are they, probably), what if they thought that paranoia might lead us to build relativistic bombs triggering an interstellar cold war. Rather than risk such a war turning hot, they might just decide it's in both our species best interests for them to forcibly quarantine us to Earth and prevent us from acquiring technology that could be used to build relativistic kill vehicles. To keep us happy and reduce the possibility of revolt they could offer to transport a limited number of colonists to suitable extra-solar worlds on the condition that they keep their population below certain levels and don't attempt space travel themselves. Rather than an invasion it might be a voluntary submission to their rule.

ravens_cry
2012-Jul-21, 03:54 PM
I seriously cracked up at this. :D

Insulting isn't even the word... infuriating? Frustrated beyond madness? There aren't words to describe how pissed off I would be if they just scooted through without even saying "sup"...
I had a similar idea. Aliens start mining the solar system, and don't pay us so much as a by your leave.
Yeah, infuriating would be one adjective I would use.

primummobile
2012-Jul-21, 04:13 PM
Nor am I confident that we can construct actual AI either.


What do you consider to be "actual" AI? I don't think a machine would necessarily need to be self-aware to be quite a bit more intelligent than what we are.

Ara Pacis
2012-Jul-21, 10:52 PM
What do you consider to be "actual" AI? I don't think a machine would necessarily need to be self-aware to be quite a bit more intelligent than what we are.Maybe the context wasn't clear. I meant synthetic intelligence that is artificial due it not being an "uploaded mind".

Ara Pacis
2012-Jul-21, 11:08 PM
Hmmm... maybe I am wrong, but by the context of the thread I assumed it would be obvious that the level of interstellar travel proposed should be considered far beyond anything humans are currently capable of. Some of us prefer to deal with reality. In reality, how much daylight is there between what humans are capable of vs. what is physically possible for any entity to be capable of technologically?


This is certainly non-specific enough to encompass a very wide range of speculative tech levels. Perhaps the ET's in my scenario are only a few hundred years more advanced, perhaps a few million.It's not that speculative, actually. Some comments have addressed the issue scientifically, such as incompatible biologies, but most of the speculative comments have been intended to be humorous and facetious or fictitious.


In either case, I didn't suggest pacifying the population... I suggested infecting them (poisoning would work too). This should be relatively easy for a species not too far more advanced than us, hell, I'm pretty sure we could do it to ourselves.Pacification can also mean genocide as the peace is as the aggressor defines it. In case you don't know, pacify and other military terms are often used euphemistically in the English language.


Furthermore, upon reading your reply again I wonder if you intended to quote me at all. What did my post have to do with what Humans would do or are capable of?You had written "If they can get here they can get whatever they need...," which is a false equivalency and is not supported by known science.


Finally, I don't see any point to drawing contradictory conclusions about what ET's would do based on human motives and capabilities... especially in a ridiculously speculative thread like this.I do, it's called a hypothesis and it's part of science, which us what some of us here like to do even in this subforum. Anyone who understands military thinking knows that estimating and predicting intentions is based on capability. We know what we're capable of doing with such resources, so that's a baseline. Aliens might be more aggressive we don't know, but we need to plan for it if we're going to plan.

Colin Robinson
2012-Jul-22, 07:49 AM
Silly tangent, but imagine how insulting it would be to see undeniably alien activity around the moons of Jupiter or Saturn? A swarm of alien craft loading materials from a moon for weeks on end, completely ignoring Earth... I can't really think of anything more insulting, except perhaps adding an Earth flyby on their way out of the solar system. :)

What if they landed on Earth, but were less interested in humans than in some other organism?

"Thanks, but no thanks, please do NOT take us to your leader. We really don't have time for a meeting with the President, or the Queen, or the Pope... No, not even the head of your SETI institute! We're here to study Earth's coral polyps..."

ravens_cry
2012-Jul-22, 08:08 AM
Reminds me of Star Trek IV and the whale seeking probe.

IsaacKuo
2012-Jul-22, 09:42 AM
I had a similar idea. Aliens start mining the solar system, and don't pay us so much as a by your leave.
Yeah, infuriating would be one adjective I would use.

I would find it interesting, not infuriating. There are plenty of creatures here on Earth which go about their business without paying attention to us humans. I'm not infuriated by that. Why should I be infuriated about any other creatures which go about their business without paying attention to us humans?

eburacum45
2012-Jul-22, 07:47 PM
I wonder if we can bioengineer cryogenic fuel tanks and fission or fusion containment bladders...
Sorry to refer back to an older post, but I've been away on holiday. An organic fusion drive seems relatively reasonable, if it is designed to take advantage of the special qualities of certain organic materials. An organic Daedalus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Daedalus), Icarus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Icarus_(Interstellar_Probe_Design_Study)) or Medusa (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_pulse_propulsion#Medusa) ship could use the ablative and shock-absorbing qualities of wood to allow nuclear pulse propulsion to occur within a large organic chamber or parachute, and the biological nature of such a craft could permit a certain amount of self-repair.

Whether a biologically derived spacecraft would be better than one constructed from forged materials is another matter. It seems more likely that a sucessful interstellar craft will use a wide range of different technologies, most of which haven't been developed yet, and biotechnology might yet have a part to play, even it it is not a major one.

KaiYeves
2012-Jul-22, 08:47 PM
What if they landed on Earth, but were less interested in humans than in some other organism?

"Thanks, but no thanks, please do NOT take us to your leader. We really don't have time for a meeting with the President, or the Queen, or the Pope... No, not even the head of your SETI institute! We're here to study Earth's coral polyps..."
Like Pleakley's interest in Earth mosquitoes in Lilo and Stitch...

aquitaine
2012-Jul-22, 08:50 PM
I did want to reply to the OP, though I notice they've been banned.

Since the thread is still going though I think I'll take a shot at it while addressing a couple of logical problems that were brought up right off the bat.

So, the problem; What the heck would a species capable of interstellar travel need to "invade" Earth for? If they can get here they can get whatever they need without needing to get rid of us... so why bother?

The solution is that perhaps Earth real estate is a rare commodity. We do not know how common the conditions on Earth itself are. We could be sitting on a rare jewel. What if Earth is not unique, but just truly rare in its ability to foster such a rich variety and density of life. Perhaps the invaders come from another one of these rare jewel worlds... and perhaps they don't like to share.

EDIT: I didn't post my method... d'Oh!

So, probably a virus or cancer delivery system of some kind... Human specific. The invaders would be here for the planet and all its biological splendor and fine weather after all... dont want to mess that up with asteroids, nukes, or broad spectrum biocides...

Here's another idea, they want to live here on this planet to prevent another civilization, who are their competitors, from taking it instead? What if Earth also had some sort strategic value?

Noclevername
2012-Jul-22, 08:57 PM
Here's another idea, they want to live here on this planet to prevent another civilization, who are their competitors, from taking it instead? What if Earth also had some sort strategic value?

Why would they need to live on the surface to do that? It makes more tactical sense to stay in high orbit and shoot any approaching spacecraft. It makes even more sense to just send automated drones to do it for you.

ravens_cry
2012-Jul-22, 10:55 PM
I would find it interesting, not infuriating. There are plenty of creatures here on Earth which go about their business without paying attention to us humans. I'm not infuriated by that. Why should I be infuriated about any other creatures which go about their business without paying attention to us humans?
Well, besides the fact we're been ignored, which is irritating enough in itself, but they are taking our solar systems material wealth without so much as offering us beads and mirrors.

Solfe
2012-Jul-23, 01:36 AM
I would find it interesting, not infuriating. There are plenty of creatures here on Earth which go about their business without paying attention to us humans. I'm not infuriated by that. Why should I be infuriated about any other creatures which go about their business without paying attention to us humans?

Half of my infuriation is the fact that we have a craft around Saturn that is really ill-equipped to perform any sort of useful function in the scenario. All we would get is some fancy pictures and telemetry.

Not having a probe or craft ready to go back here on Earth would also be frustrating.

Ara Pacis
2012-Jul-23, 05:57 AM
Sorry to refer back to an older post, but I've been away on holiday. An organic fusion drive seems relatively reasonable, if it is designed to take advantage of the special qualities of certain organic materials. An organic Daedalus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Daedalus), Icarus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Icarus_(Interstellar_Probe_Design_Study)) or Medusa (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_pulse_propulsion#Medusa) ship could use the ablative and shock-absorbing qualities of wood to allow nuclear pulse propulsion to occur within a large organic chamber or parachute, and the biological nature of such a craft could permit a certain amount of self-repair.

Whether a biologically derived spacecraft would be better than one constructed from forged materials is another matter. It seems more likely that a sucessful interstellar craft will use a wide range of different technologies, most of which haven't been developed yet, and biotechnology might yet have a part to play, even it it is not a major one.

Wood is shock resistant?

Van Rijn
2012-Jul-23, 07:19 AM
Another screwball idea: What if the "invaders" are just like Donkey in the Shrek movies? Completely harmless, won't compete with us, very quick to get out of the way, never stop talking, etc. but they simply won't leave.

"But, uh, I don't have any friends. And I'm not goin' out there by myself. Hey, wait a minute! I got a great idea! I'll stick with you."

Sounds similar to Fredric Brown's Martians Go Home - the Martians are intangible, they can't be physically hurt nor do they cause any physical damage, but they can go everywhere, and they are extremely annoying, will tell other people things that are supposed to be secret, and so on. Unlike Donkey, they aren't friendly, but it wouldn't matter much.

moozoo
2012-Jul-23, 10:31 AM
"How might aliens take over our planet?"

If they want our biosphere intact.
1) Keep their base of operations outside of our easy strike range and ideally away from detection so we don't even know what is attacking us.
2) Detonate several EMP pulse bombs from high orbit and take out the electric grid and all unprotected electronics (this would not affect the military).
3) Modify orbits of 1-2km asteroids and have them hit the seas off the coasts of major population centers (determined by night time lights of the cities). i.e. supersonic 1km high tsunamis as per the movie Deep Impact
4) Observe any military response to 3 and take out their source.
5) Repeat steps 2 to 4 a few dozen times over a period of 10-20 years and with random time intervals between them.
6) Invade.

They need to take us out in a manner that does not allow/prompt us to self nuke ourselves to take out our biosphere.

If they don't care for the biosphere.
1) Modify the orbit of a 10km+ asteroid and have it hit the earth.
2) wait a few years.

I believe that they would not be natural lifeforms. They would be artificial and self evolved/engineered. I doubt they would care for our biosphere.
If I was to design the ultimate life form, it would be capable of surviving in a space environment.

@redshifter
"Plenty of resources throughout our solar system"

The total mass of the Asteroid belt is 4% of the moon.
The bulk of the solar systems resources are in planets.
If they where after iron and heavy metals for example they would go for mercury, Venus ,Earth and Mars.
I would not assume our gravity well will be a problem. They would have nuclear (fusion/antimatter) based propulsion. In fact they may see earth as an easy resource vs super earths and gas giants.
Note I assume that they are operating on a massive scale.

@R.A.F
"Why bother with our solar system? There is nothing here that can't be found in any other solar system.'

Because our solar system was the next on there list and their don't even notice/care that one of them is occupied by primative life forms (us).
If life is very rare in the universe then they might skip us.

I think our most strategic military asset, solar system sized, would be our asteroid belt (lots of places to hide). Do other solar systems have one similar to ours?

IsaacKuo
2012-Jul-23, 01:50 PM
Well, besides the fact we're been ignored, which is irritating enough in itself, but they are taking our solar systems material wealth without so much as offering us beads and mirrors.
I would count ourselves lucky that they're ignoring us, as opposed to a number of definitely less pleasant alternatives.

As for what we get out of it...

Half of my infuriation is the fact that we have a craft around Saturn that is really ill-equipped to perform any sort of useful function in the scenario. All we would get is some fancy pictures and telemetry.
...we would get fancy pictures, telemetry, as well as significant telescopic data from Earth based sensors. The spectral data from a drive plume alone could be invaluable to our technological development. Such data could distinguish between relativistic kinetic impact, relativistic particle beam, various types of fusion/fission/antimatter based reactions, yield estimates, pulse rates, etc...

And if Cassini is able to get us a close look, then so much, the better!

Any data we get would all be incredible compared to what we could expect from trying to observe these aliens across interstellar distances.

Not having a probe or craft ready to go back here on Earth would also be frustrating.
Well, orbital mechanics dictate the proper Jupiter/Saturn window only happens once every 20 years anyway. Without taking advantage of a Jupiter slingshot, we might instead use a solar electric drive, like Dawn. But the low acceleration would take years to get up to speed anyway.

IsaacKuo
2012-Jul-23, 02:14 PM
All right. I also think uploading may eventually become possible, though if so I doubt such beings will physically travel for entertainment-- it'll probably be easier to program randomised scenarios for that purpose.
Randomised scenarios might be fine for some, but for others they may be boring or otherwise unsatisfying. There may be a certain thrill to dealing with a real life scenario in the real physical universe, where you can't know the parameters of the simulation and you can't just hit a reset button.

Maybe most of the digital virtual society sees these "real universe fans" as odd thrill seeking weirdos. But there's a practical incentive to keeping these weirdos around. The guys who are inherently fascinated by real universe interaction and interact with the real universe on a day to day basis are the ones who will be needed if there's ever a real universe threat to deal with. They would be the firefighters and Seal Team 6's of their society.

So, maybe they like to kick over an anthill every once in a while and see what happens. Did that anthill do anything to bother them? No, but maybe they're just curious like that.

eburacum45
2012-Jul-23, 02:57 PM
Wood is shock resistant?
Trees can put up with a lot of punishment, it seems to me. I can imagine a large, ablative, wooden bowl acting as the thrust surface for an Orion-type pulse drive, connected to the payload by a tree-like structure of curved wood, which converts the sharp shocks of thrust into a more steady acceleration. The whole ship need not be made from wood, but some of the most useful parts might be.

Another possible use for wood or similar material could be as a heatshield for aerobraking- the Chinese have used wood as heatshield material on occasion, and cork is included in the Mars Rover ablation shield.

primummobile
2012-Jul-23, 02:57 PM
Randomised scenarios might be fine for some, but for others they may be boring or otherwise unsatisfying. There may be a certain thrill to dealing with a real life scenario in the real physical universe, where you can't know the parameters of the simulation and you can't just hit a reset button.

Maybe most of the digital virtual society sees these "real universe fans" as odd thrill seeking weirdos. But there's a practical incentive to keeping these weirdos around. The guys who are inherently fascinated by real universe interaction and interact with the real universe on a day to day basis are the ones who will be needed if there's ever a real universe threat to deal with. They would be the firefighters and Seal Team 6's of their society.

So, maybe they like to kick over an anthill every once in a while and see what happens. Did that anthill do anything to bother them? No, but maybe they're just curious like that.

I've thought about this before. We obviously don't know how far humanity has come on the scale of what is physically possible to do. But if there are civilizations that are sufficiently advanced in comparison to us, we may not even be able to communicate with them unless they were to facilitate it.

But it's the ant hill thing that I find interesting. I won't deny that as a kid I tore up my fair share of ant hills. But today, as something passing for an adult, I am more likely than anything to just ignore them. I stop and study them every once in a while, but once you've seen a thousand ant hills there really isn't a whole lot left to see. So I just walk past them and continue on my way. Granted, we may be a different kind of "ant" than what they had already encountered, but they may be tired of seeing ants.

ravens_cry
2012-Jul-23, 07:27 PM
If 'ants' were that common, you'd think we would have met some by now, or at least found some evidence they exist.

primummobile
2012-Jul-23, 07:51 PM
If 'ants' were that common, you'd think we would have met some by now, or at least found some evidence they exist.

I have no idea if the "ants" are common or not. But I do know that our corner of the universe is awfully small compared to the whole thing.

Colin Robinson
2012-Jul-23, 11:35 PM
If 'ants' were that common, you'd think we would have met some by now, or at least found some evidence they exist.

How common would the "ants" (civilizations like ours) have to be, for a more sophisticated civilization to get tired of looking at the "ants"?

What if the more sophisticated civilization began to do interstellar scientific missions around one million years ago?

Searching enthusiastically thru interstellar space at near-light speed, it took them a mere one thousand years to find their first bunch of exotic "ants".

Exciting moment!

About a thousand years later, another, fascinatingly different ant nest! ...

So now (one million years later) they are up to ant nest number 1,000. And, as primummobile wrote


once you've seen a thousand ant hills there really isn't a whole lot left to see.

ravens_cry
2012-Jul-24, 01:04 AM
Given all the way life can exist on Earth, all its wonderful niches and ways of being, its endless surprises and wonder, all founded on the same basic chemistry, I would say . . .never?
But maybe that's just me.

Paul Wally
2012-Jul-24, 01:21 AM
I must say I have my doubts about applying these kinds of analogies of "ants": "Aliens stand to humans as humans stand to ants". I tend to think that at higher levels of complexity fundamentally new paradigms of existence arise. I would then say that some highly advanced aliens wouldn't see us as we see ants. They would simply see us for what we are and perhaps understand us better than we understand ourselves.

As to how highly advanced aliens would stage an "invasion". They would probably operate on a much larger temporal scale with very long term interests spanning over thousands of years. In that case we might then not even be aware of how we are being slowly transformed over millennia, for their purposes. Whether this kind of control can still be called "invasion" is another question.

moozoo
2012-Jul-24, 01:52 AM
As to how highly advanced aliens would stage an "invasion". They would probably operate on a much larger temporal scale with very long term interests spanning over thousands of years. In that case we might then not even be aware of how we are being slowly transformed over millennia, for their purposes. Whether this kind of control can still be called "invasion" is another question.

Are you suggesting something like dropping a large asteroid on the planet to wipe out the naturally evolved dominate species (dinosaurs say) and then periodical genetically modify species to transform them to be like you....
Fortunately no evidence of that happening here exists.
I can agree with temporal scales of years, maybe even 100's of years. But much more than that I have trouble understanding why they would bother.

Imagine if an alien race terraformed and populated every planet around every solar system in the galaxy, then what. At some point along that path you would reach the point of being a totally immortal species. No known disaster (Supernova, GRB ) could wipe you out. After that your just expanding for the sake of expanding.
Along the way I also believe that you would obtain a very deep understanding of the universe and that would affect/shape your view of your place in the universe and the goals you set for yourself.

primummobile
2012-Jul-24, 11:45 AM
I must say I have my doubts about applying these kinds of analogies of "ants": "Aliens stand to humans as humans stand to ants". I tend to think that at higher levels of complexity fundamentally new paradigms of existence arise. I would then say that some highly advanced aliens wouldn't see us as we see ants. They would simply see us for what we are and perhaps understand us better than we understand ourselves.

As to how highly advanced aliens would stage an "invasion". They would probably operate on a much larger temporal scale with very long term interests spanning over thousands of years. In that case we might then not even be aware of how we are being slowly transformed over millennia, for their purposes. Whether this kind of control can still be called "invasion" is another question.

I have a few doubts about it too. That's why I threw that qualifier in there: that we don't know what we have achieved on the scale of what is possible to achieve. Surely, there must be some kind of limit to technology. I do happen to think that we are quite far from what we can achieve.

But what happens if you can combine two minds? Or a billion? What if you had a civilization composed of a million Matrioshka brains? I have no idea if any of that can be accomplished. But if it could, I think there would be more paradigm shifts between us and them than what there would be between us and ants. We have no idea what the morality of beings like that would be, and we really even can't begin to guess.

I agree wholeheartedly on how they would "invade us", if they wished to keep the earth and all species intact. I can't begin to guess at a motivation for that, but I also can't think like our hypothetical conquerors can think. But the best way to conquer someone is to do it without them knowing it is being done.

IsaacKuo
2012-Jul-24, 11:53 AM
But it's the ant hill thing that I find interesting. I won't deny that as a kid I tore up my fair share of ant hills. But today, as something passing for an adult, I am more likely than anything to just ignore them. I stop and study them every once in a while, but once you've seen a thousand ant hills there really isn't a whole lot left to see. So I just walk past them and continue on my way. Granted, we may be a different kind of "ant" than what they had already encountered, but they may be tired of seeing ants.
Well, even if we're currently a boring anthill, that might be reason enough to kick it over--so there might be a more interesting anthill in the future. Looking at the history of our little anthill, the current biosphere is populated with rather different creatures than in the past. The difference between Earth's life forms before and after the Cambrian age is rather significant, for example.

primummobile
2012-Jul-24, 12:31 PM
Well, even if we're currently a boring anthill, that might be reason enough to kick it over--so there might be a more interesting anthill in the future. Looking at the history of our little anthill, the current biosphere is populated with rather different creatures than in the past. The difference between Earth's life forms before and after the Cambrian age is rather significant, for example.

No issues with that. I'm just arguing a point of view.

If there are many varieties of conquerors out there, I believe that most may find our world interesting. But there must be some who would find us boring and unuseful. Some may even feel threatened by us, although I can't imagine why. Maybe they are like the Borg and feel that we don't know what's best for ourselves and so wish to force onto us their own way of life.

A lone ant is not very impressive. But ant colonies exhibit surprising levels of intelligence. They wage war, practice both agriculture and animal husbandry, and keep slaves. Older ants have been observed teaching younger ants. Maybe the conquerors would see us the same way... not very unique individually but capable of great things as a whole if we only tried. In that case, the morality of eliminating a few or many of us may not be as straightforward as we think.

swampyankee
2012-Jul-24, 03:05 PM
It's very unlikely aliens will have a compatible biochemistry, in the unlikely event they show up in the solar system, so it's insanely unlikely that invading aliens would really care about the Earth's biosphere. So, compounding unlikelihood, by having these invading aliens want the Earth, their most likely action is to sterilize the planet's surface. Life near black (and white) smokers, deep underground, and in places like Lake Vostok would probably not be targeted, but life in the photosynthetic layers of the ocean and in the first meter or so of the land surface would be.

Von Neuman machines, which need not be intelligent, would probably view Earth as nothing but an (expensive) source of materials, so they'd not bother with it until after they've used up the smaller bodies.

"Invasion" kind of implies that the ETs don't consider humans as equals, although they may consider us as intelligent.

Now, if they just come into the Solar System and start mining the outer system bodies and the asteroid belt, it may be an invasion, but, heck, humans have done just that to other people. It's kind of poetic justice for any of the countries that have been involved in any kind of imperialism ;)

Ara Pacis
2012-Jul-24, 06:33 PM
I have a few doubts about it too. That's why I threw that qualifier in there: that we don't know what we have achieved on the scale of what is possible to achieve. Surely, there must be some kind of limit to technology. I do happen to think that we are quite far from what we can achieve. Like what? I hope we develop FTL, but I really don't think it's possible and consequently I don't think we will.


But what happens if you can combine two minds? Or a billion? What if you had a civilization composed of a million Matrioshka brains? I have no idea if any of that can be accomplished. But if it could, I think there would be more paradigm shifts between us and them than what there would be between us and ants. We have no idea what the morality of beings like that would be, and we really even can't begin to guess. I don't think that's plausible with our biology either, but it might be possible with AI or synthetic intelligence.


I agree wholeheartedly on how they would "invade us", if they wished to keep the earth and all species intact. I can't begin to guess at a motivation for that, but I also can't think like our hypothetical conquerors can think. But the best way to conquer someone is to do it without them knowing it is being done.

Well, if they have synthetic intelligence and they have some sort of method of uploading and downloading (something I don't think is plausible), then perhaps they would want to download themselves into earth animals in order to experience life here. Perhaps they will only stay a while so as to allow the natural beings to go back to their own evolution. How would this work? Well, maybe they'd give themselves 6,000 years to study, after which time they reset the planet back to the condition they found it right as they move to the next phase of the Great Uploading.

primummobile
2012-Jul-24, 07:08 PM
Like what? I hope we develop FTL, but I really don't think it's possible and consequently I don't think we will.

I have no idea. I'm just saying that there must be some kind of limit to what technology can do. On the large scale, it may be limited by how much energy it is possible to amass. On the small, it may be limited by the size of subatomic particles. The point is that I think that we have quite a ways to go before we hit the wall. I agree about FTL travel. I think the closest we (or anyone else) will ever get to it is travelling a at a significant fraction of c, so that the trips may not take long for the travellers, but it will be necessary for them to give up any lives they had. For all but the shortest trips, no one who was around for the initial investment would live to see the results.


I don't think that's plausible with our biology either, but it might be possible with AI or synthetic intelligence.

Oh, I meant the 'invaders', not us. I was only giving scenarios in which we may be only like ants to an outside intelligence.



Well, if they have synthetic intelligence and they have some sort of method of uploading and downloading (something I don't think is plausible), then perhaps they would want to download themselves into earth animals in order to experience life here. Perhaps they will only stay a while so as to allow the natural beings to go back to their own evolution. How would this work? Well, maybe they'd give themselves 6,000 years to study, after which time they reset the planet back to the condition they found it right as they move to the next phase of the Great Uploading.

Or, maybe they just have a really great tourist industry, and it's all about fun and not research?

I don't find mind uploading very plausible, either. Even if it could be done, there would be no continuity of consciousness. The original would still die and the copy would live on as the original. I remember reading something once about replacing every individual brain cell one at a time with an aritificial replica while the subject was conscious, but that seems to be pretty wasteful to me.

I know Gene Roddenberry came up with the transporter idea on Star Trek because they didn't have the budget to show shuttle landings every episode, but it's always bothered me that every time you transport somewhere you die in the process. I think an episode of The Outer Limits or some series like that covered the dying while transporting thing.

Sorry for getting off topic. This stuff always gets me babbling.

TheBrett
2012-Jul-25, 02:13 AM
I always figured that you'd need some strange alien cultural factors to drive them to actually invade and conquer the Earth. I tried creating a race for a story once where "status" was linked to

1. How many other beings you have under your control, and
2. How large and complex tasks you could get them to do.

Conquering another civilization basically fulfilled both.

As for "uploading", I question whether it's really the same person if you're simply copying their brain and then simulating it in a machine.

Noclevername
2012-Jul-25, 05:29 AM
I always figured that you'd need some strange alien cultural factors to drive them to actually invade and conquer the Earth. I tried creating a race for a story once where "status" was linked to

1. How many other beings you have under your control, and
2. How large and complex tasks you could get them to do.

Conquering another civilization basically fulfilled both.


I've actually used a similar idea in a story, to explain how an advanced tech society would still have slaves, but in my case the society was human and I was trying to justify a variety of genetically engineered humanoids so I could have a Star Wars-style cantina scene. The slavers liked to "improve" aliens and animals by making them more human.

IsaacKuo
2012-Jul-25, 07:15 AM
No issues with that. I'm just arguing a point of view.
My main point is that we actually do have some real life examples of somewhat different biospheres--namely, Earth during different time periods. We don't have any observational data about any other potential biosphere yet (some place with liquid water conditions), but we do have data from Earth during earlier time periods.

If there are many varieties of conquerors out there, I believe that most may find our world interesting. But there must be some who would find us boring and unuseful. Some may even feel threatened by us, although I can't imagine why.
Looking at life forms here on Earth, I can easily imagine many possible reasons why. While I can't be specific due to our forum's ban on politics/religion, there are many humans who feel threatened by other humans being legally allowed to do things which are really none of their business. It does not matter that logically there's clearly no threat whatsoever.

So, for example, aliens might feel threatened by plants which choose a trioecious lifestyle, and feel compelled to do something about them.

primummobile
2012-Jul-25, 11:24 AM
I've actually used a similar idea in a story, to explain how an advanced tech society would still have slaves, but in my case the society was human and I was trying to justify a variety of genetically engineered humanoids so I could have a Star Wars-style cantina scene. The slavers liked to "improve" aliens and animals by making them more human.

Sounds almost Huxley-like.

primummobile
2012-Jul-25, 11:26 AM
My main point is that we actually do have some real life examples of somewhat different biospheres--namely, Earth during different time periods. We don't have any observational data about any other potential biosphere yet (some place with liquid water conditions), but we do have data from Earth during earlier time periods.

Looking at life forms here on Earth, I can easily imagine many possible reasons why. While I can't be specific due to our forum's ban on politics/religion, there are many humans who feel threatened by other humans being legally allowed to do things which are really none of their business. It does not matter that logically there's clearly no threat whatsoever.

Your first point is a good one and I agree wholeheartedly with the second.

swampyankee
2012-Jul-25, 12:09 PM
Sounds almost Huxley-like.

Or something from Jack Vance, like Planet of Adventure or The Dragon Masters.

eburacum45
2012-Jul-25, 01:11 PM
I've actually used a similar idea in a story, to explain how an advanced tech society would still have slaves, but in my case the society was human and I was trying to justify a variety of genetically engineered humanoids so I could have a Star Wars-style cantina scene. The slavers liked to "improve" aliens and animals by making them more human.
Of course this could work both ways, with suitably advanced aliens genetically modifying humans to be more alien-like. Once mature genetic modification is available a wide range of possibilities should emerge. Perhaps the eventual end result would be some kind of alien/human hybrid culture, even if the two races are not compatible genetically. Humans could be modified to be more alien-like, and aliens could be modified to be more human-like, while keeping separate and incomaptible genetic coding; it might eventually occur that the only way to distinguish someone of Earth ancestry from someone with alien ancestry would be via genetic testing.

primummobile
2012-Jul-25, 02:41 PM
Of course this could work both ways, with suitably advanced aliens genetically modifying humans to be more alien-like. Once mature genetic modification is available a wide range of possibilities should emerge. Perhaps the eventual end result would be some kind of alien/human hybrid culture, even if the two races are not compatible genetically. Humans could be modified to be more alien-like, and aliens could be modified to be more human-like, while keeping separate and incomaptible genetic coding; it might eventually occur that the only way to distinguish someone of Earth ancestry from someone with alien ancestry would be via genetic testing.

I thought that was already happening today. There are plenty of books about it. I don't see why someone would put something in a book if it wasn't true.

Ara Pacis
2012-Jul-25, 05:53 PM
I have no idea. I'm just saying that there must be some kind of limit to what technology can do. On the large scale, it may be limited by how much energy it is possible to amass. On the small, it may be limited by the size of subatomic particles. The point is that I think that we have quite a ways to go before we hit the wall. I agree about FTL travel. I think the closest we (or anyone else) will ever get to it is travelling a at a significant fraction of c, so that the trips may not take long for the travellers, but it will be necessary for them to give up any lives they had. For all but the shortest trips, no one who was around for the initial investment would live to see the results. I can see some fast travel at fractions of c, although I doubt we'd get above a few percent. I don't think it'd be impossible, just too expensive. I do think we'll discover some method of suspended animation and possibly a freezing & thawing technology as well as anti-aging tech to make us not care as much about the long duration voyages.


Or, maybe they just have a really great tourist industry, and it's all about fun and not research?Or that. Maybe a hunting preserve.


I don't find mind uploading very plausible, either. Even if it could be done, there would be no continuity of consciousness. The original would still die and the copy would live on as the original. I remember reading something once about replacing every individual brain cell one at a time with an aritificial replica while the subject was conscious, but that seems to be pretty wasteful to me. Right, I suspect that even replacing one brain cell at a time is detrimental to memory, making that thought experiment fail.


I know Gene Roddenberry came up with the transporter idea on Star Trek because they didn't have the budget to show shuttle landings every episode, but it's always bothered me that every time you transport somewhere you die in the process. I think an episode of The Outer Limits or some series like that covered the dying while transporting thing. I don't think we'll get teleportation either. As much as I'd like to, I don't think we'll ever escape c-space.

primummobile
2012-Jul-25, 06:50 PM
I can see some fast travel at fractions of c, although I doubt we'd get above a few percent. I don't think it'd be impossible, just too expensive. I do think we'll discover some method of suspended animation and possibly a freezing & thawing technology as well as anti-aging tech to make us not care as much about the long duration voyages.



I remember reading something about putting powerful lasers on the moon to slowly accelerate a light sail craft for a long period of time, with accelerations approaching .5G, but iirc the sail would need to have a diameter around 1000 km and the maximum velocity would be around .5 light speed. It would also require the laser power to be around 75,000 TW. And I'm really not sure how you would stop once you got to your destination. Assuming we could ever generate a constant beam of that power, I think it could be put to better use.

Lacking something better, you're probably right. It's going to take the alien invaders an awfully long time to get here, so it would be kind of silly for them to waste all that time just to conquer us or to hunt us down for sport.

Noclevername
2012-Jul-25, 07:33 PM
I know Gene Roddenberry came up with the transporter idea on Star Trek because they didn't have the budget to show shuttle landings every episode, but it's always bothered me that every time you transport somewhere you die in the process.

Just as a sidenote, the official Star Trek canon is that the transporter converts and transmits your body, then returns it to normal, so you don't die but just temporarily change form (despite the number of episodes where they treat it as data-- that's what happens when you have many frequently changing writers, most of whom don't read the manual).

primummobile
2012-Jul-25, 07:40 PM
Just as a sidenote, the official Star Trek canon is that the transporter converts and transmits your body, then returns it to normal, so you don't die but just temporarily change form (despite the number of episodes where they treat it as data-- that's what happens when you have many frequently changing writers, most of whom don't read the manual).

Is that why the Star Dates were always jumping around?

Noclevername
2012-Jul-25, 07:43 PM
Is that why the Star Dates were always jumping around?

Probably, yes. That, and they're often aired out of order.

swampyankee
2012-Jul-25, 07:52 PM
I remember reading something about putting powerful lasers on the moon to slowly accelerate a light sail craft for a long period of time, with accelerations approaching .5G, but iirc the sail would need to have a diameter around 1000 km and the maximum velocity would be around .5 light speed. It would also require the laser power to be around 75,000 TW. And I'm really not sure how you would stop once you got to your destination. Assuming we could ever generate a constant beam of that power, I think it could be put to better use.

Lacking something better, you're probably right. It's going to take the alien invaders an awfully long time to get here, so it would be kind of silly for them to waste all that time just to conquer us or to hunt us down for sport.


Better use for a 75 petawatt laser? I suspect that one that would quickly bubble up in people's minds would be "if you don't do what I ask...."

primummobile
2012-Jul-25, 08:23 PM
Better use for a 75 petawatt laser? I suspect that one that would quickly bubble up in people's minds would be "if you don't do what I ask...."

That's a pretty frightening thought, but I was thinking something more benign like power transfer for something other than a manned interstellar mission. But I'm sure somebody would be in pretty big trouble if the beam didn't stay on target.

Noclevername
2012-Jul-25, 08:36 PM
And I'm really not sure how you would stop once you got to your destination.

One possibility was proposed by Robert Forward-- detach the main sail, curve it into a parabolic reflector, focus the laser beams on a smaller sail on the payload and shine it back in the opposite direction.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstellar_travel#Beamed_propulsion

Another method is a magsail-- use it as a "parachute" against the charged particles of the stellar wind.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magsail

primummobile
2012-Jul-25, 09:08 PM
One possibility was proposed by Robert Forward-- detach the main sail, curve it into a parabolic reflector, focus the laser beams on a smaller sail on the payload and shine it back in the opposite direction.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstellar_travel#Beamed_propulsion

Another method is a magsail-- use it as a "parachute" against the charged particles of the stellar wind.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magsail

Interesting ideas. I'm not sure I would want to be the first to try that, though... :)

Noclevername
2012-Jul-25, 09:23 PM
Interesting ideas. I'm not sure I would want to be the first to try that, though... :)

Send a probe first. It doesn't even have to be to the same target star, thus you can explore two star systems instead of one.

(And from an invasion standpoint, your real target will remain unsuspecting.)

primummobile
2012-Jul-25, 09:29 PM
Send a probe first. It doesn't even have to be to the same target star, thus you can explore two star systems instead of one.

I'm pretty sure that if we ever do branch out to other stars that 99% of it will be probes.

(That 99% is a number I just made up, but it sounds about right)

Noclevername
2012-Jul-25, 10:35 PM
I'm pretty sure that if we ever do branch out to other stars that 99% of it will be probes.

(That 99% is a number I just made up, but it sounds about right)

Well, since it's a one-way trip, you'd need really dedicated volunteers to send on a manned mission.

primummobile
2012-Jul-25, 10:49 PM
Well, since it's a one-way trip, you'd need really dedicated volunteers to send on a manned mission.

Something tells me we wouldn't have any shortage of volunteers.

Noclevername
2012-Jul-25, 10:51 PM
Something tells me we wouldn't have any shortage of volunteers.

Hey, if I were in any way qualified or fit, I'd go!

primummobile
2012-Jul-26, 01:04 AM
Hey, if I were in any way qualified or fit, I'd go!

Yeah, I would too if I didn't have a wife and a dog.

swampyankee
2012-Jul-26, 01:29 AM
Something tells me we wouldn't have any shortage of volunteers.

Voluntary or not ;)

Noclevername
2012-Jul-26, 01:43 AM
Voluntary or not ;)

If you're talking about a military mission, I can see people being ordered there against their will; but for science or colonizing, there would be a line around the block waiting to go. If you're talking prison colony, well, local habitats are much cheaper.

potoole
2012-Jul-26, 03:54 AM
Well, Earth itself has a thick atmosphere and deep gravity well. I can't think of many natural resources that couldn't be gotten cheaper from asteroids and comets.
Now, if they appreciate cultural artefacts, art and technology, they might come to Earth, but you don't invade for such things.
A semi-plausible reason for an Earth invasion, as opposed to strip mining the solar system, might be some religious indignation.
Perhaps some habit of ours that our broadcasts have shown offend some deeply felt taboo.


Since RAP HAS been around for twenty years, perhaps broadcasts of RAP have expanded far enough into the void to offend some advanced extraterrestial entities within 20 light years of Earth. Perhaps they are on the way with intentions of ending an insult and a detriment to universal intelligence.

Noclevername
2012-Jul-26, 08:07 AM
Maybe just the fact that we aren't of their religion-- they could be "convert by the sword" crusaders/jihadists.

eburacum45
2012-Jul-26, 10:10 AM
The best kind of beamed propulsion method I've read of is the 'smart particle' method; instead of using light you use tiny pellets with some kind of steering mechanism that can home in on the spaceship to transfer their momentum. Jordin Kare came up with a scheme to accelerate ships using tiny foil light sails accelerated by lasers, which have little guidance systems on-board and can be programmed to converge on the ship even if it is outside the distance at which a laser can be focused. Of course such mass-pellets would make a good weapon, but so would any conceivable method of interstellar transport.

primummobile
2012-Jul-26, 11:18 AM
Since RAP HAS been around for twenty years, perhaps broadcasts of RAP have expanded far enough into the void to offend some advanced extraterrestial entities within 20 light years of Earth. Perhaps they are on the way with intentions of ending an insult and a detriment to universal intelligence.

Or maybe they just think reality TV is really annoying and stupid. They'll decide the only way to get rid of it is to wipe us out.

primummobile
2012-Jul-26, 11:19 AM
The best kind of beamed propulsion method I've read of is the 'smart particle' method; instead of using light you use tiny pellets with some kind of steering mechanism that can home in on the spaceship to transfer their momentum. Jordin Kare came up with a scheme to accelerate ships using tiny foil light sails accelerated by lasers, which have little guidance systems on-board and can be programmed to converge on the ship even if it is outside the distance at which a laser can be focused. Of course such mass-pellets would make a good weapon, but so would any conceivable method of interstellar transport.

Are you talking about this?

http://www.niac.usra.edu/files/studies/final_report/597Kare.pdf

eburacum45
2012-Jul-26, 04:09 PM
Are you talking about this?

http://www.niac.usra.edu/files/studies/final_report/597Kare.pdf

That's the one. Kare suggests that a magbrake might be useful for deceleration on arrival, but this method is most efficient when decelerating from high speeds to moderately high speeds; to slow down to orbital speeds would requite something else.

Noclevername
2012-Jul-26, 08:08 PM
That's the one. Kare suggests that a magbrake might be useful for deceleration on arrival, but this method is most efficient when decelerating from high speeds to moderately high speeds; to slow down to orbital speeds would requite something else.

Maybe send another swarm of projectiles ahead and swing them around the target star to intercept the incoming probe/ship? (It would require a long lead time and projectiles that were very easy to decellerate.)

For that matter, why not use the projectiles as a probe? They'd have to be fairly smart to find their target, add some small sensors and you've got a compund eye of sorts.

eburacum45
2012-Jul-27, 07:02 AM
Isaac Kuo (of this forum) another idea which might work better. If the projectiles from the home system can be made to collide in front of the ship they will explode isometrically and provide a significant braking force to the ship itself. This obviously presents some design problems but it might be easier to arrange than swinging projectiles around a star.

Ara Pacis
2012-Jul-27, 05:51 PM
Isaac Kuo (of this forum) another idea which might work better. If the projectiles from the home system can be made to collide in front of the ship they will explode isometrically and provide a significant braking force to the ship itself. This obviously presents some design problems but it might be easier to arrange than swinging projectiles around a star.

Or if the projectiles were sent ahead of the ship in a slower trajectory instead of a faster one, the speeded-up ship could catch them and then use a mass accelerator to push them in the other direction to reverse thrust.

eburacum45
2012-Jul-28, 10:44 AM
Or if the projectiles were sent ahead of the ship in a slower trajectory instead of a faster one, the speeded-up ship could catch them and then use a mass accelerator to push them in the other direction to reverse thrust.

Yes; I would call this a 'prepared track' strategy - you start sending out projectiles long before the main ship is launched, maybe hundreds or thousands of years before, so that they are in place for deceleration. This sort of strategy highlights the need for long periods of singleminded dedication that could enable interstellar colonisation in the very long term. Not many people or organisations in today's society would be content to devote much time to such long term aims, unfortunately.

Noclevername
2012-Jul-28, 02:28 PM
Not many people or organisations in today's society would be content to devote much time to such long term aims, unfortunately.

Not us (yet), but a post-senescence society would have plenty of time.

Noclevername
2012-Jul-28, 03:05 PM
OTOH, religions have dedicated generations to building a cathedral in Dark Age Europe, so we know humans can do longterm projects-- we just aren't in that mindset presently.

headrush
2012-Jul-29, 09:09 AM
Going back to the "aliens harvesting minerals from parts of the solar system and just ignoring us" idea.
I would imagine that the detection of such aliens so close to us would cause some pretty frantic military activity here on earth. I'd also imagine that funding would become available for many more deep space projects, perhaps leading to manned colonies in the asteroid belt and beyond.

My reasoning for the last point is thus. If we were to try to defend the inner solar system we could not rely on remotely operated drones, the time lag makes them impractical to operate effectively. So manned stations amongst the asteroids could more directly control the attack drones. There would still be no real need for manned x-wing fighters, more's the pity.

Noclevername
2012-Jul-29, 12:02 PM
Going back to the "aliens harvesting minerals from parts of the solar system and just ignoring us" idea.
I would imagine that the detection of such aliens so close to us would cause some pretty frantic military activity here on earth. I'd also imagine that funding would become available for many more deep space projects, perhaps leading to manned colonies in the asteroid belt and beyond.

My reasoning for the last point is thus. If we were to try to defend the inner solar system we could not rely on remotely operated drones, the time lag makes them impractical to operate effectively. So manned stations amongst the asteroids could more directly control the attack drones. There would still be no real need for manned x-wing fighters, more's the pity.

Nothing would get us off our butts and into space like an unknown, potentially dangerous threat right in our own neighborhood. We'd likely have defenses in depth, in case the aliens might decide to lob asteroids our way.

swampyankee
2012-Jul-29, 01:39 PM
Nothing would get us off our butts and into space like an unknown, potentially dangerous threat right in our own neighborhood. We'd likely have defenses in depth, in case the aliens might decide to lob asteroids our way.

Using our history as an analogy, at least some countries would quite cheerfully work with the aliens to improve their relative position. It happened during the conquest of the Americas, the British conquest of India, the British and American conquests of North America, and the African slave trade. This may be much more of a threat than the aliens themselves.

Noclevername
2012-Jul-29, 07:28 PM
Using our history as an analogy, at least some countries would quite cheerfully work with the aliens to improve their relative position. It happened during the conquest of the Americas, the British conquest of India, the British and American conquests of North America, and the African slave trade. This may be much more of a threat than the aliens themselves.

That's assuming the aliens work with or even communicate with us.

Colin Robinson
2012-Jul-29, 11:19 PM
Using our history as an analogy, at least some countries would quite cheerfully work with the aliens to improve their relative position. It happened during the conquest of the Americas, the British conquest of India, the British and American conquests of North America, and the African slave trade. This may be much more of a threat than the aliens themselves.

Another historical analogy (which Chris Boyce mentions in his book Extraterrestrial Encounter) is the contrast between Herodians and Zealots of Judea, at the time of the Roman Empire. The Herodians cheerfully worked with the Romans, the Zealots thought death preferable to Roman rule...

Fictional portrayals of alien invasions tend to have Zealot-like heroes -- brave warriors fighting for planetary freedom against overwhelming odds, like the warship Thunderchild in H.G.Wells War of the Worlds.

An exception is Arthur C. Clarke's novel Childhood's End. In that novel (for those who don't know) the aliens arrive openly, parking huge space craft in an orbit directly over each of Earth's greatest cities. They then contact Earth by radio, and announce in quite a diplomatic way that the planet is now under their overall protection, but they have no intention of displacing existing local authorities and institutions. Looking at the unknown, but clearly very advanced technology of the huge space craft, most of Earth's governments reach the conclusion that resistance is futile. One state makes an attempt to nuke an alien craft, only to find it doesn't work...

So then the whole planet basically goes Herodian.

What else would you do?

Solfe
2012-Jul-30, 04:45 AM
I am working on a story where the Earth is invaded as the only known source of vacuum tubes. This precludes blasting us from orbit, tubes are fragile.

Obvious this is comedy, but I was thinking of how to conduct and repel a proper space invasion.

If you are an alien that does not want to be exposed to our atmosphere, you do not want the hairless apes firing machine guns and throwing bottles of flammable liquids on your cool power armor. Something will give eventually. How tough could power armor be? Could you have troops that could take a hit from a tank or missile? Is there a practical upper limit to how much armor is actually useful?

High tech Earthly weapons may be subject to jamming or worse, infection or subversion by a superior Alien tech. Nuking stuff in orbit would not be a good idea for humans, we would lose our technology in the attack. If nukes are off the table, exactly how many of those missiles can be fitted with conventional explosives? How many "test flights" would be needed to hit something? If you have a few thousand launchers, how annoying would dozens or hundreds of test flights be for the orbiting attackers? Imagine that no human Alliance was made and the owners of such weapons where all working independently. That would be messy and disordered to say the least.

The Alien force would have to establish beachheads some place so they don't have fly home to orbit after an attack. How would humans dislodge an beachhead in Antarctica or some other difficult Earthly environment? More annoying, what if the beachhead was a park in a large city, like Central Park. Assume the Aliens aren't attacking the citizens, that would be a major headache for military planners. How long would the Aliens be able to conduct operations before having to be resupplied?

I am trying to think of the other silly scenarios breaking ideas.

Paul Wally
2012-Jul-30, 12:10 PM
I am working on a story where the Earth is invaded as the only known source of vacuum tubes. This precludes blasting us from orbit, tubes are fragile.

Obvious this is comedy, but I was thinking of how to conduct and repel a proper space invasion.

If you are an alien that does not want to be exposed to our atmosphere, you do not want the hairless apes firing machine guns and throwing bottles of flammable liquids on your cool power armor. Something will give eventually. How tough could power armor be? Could you have troops that could take a hit from a tank or missile? Is there a practical upper limit to how much armor is actually useful?

High tech Earthly weapons may be subject to jamming or worse, infection or subversion by a superior Alien tech. Nuking stuff in orbit would not be a good idea for humans, we would lose our technology in the attack. If nukes are off the table, exactly how many of those missiles can be fitted with conventional explosives? How many "test flights" would be needed to hit something? If you have a few thousand launchers, how annoying would dozens or hundreds of test flights be for the orbiting attackers? Imagine that no human Alliance was made and the owners of such weapons where all working independently. That would be messy and disordered to say the least.

The Alien force would have to establish beachheads some place so they don't have fly home to orbit after an attack. How would humans dislodge an beachhead in Antarctica or some other difficult Earthly environment? More annoying, what if the beachhead was a park in a large city, like Central Park. Assume the Aliens aren't attacking the citizens, that would be a major headache for military planners. How long would the Aliens be able to conduct operations before having to be resupplied?

I am trying to think of the other silly scenarios breaking ideas.

Why don't they just ask for it? We're using transistors these days :)

primummobile
2012-Jul-30, 02:15 PM
Why don't they just ask for it? We're using transistors these days :)

And if they need a bunch of vacuum tubes, then think of all the jobs they'll bring with them.

Solfe
2012-Jul-30, 02:33 PM
Why don't they just ask for it? We're using transistors these days :)

Its a lifestyle choice. Transistors don't have that warm glow. : )

swampyankee
2012-Jul-30, 03:56 PM
Gee, it would be so much easier to make vacuum tubes in space. No need for vacuum pumps!

IsaacKuo
2012-Jul-30, 06:16 PM
Gee, it would be so much easier to make vacuum tubes in space. No need for vacuum pumps!
Obviously that's the reason why Earth is the only known source for vacuum tubes. Every other technological species went spacefaring before inventing electronics, so none of them ever invented vacuum tubes.

Noclevername
2012-Jul-30, 06:19 PM
Gee, it would be so much easier to make vacuum tubes in space. No need for vacuum pumps!

They don't have glassmaking technology. To see outside the ship they have to open the door and glance out quickly. It makes landings difficult, as you can imagine.

IsaacKuo
2012-Jul-30, 06:21 PM
Or if the projectiles were sent ahead of the ship in a slower trajectory instead of a faster one, the speeded-up ship could catch them and then use a mass accelerator to push them in the other direction to reverse thrust.
This only works down to the speed of the slower projectiles, which must still be a large fraction of c if you want to get anywhere at a decent speed.

I have been working on a few other things lately, but I will return to working on relativistic kinetic impact powered rocket concepts for interstellar propulsion someday. It's suitable for propulsion for a return journey as well as for braking. That makes kinetic impact powered rockets a serious option for a manned return mission to another star system.

Solfe
2012-Jul-30, 09:57 PM
More insulting Alien Tech: "We managed to get here at .09108587345 c. We were kind of expecting you to be extinct by now. We can wait."

swampyankee
2012-Jul-30, 11:25 PM
More insulting Alien Tech: "We managed to get here at .09108587345 c. We were kind of expecting you to be extinct by now. We can wait."

or ...."We can help."

Noclevername
2012-Jul-30, 11:29 PM
I've read at least two unrelated SF stories about aliens who invaded because they'd seen our alien-invasion movies, and thought that was our preferred method of first contact.

swampyankee
2012-Jul-31, 02:13 AM
They don't have glassmaking technology. To see outside the ship they have to open the door and glance out quickly. It makes landings difficult, as you can imagine.

Maybe they should try a screen door, plus it'd keep the meteorites out =8-)

Noclevername
2012-Jul-31, 02:24 AM
Maybe they should try a screen door, plus it'd keep the meteorites out =8-)

They'd have to strip them all off their submarines!

swampyankee
2012-Jul-31, 01:42 PM
They'd have to strip them all off their submarines!

That's because they discovered the Daleth Effect, and their space ships are modified submarines.

KaiYeves
2012-Jul-31, 02:02 PM
Its a lifestyle choice. Transistors don't have that warm glow. : )

So the aliens are hipsters?

Solfe
2012-Jul-31, 06:14 PM
I've read at least two unrelated SF stories about aliens who invaded because they'd seen our alien-invasion movies, and thought that was our preferred method of first contact.

In the David Brin's Uplift series, humans have almost no technology but the two things they excel at are special effects and communications. They use both to good effect tricking the enemy into doing things.

Noclevername
2012-Aug-01, 07:17 PM
Another historical analogy (which Chris Boyce mentions in his book Extraterrestrial Encounter) is the contrast between Herodians and Zealots of Judea, at the time of the Roman Empire. The Herodians cheerfully worked with the Romans, the Zealots thought death preferable to Roman rule...

Fictional portrayals of alien invasions tend to have Zealot-like heroes -- brave warriors fighting for planetary freedom against overwhelming odds, like the warship Thunderchild in H.G.Wells War of the Worlds.

An exception is Arthur C. Clarke's novel Childhood's End. In that novel (for those who don't know) the aliens arrive openly, parking huge space craft in an orbit directly over each of Earth's greatest cities. They then contact Earth by radio, and announce in quite a diplomatic way that the planet is now under their overall protection, but they have no intention of displacing existing local authorities and institutions. Looking at the unknown, but clearly very advanced technology of the huge space craft, most of Earth's governments reach the conclusion that resistance is futile. One state makes an attempt to nuke an alien craft, only to find it doesn't work...

So then the whole planet basically goes Herodian.

What else would you do?

Given that any practical interstellar drive is also a weapon, that actually seems like the most reasonable way for aliens to take over; maybe blow a few new craters into the Moon or destroy Pluto* or something as a demonstration, then park over a few national capitals and say "get the message?"

*Poor pluto always gets it in the neck! Not only is it demoted, it's also the most-destroyed non-Earth world in all of science fiction!

publiusr
2012-Aug-04, 06:28 PM
Nothing would get us off our butts and into space like an unknown, potentially dangerous threat right in our own neighborhood.

That's why I play up DM 61 366/ Gilese 710

Dave12308
2014-Nov-26, 05:36 PM
I'm sorry, I just don't see it as being rational.

Well, if they figure out how to do it cheaply enough, it may be the advanced civilization version of a vacation. Just something different and out of the ordinary to do for recreation.

Sort of how we visit National Parks.

Dave12308
2014-Nov-26, 05:41 PM
I've read a SF story based on just that idea. The aliens are friendly and generous, but they're just annoying. Eventually humans take the gift of the FTL drive from them and move to increasingly distant stars to get away from their "neighbors".

Almost sounds like the South Park episode with the Jackovasaurs. They were so annoying that only Eric Cartman liked them.

Noclevername
2014-Nov-27, 06:38 AM
Almost sounds like the South Park episode with the Jackovasaurs. They were so annoying that only Eric Cartman liked them.

IIRC, it predates SP by a few decades.

kzb
2014-Nov-27, 12:48 PM
The only reasons I can think of for invading us would be religious or political. They are on a crusade to impose their religion or politics on the whole universe (a bit like Star Fleet as it happens).

On the other hand there are logical reasons for wanting to exterminate us -possible future competition.

Although unless they happen to be not-too-far ahead of us technologically (unlikely), we couldn't be perceived of as a threat.

Noclevername
2014-Nov-27, 01:42 PM
The only reasons I can think of for invading us would be religious or political. They are on a crusade to impose their religion or politics on the whole universe (a bit like Star Fleet as it happens).

On the other hand there are logical reasons for wanting to exterminate us -possible future competition.

Although unless they happen to be not-too-far ahead of us technologically (unlikely), we couldn't be perceived of as a threat.

If we were a threat, they'd send a Relativistic Kill Vehicle or drop an asteroid on us, instead of invading.

But they might see us as a potential future threat and launch a pre-emptive strike now, while we're undefended and concentrated on one big target planet.

Spacedude
2014-Nov-27, 02:59 PM
How might aliens take over our planet?

If our planet is close enough to what they see as "Earth-like" (as is their Earth) they'd probably take over very quietly without us even being aware. After observing us for a short time they would quickly understand that they could take advantage of our general belief that aliens only exist in the world of our imagination. The main weapon that they'd use against us would be our ignorance.

kzb
2014-Nov-27, 06:54 PM
If we were a threat, they'd send a Relativistic Kill Vehicle or drop an asteroid on us, instead of invading.

But they might see us as a potential future threat and launch a pre-emptive strike now, while we're undefended and concentrated on one big target planet.

Yes that's exactly what I'm saying really.

Even this does not stand up too well against logic, because chances are ET is so far in advance of us that we can't possibly be a threat to them.

Another valid reason for an actual invasion could be the protection of Earth's ecosystem from us.

Complex ecosystems might be very rare in the galaxy, and ET might want to protect Earth from a here-today-gone-tomorrow species like ourselves. Like in that film....

Noclevername
2014-Nov-28, 03:20 AM
Yes that's exactly what I'm saying really.

Even this does not stand up too well against logic, because chances are ET is so far in advance of us that we can't possibly be a threat to them.


Viruses are primitive, yet they are still a threat to humans.

Jens
2014-Nov-28, 07:06 AM
Viruses are primitive, yet they are still a threat to humans.

I think that's a bit different, though, because viruses are closely related to us. In the same way that bacteria can be both pathogenic and symbiotic, viruses may have symbiotic relationships with us that we don't fully understand (through retrotransposons, for example). But the point is that viruses are more than just things that share our environment, they are actually linked to us. This would not be true for aliens on another planet. We would presumably be able to survive without them, as we do now, and they without us.

kzb
2014-Nov-28, 12:54 PM
On reflection:
The motivations for most invasions and expansions have been ideological. They've not primarily been about resources (or at least that has not been the stated aim).

Currently we have nations occupied by armed forces of other nations, and the root causes are ideological. Although many would argue that is a thin disguise for what are actually oil wars. (I hope you can see I am making a point about the topic in question and not going polical here.)

Taking the usual view that, if humans do that, then at least some ETs will do similar things, maybe we should take it as read that there are some ET races that are motivated primarily by spreading their ideology to all possible worlds.

In other words, they don't have a non-interference principle, they have an explicit interference principle.

If that's the case they are probably on their way now.

Noclevername
2014-Nov-29, 08:01 AM
I think that's a bit different, though, because viruses are closely related to us. In the same way that bacteria can be both pathogenic and symbiotic, viruses may have symbiotic relationships with us that we don't fully understand (through retrotransposons, for example). But the point is that viruses are more than just things that share our environment, they are actually linked to us. This would not be true for aliens on another planet. We would presumably be able to survive without them, as we do now, and they without us.

It was a comparison, not an example. We can still be a threat if we can potentially do something threatening, which relies on achieving a threshold of industrial activity rather than a specific technological level. Once we achieve spacefaring as a species, that is, develop a space industrial infrastructure (in person or robotically) we can do things like bootstrap the gathering energy and resources. We might, say, build replicating Von Newman machines and send them to other stars, either as deliberate weaponized "berserkers" or as accidental "metal goo" eating the galaxy because we didn't give them sufficient safeguards. We might also do the same with biological beings rather than robots, sending a fleet of generation ships to colonize other stars and build more generation ships.

Solfe
2014-Nov-29, 03:41 PM
Why not go the other way and say that invasions happen due to an overabundance of resources? The Vikings weren't all about raiding, they were hitting people because they had the ability and manpower. You could say they had an overabundance of ships and people. They also wanted to crack into various markets and when you have a huge seagoing force, niceties go out the window.

They may have been after land on a small scale, but for whatever reason they didn't colonize and annex land in the traditional sense. They were perfectly happy to utilize land resources that were uncontested. Actual conquest didn't come until later. The timeline is pretty tight. This is less than 200 years so they progressed fast. "Later" is very relative term here.

Hypmotoad
2015-Feb-12, 11:57 PM
I have heard from what I have to assume is a respected geologist whose name escapes me, in answer as to why aliens might invade, that they might well be interested in our planets minerals which are formed from geological processes that probably don't occur elsewhere in our solar system.

I seriously doubt it would be a reason to invade us though. Maybe they would be interested in harvesting a bucket or three of some mineral or other, but invade? Pfft.

A real reason to invade would be to end the scourge to culture that is Justin Bieber, :)

malaidas
2015-Feb-13, 11:26 AM
OK I am going to give my pennies worth here and it might overlap a few posts, but I want to look at this in a systematic and reasonable fashion. I am going to do it formally

The answer breaks down into 3 sections

1) Motive
2) Means
3) Strategy

However firstly in order to keep things managable and plausible I am going to make a few necessary and quite large assumptions that will be axiomatic to my answer

Assumptions

1) That they are broadly constrained by the same laws of physics that constrain us, thus whilst they must in order to make the jouney be more advanced than we are, The basic restrictions of GR etc still hold upon them. Thus wild speculative fantasy such as zero point energy etc will be completely ignored in this answer, I am dealing only with physics which would not fundamentally violate our knowledge of the universe. Obviously as all of our physics could be overturned, this is a large assumption but as an answer to the question we must deal with things that can be true to the best of our knoweldge to be the case.

2) That in order to achieve the journey in the first place, certain things must be true about the alien civilsation. Firstly that in order to have achieved the flight they have a level of science and technology greater than our own, and have access to the kind of resources to make such a flight possible. For this to be the case, in accordance with our understanding of the kind of resources needed as per #1 it is highly unlikely that they have not achieved a level of world wide cooperation and in order to do this they either must have developed a broadly peaceful outlook, (at least between themselves), or it is a world wide empire already. The former implies a civilisation that is based upon the kind of liberal values that fight against in group/out group mentality. In the latter, history has taught us that large empires like this are simply unstable as the central power is unable to continue to maintain control over the distant provinces and thus I consider this an unlikely occurence, although I agree not impossible. Just that the former is much more likely to be the case. Given this equally in order to understand reality enough to make the flight they probably have as a species developed weapons of devestating effect in a manner simpliar to our own and that in order to achieve the level of sophistication to stop using them against each other, they have probably developed an aversion to their use.

3) That to be compatible with #1 we are talking only class 1 and class 2 civilisations as class 3 would require the kind of things that I am denying within this answer. In truth for a reasonable invasion scenario we must be talking class 2 really, although is feasiable for a class 1 civisation to make the journey, it seems less feasible that they would be able to orchestrate an invasion over the kind of distances involved.

So then only the answer itself

1) Motive

There are several motives which could bring them here in the first place

1) as a stop off point on a mission with a different objective: In this case all things being equal it is likely they would just ignore us, or just do a cursory pass. This could only lead to invasion if for whatever reason they were unable to continue and it seems more likely that they would seek assistance than conquest in the case. Therefore I am going to boradly ignore this possibility in the rest of the answer
2) As a research project specific to the earth: This project would probably not lead to invasion at least directly becuase such an invasion would seem to violate the way rational study is done. Thus I will broadly ignore this posibility in the rest of the answer
3) Colonisation: Of all the chances of invasion this seems the most likely and it breaks down into 2 distinct sub classes
a) Refugee
b) Empire Building
the other possibility is peaceful cohabitation, but this in iteself has problems as will be shown in the means section
4) Response to percieved threat: Unless we gain significant technology, it seems very unlikely that a species advanced enough to make the journey could consider us a threat outside of our own solar system. Thus for the purpose of the rest of this answer it will be completely ignored. We would have to become an interstellar capable civilisation for it to become reasonable in the first place.

This leaves us with basically colonisation as the motive we will choose to examine, with reference back to the first 2 where appropriate. This is the only reasonable possibility for them coming here which could lead to direct invasion.

2) Means

1) As per our assumptions they are likely to be a class 2 civilisation, although it is possible for a class 1 civilisation to do it. I am broadly going to consider only the former here. In which case we have to see that they will have the means to get here, however it is unlikely they will come with a 1000 battle ships, it is more likely to be 1 or maybe 2 mother ships, which will have taken a long time to get here. This means they must have brought everything they will need with them, they will have no means to do this with supply trains back to their home world etc simply becuase of the transit time. This fundamentally limits the extent to which they will be able to make war upon us

2) However they will have access to very deadly weapons, biological, incendary and chemical. We can however rule out those that would make the planet untenable to life, they have come here to colonise not to destroy the planet, and one has to think that this colonisation will be required to be immediate and thus anything that would make the world in any way unviable for their colony even short term would also be ruled out.

3) by assumption 1 we can say that by simple fuel to mass we can suggest that the number of colonists will be limited, this limits ground invasion capabilities as we will likely person to alien out number them vastly. Their technology will make the difference but there is no way under assumption 1 that they will be impervious to all our weapons. The differences here are going to be relative

4) Any ship that makes it here with enough resources to make a war will likely be unable to land, the moons orbit will likely restrict making a close orbit as such direct assualts from the mother ship will be restrictive and costly. It seems therefore more likely that the ship would work as a base at distance and then use smaller vessels to attack. Again by 3 we can limit the number of these. Overall this seems to lead to a limited ability to make war directly. Bearing in mind that we do have ample resources to counter them (providing assumption 1 holds)

5) chemical warfare would likely result in (at least in the short term) an unviable planet so we can rule this out. Biological weapons such as viruses are possible, a lot of this depends upon their own bilogical makeup and the ability of such to come back and bite them in the neck at a later date. Now given there is no reason to assume that their biochemical makeup would be compatible with our own such that earth virus could ever infect them etc, this stands as a viable weapon to use and match their objectives.

6) However now we have to come back to assumption 2, the idea of genocide is abhorent to those of our species which seek to have a cooperative society and in order to achive a class 2 civilisation in the first place this is vastly likely to be the main attitude of such a society. Thus whilst we can show a means of doing such over such a distance and achive their objectives it seems unlikely that proponents for such would be able to obtain the consent to use such and thus the means are removed under normal circumstances.

7) So what about none directly warlike means, well one option is the idea of cohabitation truely peaceful or otherwise, but unless their biochemistry is rather similar this seems problematic, it seems unlikely they would be able to eat the same food as us etc, ecologically having 2 types of biochemistry on the planet would likely be disasterous, we have seen ample examples here of econsystem disturbances within our own life tree. Of course isolation is possible etc so we cannot rule it out, but t would seem here that if they came to colonise there would be a genuine threat to us.

8) this leaves the final answer in my mind that the most likely option here that would allow this to happen is if such a ship were a refugee with no home etc and no choice but to do this, but this is liable to be desperation rather than planned long term and as such this limits the resources and thus strategies available

3) Strategy

Now I have set the scene for my final answer we can look in detail at the possible options available for them. A lot will depend upon whether or not they have already made a research project of the planet. However by assumption 1 this seems less likely on the face of it, given this is a refugee, although it cannot be ruled out. Most likely they will have the means on board to do the research in situ before colonising. That is in order to do the research they would be present in the solar system for a significant period of time before colonisation begins and have to make trips to earth to gather data etc. By assumption 1 this carries the risk of being observed seeing as they are limited to the extent they can hide

Now firstly note that by assumption 1 the kind of things UFOologists are talking about is completely ruled out, however the ability to hide from radar and detection can be more advanced than our own. Even so it still seems unlikely that such would not be spotted (not only by 'them') but by honest academics etc, if more than a few trips were made to gather data. Also given that they would have to actually wipe out life as we know it a simple tailored virus wouldn;t do the trick on its own. It would have to be a universal virus which seems again very unlikely, so all of this is becoming increasingly problematic. Doing so would increasingly seem to need access to science that would violate assumption 1

Teraforming. It would seem much more likely that a civisation could colonise other worlds through sealed stations etc than conquer our own. There is nothing in doing this which voliates assumption 1, and indeed would require no more than Level 1 technology to achieve, this would seem to be the most sensible strategy than actually trying to colonise Earth in the first place, with all the potential problems this brings in all fashions and would be more palatable to any such people in the first place.

So this is my answer, I cannot actually see within a reasonable set of assumptions that this could ever occur. It is simply completely impractical from everything we currently understand about the universe.

Noclevername
2015-Feb-13, 11:40 AM
So this is my answer, I cannot actually see within a reasonable set of assumptions that this could ever occur. It is simply completely impractical from everything we currently understand about the universe.

Most of our Earth wars are not performed for reasonable or practical motives, either.

What do you mean by "the moon's orbit will likely restrict making a close orbit"? Also are you assuming a fleet, or only one ship?

malaidas
2015-Feb-13, 11:57 AM
Most of our Earth wars are not performed for reasonable or practical motives, either.

I cover this in assumption 2, such a civilisation that could make such an attack is greatly more likely to be boradly peaceful than warlike



What do you mean by "the moon's orbit will likely restrict making a close orbit"? Also are you assuming a fleet, or only one ship?

It seems more likely to be a single or rather small number of motherships than a fleet, resource wise. This bit is actually quite unimportant to my overall point. But the problems are keeping it outside of our weapons range, becuase by assumption 1 it is vulnerable and thius seems to mean having it outside of the lunar orbit to me, which would cause problems for it in return in making direct assualts.

Noclevername
2015-Feb-13, 12:33 PM
I cover this in assumption 2, such a civilisation that could make such an attack is greatly more likely to be boradly peaceful than warlike

I don't agree. An empire could achieve interstellar travel as "easily" as a cooperative society. As long as their resources are extraplanetary, they don't even need to be unified, just have a large enough superpower to create starships.




It seems more likely to be a single or rather small number of motherships than a fleet, resource wise. This bit is actually quite unimportant to my overall point. But the problems are keeping it outside of our weapons range, becuase by assumption 1 it is vulnerable and thius seems to mean having it outside of the lunar orbit to me, which would cause problems for it in return in making direct assualts.

Wouldn't it just shoot down incoming fire? We already have point defense for surface warfare, it should also be useable in space.

Also, orbital space between here and the Moon is a tremendous volume, and targeting something that can dodge in all that space is very non-trivial.

Solfe
2015-Feb-13, 12:41 PM
There is the idea that no invasion is planned, but on first contact, everything goes "pear-shaped" and otherwise reasonable people are shooting at each other. Humans are really good at this one.

malaidas
2015-Feb-13, 01:15 PM
Noclevername: i'll deal with the first point first. A global or solar system wide empire is unlikely, logistically it's simply a factor of the larger the empire the harder it is to maintain it, owing to the increased internal chaos. now yes alien civilisation may be very different, but given a common life mechanism, that if evolution, which there is no reason to suggest would operate in a significantly different fashion, a species capable of achieving a class 2 civilisation is likely to have many things in common with us, socially etc. So I expect they will have all the same problems we do have in their history, but equally suffer the same basic problems with empire building. So let's assume that a single monolithic empire is unlikely to have formed in a war like fashion and see it perhaps as a superstaTe. What is is binding mechanism. Pure communism doesn't't seem to work from the way we have evolved, a binding thing like religion probably doesn't't work here either as any civilisation capable of interstellar spaceflight is unlikely to be under theocratic control Or any other ideology, these are not conductive to the kind of cooperative effort and thinking that lead to such advances, you can see this in our history in fact. So this leaves it more likely to be some kind of confederation with degrees of autonomy, but this in turn causes problems for a concept of interstellar war, the proponents would ha e to demonstrate that such was worth the massive resource cost and further more a confederacy does require that peaceful cooperation is the aim, it can only be turned to war agaiNat the viable threat of an outsider. It would be like convincing people in Australia that innuits were a viable threat a century ago. Bear in k nd also that you would be sending warships that would take lifetimes to get to their destination to fight a none existent threat, or to create a colony that no one living would see any benefit of At much greater expense than other solutions to whatever problems they have. in order for the ship to come Here in the first place war seems really unlikely.

swampyankee
2015-Feb-13, 01:33 PM
I think an alien invasion is incredibly unlikely. I also think that history has shown that a technologically superior invader will, a great deal of the time, destroy the peoples being invaded. It happened with the Spanish conquest of South and Central America, the extermination of the Tasmanians, and the large scale ethnic cleansings against the Native Americans in the US.

In North America, before any of the English settlers showed up, many of the peoples in North America had groups with as many as 90% of their population killed by European diseases. After King Philip's War, in New England, many of the Native Americans on the losing side were sold into slavery, and even the ones who had allied with the settlers were confined to specific areas.

The other thing is that any alien invader will find willing allies. This is a very old story: look at the history of the British Raj, the Spanish conquest of Central and South America, European colonialism in Africa, and the Indian Wars in the US. In every one of these cases, the invaders had local allies. I think this also happened in the Anglo-Saxon takeover of England, most of the Roman conquests, and the Ottoman conquest of the Balkans, including Serbia.

Swift
2015-Feb-13, 01:39 PM
A real reason to invade would be to end the scourge to culture that is Justin Bieber, :)
Nuke 'em from orbit. Its the only way to be sure. :D

Noclevername
2015-Feb-13, 01:52 PM
Noclevername: i'll deal with the first point first. A global or solar system wide empire is unlikely, logistically it's simply a factor of the larger the empire the harder it is to maintain it, owing to the increased internal chaos. now yes alien civilisation may be very different, but given a common life mechanism, that if evolution, which there is no reason to suggest would operate in a significantly different fashion, a species capable of achieving a class 2 civilisation is likely to have many things in common with us, socially etc. So I expect they will have all the same problems we do have in their history, but equally suffer the same basic problems with empire building. So let's assume that a single monolithic empire is unlikely to have formed in a war like fashion and see it perhaps as a superstaTe. What is is binding mechanism. Pure communism doesn't't seem to work from the way we have evolved, a binding thing like religion probably doesn't't work here either as any civilisation capable of interstellar spaceflight is unlikely to be under theocratic control Or any other ideology, these are not conductive to the kind of cooperative effort and thinking that lead to such advances, you can see this in our history in fact. So this leaves it more likely to be some kind of confederation with degrees of autonomy, but this in turn causes problems for a concept of interstellar war, the proponents would ha e to demonstrate that such was worth the massive resource cost and further more a confederacy does require that peaceful cooperation is the aim, it can only be turned to war agaiNat the viable threat of an outsider. It would be like convincing people in Australia that innuits were a viable threat a century ago. Bear in k nd also that you would be sending warships that would take lifetimes to get to their destination to fight a none existent threat, or to create a colony that no one living would see any benefit of At much greater expense than other solutions to whatever problems they have. in order for the ship to come Here in the first place war seems really unlikely.

I said nothing about a single, or monolithic, empire. In fact I pointed out that a unified society isn't needed. And why would anyone capable of interstellar war require "permission" from lesser states to send ships? Why would war even need to be a planned goal? Wars happen. Usually to people who do not begin with the assumption that they will be going to war.

Assuming that the ships in question are generation ships, as seems likely, the arriving crew may not even tell their government of origin that things are different, as light-lag means they would need local autonomy. They might be reacting to a perceived change in circumstance in the target star system.

malaidas
2015-Feb-13, 01:53 PM
Yes, nukes are my point. we don't actually need to penetrate the hull of the ship even. A suitably placed and timed detonation And the moon would do the trick. And this could be launched and hidden I. The junk yard which is our atmosphere For best effect of course they can clear this out but we still launch a barrage, using cover of earth against a single ship, so yes they want several, but this makes getting here with their minds intact more tricky. now if course they could come as 1 and then separate I guess. In any case this was an unimportant part, the important bit is winning and leaving it suitable for comlonisation.

Of course we could I guess have a situation like independent day, but in which case I see know need for them to need to actually come near the earth. They could find all the material they could want in asteroids and other planets etc. Why risk it.

malaidas
2015-Feb-13, 01:56 PM
It would require cooperation because of the sheer scope of the mission and resources required.Remember I am limiting this to those scenarios plausible by our current physics. if you lack a combined state the chances of getting this cooperation are demonstrably none existent. Fear of viable threats from each other will be much more dominant.

malaidas
2015-Feb-13, 02:00 PM
As regards the possibility of unplanned attack then yes, however it would seem more likely that they would simply pull back. We aren't't in a situation to do anything about them gathering resources from The other planets etc. Again its just irrational, although yes again there is a chance.

Noclevername
2015-Feb-13, 02:04 PM
Yes, nukes are my point. we don't actually need to penetrate the hull of the ship even. A suitably placed and timed detonation And the moon would do the trick. And this could be launched and hidden I. The junk yard which is our atmosphere For best effect of course they can clear this out but we still launch a barrage, using cover of earth against a single ship, so yes they want several, but this makes getting here with their minds intact more tricky. now if course they could come as 1 and then separate I guess. In any case this was an unimportant part, the important bit is winning and leaving it suitable for comlonisation.

Of course we could I guess have a situation like independent day, but in which case I see know need for them to need to actually come near the earth. They could find all the material they could want in asteroids and other planets etc. Why risk it.

Nukes in space are only effective at what are, by space travel distances, very close range. Outside of an atmosphere they don't even produce much EMP. The effective distance of our nuclear missiles is measured in a few hundred kilometers, not the hundreds of thousands needed to reach the Moon.

Yes, they could easily do the reasonable thing and not invade, but that's outside the scope of this thread which is about why they might invade. And our experience is that we often go to war for unreasonable causes. Beliefs, religion, nationalism, racism, and most often fear of the different. We risk death because we fear more than just death. They might too.

To go back to an earlier post of yours,


4) Response to percieved threat: Unless we gain significant technology, it seems very unlikely that a species advanced enough to make the journey could consider us a threat outside of our own solar system. Thus for the purpose of the rest of this answer it will be completely ignored. We would have to become an interstellar capable civilisation for it to become reasonable in the first place.


Well, no. It could be a pre-emptive strike to prevent us from reaching that threat level. In real life, politicians and military analysts of all major nations regularly judge potentially hostile forces based not on what they do now, but on what they might be able to do tomorrow.

Noclevername
2015-Feb-13, 02:17 PM
It would require cooperation because of the sheer scope of the mission and resources required.Remember I am limiting this to those scenarios plausible by our current physics. if you lack a combined state the chances of getting this cooperation are demonstrably none existent. Fear of viable threats from each other will be much more dominant.

A combined state is not necessary, just a huge one. There's no physics that requires a certain political style, just the massive industrial effort required. If they can build a starship they have already built a potential warship regardless of intent. Any craft powerful enough to reach across light-years is also a weapon of mass destruction. So even a ship built by an internally peaceful state can still make war on arrival.


What do you mean "demonstrably nonexistent"? We've never come close to trying to build a viable starship, so we have no experience to tell us how it's done. It will almost certainly need more resources than one planet can provide, but that does not translate to a unified political system.



As regards the possibility of unplanned attack then yes, however it would seem more likely that they would simply pull back.

If they can reach us, they can also attack us from great distances. Pulling "back" to a high orbit is not inconsistent with an attack. They could even use the Moon's resources as a source of orbital projectiles and fuel, and from here we can't do anything to stop them.

malaidas
2015-Feb-13, 02:31 PM
On the first point though, it's one thing to go to war because you perceive a viable threat to yourselves from these people or they are inconveniently in the way of a goal etc. It's another to launch a planned interstellar attack in generation ships. The ballpark is fundamentaply changes, like I said it's like Australia going to war against the innuits in the early 20th century. The sheer cost of doing so completely undermines any potential benefits

Now unplanned yes, this is more possible. Although again it is unlikely that such would be armed to do more than defend unless they had reason to suspect that they might need to make such a war. now if they knew we were here it is possible as you say that they might consider the threat for the future and decide to wipe us out or consider contingency. This again However seems unlikely for the same reasons as above, they are so far away, even if alpha centuri but they would be able to more effectively plan to defend, with their significantly more advanced technology than preemptively wipe out a planet filled with life which is also likely the only other one they will find. Imagine the public outcry on earth if this were suggested without any reasonable cause. So rather than sending a full fleet it is much more reasonable to expect a small exploratory trip rather than sending a fleet out just in case. The thing is that chances are even if detect water etc, they will have no idea that there is a civilisation, they may get an idea from the unreadable transmissions. But I just cannot see an invasion coming from this.

malaidas
2015-Feb-13, 02:33 PM
if a civilisation is fighting over resources, it is highly unlikely that any one faction will be able to get enough to do

ETA: look at the UN here, each nation is looking out for its own needs, this getting cooperation on even the most simple things that are of immediate import is highly tricky. can you imagine it happening for a venture such as this As things stand.

And even if you suppose that you only need the cooperation of 1or 2 of the more powerful states, then they would be fundamentally weakening themselves in doing this, leading to immediately more viable threat to their sovereignty From the lesser states.

malaidas
2015-Feb-13, 03:45 PM
The evidence would basically suggest that a civilisation's willingNess to engage in such a venture (planned) is kind of inversely proportional to their actual ability to make such a venture in the first place.

And if they are unwilling or at least wary of causing interstellar war in the first place, it is unlikely to happen unless we start it.

And this is assuming that extremely unlikely event of aliens visiting our solar system in the first place.

ETA: as a final anecdote, I'm going to use the USA here, but it could equally be britain, China or be any country, it's just the scene that jumped into my head. Can you imagine the reception, even if we had the capability to do it, if the Secretary of defense went into the white house before the president and all the other chiefs of state and asked for a trillion dollars (being optimistic) to make war on alpha centuries, because in 400 years they might attack us??? And we are a species with a track record of being warlike. The only way this could ever happen is if there was literally nothing else to spend the money on. The same goes if NASA were to go in for a peaceful exploratory voyage. You don't worry or even think about the puppy at the bottom of the road when you have a tiger in your living room .

this is Of course an assumption still and does hinge upon there being no cheaper and fast method of getting here, but there is no point in speculating about such. If a species with the technology and wwarlike nature of the Klingons come we're dogmeat. But I have my serious doubts that the two can come together.

Grant Hatch
2015-Feb-13, 05:21 PM
I would find it interesting, not infuriating. There are plenty of creatures here on Earth which go about their business without paying attention to us humans. I'm not infuriated by that. Why should I be infuriated about any other creatures which go about their business without paying attention to us humans?

Havn't read further yet but I just had to respond to this.... BECAUSE they would be using OUR future resources without so much as a "by your leave". I assume you don't think we will stay planet bound forever, in which case they are thieves who view US as inconsequential and undeserving of any kind of consideration! Yes, that would infuriate me.

Solfe
2015-Feb-13, 09:26 PM
Planning for interstellar war is kind of the bite in the butt, it's go big or go home. In films, all we get to see is the final step - arrival and explosions. The planning and purpose is usually silly or glossed over.

I really like the unexpected war because it cuts out the planning and usually precludes the idea of unloading nukes on limited numbers of invaders. The earthly nukes are usually taken off the table by limited numbers or handwaving immunity, while alien nukes are never considered because it makes for a short and depressing story.

In Independence Day, there was a brief moment where a few paranoid human could have lobbed dozens/hundreds/thousands of nukes at the enemy and dealt with the consequences. But that would have been a completely different film. I just can't see anything fending off such an attack, even if it was suicidal for us to do.

BSG did the nuclear bombardment from orbit (and beyond), but that was a means to kick start the actual story. One of the interesting things was Galatica's measured response, they ran away a lot. That one ship roasted dozens of equal ships and perhaps thousands of fighters, but it was pretty clear that this was wildly dangerous and not a ploy to be used every day. By the time show that ran it's course, I was tired of the various forms of destruction. All of the major characters were either self-destructing or on their way.

Noclevername
2015-Feb-13, 10:05 PM
The evidence would basically suggest that a civilisation's willingNess to engage in such a venture (planned) is kind of inversely proportional to their actual ability to make such a venture in the first place.

What evidence? How many cultures capable of interstellar travel have we examined for evidence?


And if they are unwilling or at least wary of causing interstellar war in the first place, it is unlikely to happen unless we start it.

Maybe they are just bad at preventing it. Or maybe they don't think that way. It might not be something they actively work against, but something they're indifferent about when it comes to a species other than their own.


ETA: as a final anecdote, I'm going to use the USA here, but it could equally be britain, China or be any country, it's just the scene that jumped into my head. Can you imagine the reception, even if we had the capability to do it, if the Secretary of defense went into the white house before the president and all the other chiefs of state and asked for a trillion dollars (being optimistic) to make war on alpha centuries, because in 400 years they might attack us??? And we are a species with a track record of being warlike. The only way this could ever happen is if there was literally nothing else to spend the money on. The same goes if NASA were to go in for a peaceful exploratory voyage. You don't worry or even think about the puppy at the bottom of the road when you have a tiger in your living room .

Since we are not anywhere near an economy that can build starships, this strike me as a bit of a strawman. We are not talking about any present day culture, but one many centuries beyond ours with vastly more than one planet's resources available.


this is Of course an assumption still and does hinge upon there being no cheaper and fast method of getting here, but there is no point in speculating about such. If a species with the technology and wwarlike nature of the Klingons come we're dogmeat. But I have my serious doubts that the two can come together.

You seem to be thinking in terms of game theory rather than realpolitik, people (no matter their biology) do not sit down and rationally count costs before fighting. It does not take "Klingons" to have a war. They might be only as warlike as we are, maybe even a little less.

Going by human experience, the invaders might not think of their actions as hostile at all; they could in fact think they are doing a good thing by "saving us" from our "baser instincts" by taking over from our current flawed leadership. It's a motive that you didn't put on your list; in fact many existing human motives are missing from that list, let alone alien concepts.


EDIT: I'm not saying that I think an alien invasion is likely or even a good idea. I'm saying, don't rule it out just because it's ridiculously hard. Violence is not a simple sliding scale with "peaceful" at one end and "warlike" at the other, behavior of any intelligent species is enormously complex. Even chimpanzees engage in wars, and the only thing they have to fight over is leaves.

swampyankee
2015-Feb-13, 11:31 PM
Let's say, instead of intending to invade, the aliens arrive in a dozen or so 100+ km long space ships (FTL doesn't exist). They have mastered fusion and maybe even anti-matter production.

Some joker decides their mere presence is a threat and shoots down the landing vehicle containing their embassy. They then get angry. I think it's fair to say that they could do incredible amounts of damage, starting with taking all the satellites out of service. World-wide civil and military communications lose a major chunk of their bandwidth, and most international maritime and aviation traffic stop: nobody teaches celestial navigation any more, and GPS is pretty much the only game in town. Now, this loss of communications means we've got a lot of very nervous people on nuclear triggers, all of which are now on their "communications is permanently disabled" contingency status. One hopes that the Moscow-Washington Hot Line doesn't rely on satellite links, because if it's not, the Doomsday Clock will probably be striking midnight before the aliens fire a second shot.

Solfe
2015-Feb-14, 01:28 AM
The hot line is more like a fax machine than phone as verbal messages can be misconstrued by tone and other things. It does use satellites but has a fibre optic back up. Recently the hot line started using an email system.

It isn't a unique system, other countries have them. There are actually three between Moscow and Washington - the "red-phone" for direct communication, one for cyber-threats and a third for nuclear threat reduction.

Noclevername
2015-Feb-14, 03:07 AM
Now, this loss of communications means we've got a lot of very nervous people on nuclear triggers, all of which are now on their "communications is permanently disabled" contingency status. One hopes that the Moscow-Washington Hot Line doesn't rely on satellite links, because if it's not, the Doomsday Clock will probably be striking midnight before the aliens fire a second shot.

Wouldn't Washington and Moscow know that there's a fleet of alien ships in orbit? It's not like the ETs could sneak up on the Earth, they would have been detectable a long way out unless they can violate thermodynamics.

Ara Pacis
2015-Feb-14, 08:20 AM
Assumptions
2) That in order to achieve the journey in the first place, certain things must be true about the alien civilsation. Firstly that in order to have achieved the flight they have a level of science and technology greater than our own, and have access to the kind of resources to make such a flight possible.

Not necessarily. The science may be about the same with the major differeince being the application, that is to say, the engineering and production of what they and we both know about materials.


For this to be the case, in accordance with our understanding of the kind of resources needed as per #1 it is highly unlikely that they have not achieved a level of world wide cooperation and in order to do this they either must have developed a broadly peaceful outlook, (at least between themselves), or it is a world wide empire already. The former implies a civilisation that is based upon the kind of liberal values that fight against in group/out group mentality. In the latter, history has taught us that large empires like this are simply unstable as the central power is unable to continue to maintain control over the distant provinces and thus I consider this an unlikely occurence, although I agree not impossible. Just that the former is much more likely to be the case. Given this equally in order to understand reality enough to make the flight they probably have as a species developed weapons of devestating effect in a manner simpliar to our own and that in order to achieve the level of sophistication to stop using them against each other, they have probably developed an aversion to their use.

A couple issues here:
1 - Politics can change. Look up every civil war and revolutionary war in history where what seemed like an adequate government failed and conflict resulted.
2 - Empires are more stable. Sure, Game of Thrones is great drama, but historically, empires and kingdoms lasted longer than liberal democracies. IIRC, the USA is the longest-lived current liberal country and it's only ~238 years old from its declaration, less if you count from the Articles of Confederation, and less if you count from the US Constitution, and much less if you restart the count after the civil war. Ancient empires lasted for multiple centuries, possibly millennia depending on how you count different dynasties.
3 - Aversion to WMD. The aversion to the use if WMD has had the effect mythologizing them and making them seem worse than they are. Seriously, look up the reports that have been declassified in recent years. You'll soon realize the weapons effects have been dramatically over-estimated in previous public propoganda. If some terrorist or warmonger popped a nuke in a city he would be dismayed by how much devastation there isn't, compared to the expectation. The sophisticated aversion methods aliens use are as likely to be based on lies and deceit instead of candor and honesty. Do you think that cultural baggage lends itself to peace or conflict?
4 - Distant control. If the British Empire could control vast areas of planet Earth using ships that took months to make a journey by sail, then I suspect an interplanetary (system-wide) empire could manage control if it took months to get between planets. More likely, better infrastructure and transit planning could reduce the travel time to weeks.




1) Motive

3) Colonisation: Of all the chances of invasion this seems the most likely and it breaks down into 2 distinct sub classes
a) Refugee
b) Empire Building
the other possibility is peaceful cohabitation, but this in iteself has problems as will be shown in the means section


2) Means


6) However now we have to come back to assumption 2, the idea of genocide is abhorent to those of our species which seek to have a cooperative society and in order to achive a class 2 civilisation in the first place this is vastly likely to be the main attitude of such a society. Thus whilst we can show a means of doing such over such a distance and achive their objectives it seems unlikely that proponents for such would be able to obtain the consent to use such and thus the means are removed under normal circumstances.

I agree with the first parts, as it's the same thing I wrote on page 1 of this thread. However, considering the similar situation they would find themselves in, colonization and refugee status is a distinction without a difference. It's likely that they have no choice. By the time they realize humanity is occupying earth, they probably will have used up their propellant and fuel for deceleration and won't be able to simply pass by and hope they someday pass near another planet that is habitable. There's no guarantee that they will have planned to live in space and use asteroids for raw materials instead of on a planetary surface, except for the assumption that they could find asteroids in any system and entering sol system was merely a coincidence.

As for genocide, if it's a matter of survival, what difference does it make? You may have thousands of friends and relatives on your ship who will die if you don't invade.


3) Strategy

Now I have set the scene for my final answer we can look in detail at the possible options available for them. A lot will depend upon whether or not they have already made a research project of the planet. However by assumption 1 this seems less likely on the face of it, given this is a refugee, although it cannot be ruled out. Most likely they will have the means on board to do the research in situ before colonising.

I don't think that's a safe assumption. The ability to see the Earth in detail from far away may not be able to reveal humans on the planet, especially if they looked and left before we started transmitting radio signals or before our radio signals got there. The weakness of our signals means they may not see them until it's too late. They may realize while still far away but after the point of no return that humans are sufficiently advanced to resist or to attack a perceived threat. They may realize that the deceleration would be noticed and that they would not have the time or stealth to conduct secret surveillance before the risk of conflict prevents it.


Also given that they would have to actually wipe out life as we know it a simple tailored virus wouldn;t do the trick on its own. It would have to be a universal virus which seems again very unlikely, so all of this is becoming increasingly problematic. Doing so would increasingly seem to need access to science that would violate assumption 1

More likely they would simply bombard Earth with rock and ice from Ceres or Vesta until the planet was plastered enough to destroy our cities, industries, agriculture and climate to cause our civilization to collapse. So, a few weeks of bombardment and a few months of waiting and then it's basically a mop-up operation. Then they can plop down their sealed habitats in our conveniently warm, pressurized and low-radiation planetary environment while waiting a few centuries to millenia for their factories to change the atmosphere and their nanotech to change the biosphere.

malaidas
2015-Feb-16, 08:52 AM
Ok people, i am not ignoring these responses, but really life has inpinged on my time right now, I'lk come back to you all asap.

swampyankee
2015-Feb-16, 07:27 PM
Wouldn't Washington and Moscow know that there's a fleet of alien ships in orbit? It's not like the ETs could sneak up on the Earth, they would have been detectable a long way out unless they can violate thermodynamics.

My scenario posited that the presence of the aliens was known, perhaps widely, and that at least one of the major powers (US, Russia, China, etc) decided their mere presence was a threat, resulting in the destruction of at least one of the alien's crewed space craft. The nation that did he shooting didn't feel the need to consult with anybody else. The aliens then did not turn the other cheek, and they had a "measured response" that involved destroying the World's satellite networks.

As to their detectability? They probably would be noticed at a fairly significant distance. Maybe that's when somebody shot at them.

Noclevername
2015-Feb-17, 04:50 AM
My scenario posited that the presence of the aliens was known, perhaps widely, and that at least one of the major powers (US, Russia, China, etc) decided their mere presence was a threat, resulting in the destruction of at least one of the alien's crewed space craft. The nation that did he shooting didn't feel the need to consult with anybody else. The aliens then did not turn the other cheek, and they had a "measured response" that involved destroying the World's satellite networks.

OK, I got the setup, but then you also said
Now, this loss of communications means we've got a lot of very nervous people on nuclear triggers, all of which are now on their "communications is permanently disabled" contingency status. One hopes that the Moscow-Washington Hot Line doesn't rely on satellite links, because if it's not, the Doomsday Clock will probably be striking midnight before the aliens fire a second shot.

That's the part I don't follow. Why would the human hotline matter to shooting at aliens? Why invoke the DC if the aliens only fire one shot?

swampyankee
2015-Feb-17, 03:01 PM
OK, I got the setup, but then you also said

That's the part I don't follow. Why would the human hotline matter to shooting at aliens? Why invoke the DC if the aliens only fire one shot?

The reason is that I think that most humans, especially human governments, will be in a state of very high stress regardless of how significant the threat posed by the aliens, as the mere presence of the aliens will be disruptive. As soon as the aliens show up, I would be incredibly surprised if all the major powers don't go to maximum alert, and would be equally surprised if some of them did not consider this a wonderful opportunity to attack somebody and blame the aliens.

Noclevername
2015-Feb-17, 03:07 PM
The reason is that I think that most humans, especially human governments, will be in a state of very high stress regardless of how significant the threat posed by the aliens, as the mere presence of the aliens will be disruptive. As soon as the aliens show up, I would be incredibly surprised if all the major powers don't go to maximum alert, and would be equally surprised if some of them did not consider this a wonderful opportunity to attack somebody and blame the aliens.

We can track the origin of any missile, even without satellites. Ground-based radar has been set up for this purpose since the Cold War, and AFAIK it hasn't been shut down.

Jens
2015-Feb-17, 06:45 PM
There's one issue I'd like to mention, the idea that we can draw conclusions from human wars. Animals typically fight against their own species in different ways than the go against enemies. For example, bulls will attempt to sever the arteries of predators, but when bulls are fighting against other bulls, they try to demonstrate their superiority without necessarily killing the opponent. Human wars tend to be that way: we require justification to do harm, and so use things like religion and beliefs. We don't require a religious reason to kill a mosquito or a bear, usually. So I'm not sure if we can infer too much from interhuman interactions.

Noclevername
2015-Feb-17, 08:31 PM
There's one issue I'd like to mention, the idea that we can draw conclusions from human wars. Animals typically fight against their own species in different ways than the go against enemies. For example, bulls will attempt to sever the arteries of predators, but when bulls are fighting against other bulls, they try to demonstrate their superiority without necessarily killing the opponent. Human wars tend to be that way: we require justification to do harm, and so use things like religion and beliefs. We don't require a religious reason to kill a mosquito or a bear, usually. So I'm not sure if we can infer too much from interhuman interactions.

True, but I'd also like to point out that the OP is about invasion, not extermination. So the motives of the aliens will probably be something other than just killing us. They could do that without ever seeing Earth.

swampyankee
2015-Feb-18, 03:22 AM
There's one issue I'd like to mention, the idea that we can draw conclusions from human wars. Animals typically fight against their own species in different ways than the go against enemies. For example, bulls will attempt to sever the arteries of predators, but when bulls are fighting against other bulls, they try to demonstrate their superiority without necessarily killing the opponent. Human wars tend to be that way: we require justification to do harm, and so use things like religion and beliefs. We don't require a religious reason to kill a mosquito or a bear, usually. So I'm not sure if we can infer too much from interhuman interactions.

Of course, there have been human wars were a goal was extermination: it was a major war aim of the nazis in WW2, and local extermination -- ethnic cleansing -- was a major aim of the Serbian-Bosnian conflict and was an important aim of the Indian Wars in the US. I don't think this has been unique to European cultures; it's just that I'm more familiar with that area of history.

Jens
2015-Feb-18, 08:29 AM
Of course, there have been human wars were a goal was extermination: it was a major war aim of the nazis in WW2, and local extermination -- ethnic cleansing -- was a major aim of the Serbian-Bosnian conflict and was an important aim of the Indian Wars in the US. I don't think this has been unique to European cultures; it's just that I'm more familiar with that area of history.

I didn't mean to deny that. It's also true that lions will kill the offspring of other male lions. What I meant is that people are happy generally to kill members of other species (and we generally do not institute murder charges for that) but to get people to kill others in a war you have to give them pretty good reasons to do so.

Noclevername
2015-Feb-18, 08:36 AM
I didn't mean to deny that. It's also true that lions will kill the offspring of other male lions. What I meant is that people are happy generally to kill members of other species (and we generally do not institute murder charges for that) but to get people to kill others in a war you have to give them pretty good reasons to do so.

Right, and the ETs may not see us as "people", or their actions as "war".

Barabino
2015-Feb-18, 11:28 AM
I doubt that their actions will follow reason we can understand, but...

I must notice that in human history the worst colonial brutality was executed by private colonial expeditions (spanish conquistadores, small farmers...)

Organized states such as late XIX century's ones tended to EXPLOIT but NOT to KILL CHEAP LOCAL WORKFORCE (they were unskilled people but already adapted to tropical climate... a replacement of lazy bossy european colonists would have been working even less hard than them ;-)

Noclevername
2015-Feb-18, 02:25 PM
I doubt that their actions will follow reason we can understand, but...

I must notice that in human history the worst colonial brutality was executed by private colonial expeditions (spanish conquistadores, small farmers...)

Organized states such as late XIX century's ones tended to EXPLOIT but NOT to KILL CHEAP LOCAL WORKFORCE (they were unskilled people but already adapted to tropical climate... a replacement of lazy bossy european colonists would have been working even less hard than them ;-)

If you look at the whole history of humanity, plenty of slave-taking wars have also been wars of destruction; with the victors killing all but the useful population, making all the rest slaves, and ruining the other side as an organized nation or state (the Israelites against the Canaanites, the third Punic war, etc.)

Ara Pacis
2015-Feb-18, 06:25 PM
I agree, humans have a history of exterminating other humans. Invasion often means extermination. However, with humans one difference is conversion, since we have minds through which evolution works in our species more rapidly than biology these days.

Noclevername
2015-Feb-18, 09:51 PM
There are ant species that invade others' nests. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slave-making_ant

swampyankee
2015-Feb-19, 12:11 AM
Given the range of behaviors in the insect world, we'd probably be hard to find an alien species that does something that insects haven't done. I know that no insects are sentient, but their range of behaviors and sizes is astounding.

Barabino
2015-Feb-19, 08:54 AM
The thought of aliens populating the homes of childless middle age couples with cute changelings :D makes a good horror movie actually

(something in the same vein as Signs by M. Night Shyamalan... or rather The Village of the Damned)

Alien mother-ships :evil:

Noclevername
2015-Feb-20, 02:10 AM
We all seem to be assuming a sapient society is behind the invasion, but suppose it's a biological phenomenon instead of a social/political one? Some tougher-than-a-tardigrade spacegoing lifeform drops in to use our world as a breeding or feeding ground, and we're left fighting the interstellar equivalent of a star-sailing fungus.

Barabino
2015-Feb-21, 03:35 PM
David Gerrold's Chtorr novels may be a good example... not only giant carnivorous worms invade Earth from nowhere, but their entire ecology comes with them... from vegetables up to top predators

Hypmotoad
2015-Feb-21, 08:29 PM
I loved those books and I am seriously considering firing off a rather rudely worded letter to the author for not finishing the series.

I've been considering this for many years now.

Noclevername
2015-Feb-22, 01:03 AM
I prefer Larry Niven's hard-SF approach; In his Known Space setting, the stage trees are huge organic rockets, capable of propelling seeds between stars over millions of years; the Starseed is a living solar sail that journeys from the inner to outer Milky Way over billions of years. Starseeds play an indirect but significant role, because the Outsiders, powerful alien traders, follow them around. The Outsiders sold humanity their first hyperdrive...

(Other fictional invading biospheres are the Flood from Halo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flood_(Halo)), and from Warhammer 40K, Da Orkz (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ork_(Warhammer_40,000))! (A humorous example, yes, but the Orks do carry a wide range of useful bioforms in their weaponized genes.)

A lot of fictional invaders can take useful local lifeforms and symbiotize them or "assimilate" genes from them, but biologically, if they are alien, not going to happen. Unless of course we share some common origin, like leftover microbes from something nesting on Earth a few billion years ago...)

I realize all this "space life" talk sounds like lunacy, but it's not really as impossible as it seems at first glance. We do have life right here that can survive for a time in space, and yet is not adapted specifically to space. I suppose that life that actually evolved for space conditions would be capable of much longer periods of suspension.

As for how it got there, I can think of a couple of potential ways; if somewhere in the Universe a Rocheworld (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocheworld) (two planets in orbits close enough to share an atmosphere) exists with life, then any flying life would just head for the common Barycenter and then turn left, then evolve from there. A moon of a gas giant could also have a livable biosphere*, and low enough gravity to let the exaggerated equivalent of Bombardier Beetles develop rocket flight, then continue to change.

*Like Titan, it could keep a dense atmosphere by developing an orbital gas torus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gas_torus) that returns most escaping leakage to the moon despite its low G.

It may even be that some life might develop in space itself, or on comets or asteroids; There have been detections of liquid water evidence on such bodies. A small ice moon could simply leak right into space, like Enceladus, and if there's life there some things might be able to adapt. If it proves plausible for life to survive and reproduce in space, a whole spacegoing ecology might come to be.

Again, all extremely low-probability, but not physically impossible, potentials. It's a big, big universe, and life is constantly surprising us by showing up where we didn't expect it.

Barabino
2015-Feb-22, 10:40 AM
Ok, today I start reading World of Ptavvs :)

Note of three weeks later: three weeks later I'm stuck at page 100 :-/
The antagonist is so all-powerful that he can't be beaten :no:

IsaacKuo
2015-Feb-22, 05:51 PM
I wrote: I would find it interesting, not infuriating. There are plenty of creatures here on Earth which go about their business without paying attention to us humans. I'm not infuriated by that. Why should I be infuriated about any other creatures which go about their business without paying attention to us humans?

response:

Havn't read further yet but I just had to respond to this.... BECAUSE they would be using OUR future resources without so much as a "by your leave". I assume you don't think we will stay planet bound forever, in which case they are thieves who view US as inconsequential and undeserving of any kind of consideration! Yes, that would infuriate me.

That is an interestingly entitled attitude to take, and it assumes that these creatures are consuming resources which would otherwise be available to us in the future. Which is a weird assumption. More likely their activities will be leaving behind some sort of trash which for them is worthless junk but for us is a tremendous opportunity. Even just observing them through telescopes at a distance would give us invaluable information on advanced technology.

But even if we assume that the creatures offer nothing of value to us, then what makes YOU so entitled to the resources they are currently utilizing, which you might have otherwise used someday in the future? What makes THEM thieves?

Noclevername
2015-Feb-22, 05:57 PM
I wrote: I would find it interesting, not infuriating. There are plenty of creatures here on Earth which go about their business without paying attention to us humans. I'm not infuriated by that. Why should I be infuriated about any other creatures which go about their business without paying attention to us humans?

response:


That is an interestingly entitled attitude to take, and it assumes that these creatures are consuming resources which would otherwise be available to us in the future. Which is a weird assumption. More likely their activities will be leaving behind some sort of trash which for them is worthless junk but for us is a tremendous opportunity. Even just observing them through telescopes at a distance would give us invaluable information on advanced technology.

But even if we assume that the creatures offer nothing of value to us, then what makes YOU so entitled to the resources they are currently utilizing, which you might have otherwise used someday in the future? What makes THEM thieves?

It's not a rational attitude, but I'll bet money that it's the most common one. Humans in my experience seem to think that way, even though it makes no logical sense and is often a detrimental assumption. We do it about things, opportunities, jobs, relationships, even other people. When I look forward to having something, and visualize or fantasize about having it, it starts to feel like it IS mine already. And when someone else gets it when I thought for sure that it would be mine without any competition, I get jealous, frustrated, or even actively angry at them.

Cookie
2015-Feb-22, 07:00 PM
I wrote: I would find it interesting, not infuriating. There are plenty of creatures here on Earth which go about their business without paying attention to us humans. I'm not infuriated by that. Why should I be infuriated about any other creatures which go about their business without paying attention to us humans?

response:


That is an interestingly entitled attitude to take, and it assumes that these creatures are consuming resources which would otherwise be available to us in the future. Which is a weird assumption. More likely their activities will be leaving behind some sort of trash which for them is worthless junk but for us is a tremendous opportunity. Even just observing them through telescopes at a distance would give us invaluable information on advanced technology.

But even if we assume that the creatures offer nothing of value to us, then what makes YOU so entitled to the resources they are currently utilizing, which you might have otherwise used someday in the future? What makes THEM thieves?

Well, if I assume they're mining a rare, but naturally occurring substance, that is required for FTL travel, that would be within reach of our own future slower than light tech, then I'd be really upset too. :(

In other words, if they were to take all of something vital, that would not be nice.

Noclevername
2015-Feb-22, 07:51 PM
Let's say, instead of intending to invade, the aliens arrive in a dozen or so 100+ km long space ships (FTL doesn't exist). They have mastered fusion and maybe even anti-matter production.

Some joker decides their mere presence is a threat and shoots down the landing vehicle containing their embassy. They then get angry. I think it's fair to say that they could do incredible amounts of damage, starting with taking all the satellites out of service. World-wide civil and military communications lose a major chunk of their bandwidth, and most international maritime and aviation traffic stop: nobody teaches celestial navigation any more, and GPS is pretty much the only game in town. Now, this loss of communications means we've got a lot of very nervous people on nuclear triggers, all of which are now on their "communications is permanently disabled" contingency status. One hopes that the Moscow-Washington Hot Line doesn't rely on satellite links, because if it's not, the Doomsday Clock will probably be striking midnight before the aliens fire a second shot.

I don't know much about military communication, but it would surprise me if there turns out not to be some kind of nuclear contingency plan for losing satellites; landlines, fiber optics, etc. Most communication would be paralyzed, but someone would still have the capacity to get messages to the launch silos.

swampyankee
2015-Feb-22, 10:03 PM
I don't know much about military communication, but it would surprise me if there turns out not to be some kind of nuclear contingency plan for losing satellites; landlines, fiber optics, etc. Most communication would be paralyzed, but someone would still have the capacity to get messages to the launch silos.

Launch silos, yes, but if there are any bombers on airborne alert, they're on their ways to the targets. I don't know about ballistic missile submarines; I think the USN's boomers are under a fairly tight leash; I don't think they have any conditions under which they'll launch without specific orders, but I'm less sure about those of the Russian Navy, or the ones that the PLA-N will have.

Noclevername
2015-Feb-22, 11:17 PM
Launch silos, yes, but if there are any bombers on airborne alert, they're on their ways to the targets. I don't know about ballistic missile submarines; I think the USN's boomers are under a fairly tight leash; I don't think they have any conditions under which they'll launch without specific orders, but I'm less sure about those of the Russian Navy, or the ones that the PLA-N will have.

But why would they send them after Earth military targets prior to the cutoff to begin with? Wouldn't they be concentrating on ASAT launchers and other space-capable systems to hit the big bads? This whole scenario seems like shooting yourself in the foot to me.

swampyankee
2015-Feb-23, 03:09 AM
But why would they send them after Earth military targets prior to the cutoff to begin with? Wouldn't they be concentrating on ASAT launchers and other space-capable systems to hit the big bads? This whole scenario seems like shooting yourself in the foot to me.

Well, it is shooting oneself in one's foot. I just don't think it's terribly implausible: people do stupid things, a lot.

Noclevername
2015-Feb-23, 04:16 AM
Well, it is shooting oneself in one's foot. I just don't think it's terribly implausible: people do stupid things, a lot.

I tend to think that it is implausible. If aliens suddenly showed up in Earth orbit like a Hollywood film, people would panic as you say. But any real starship is going to be detectable long before it gets here; no one's going to be surprised. The nuclear powers will have plenty of time to talk to each other and hammer out a plan in case things go sideways, or at least to be aware of each other's plans; yes, rogue states will no doubt be uncooperative or might react as you say, but everyone, including sub captains and bomber pilots, will already know aliens are coming and that their actions might be hostile.

If, in the middle of our First Contact with a superior civilization, the diplomatic lander suddenly gets shot down by North Gonorrhea, and five minutes later all satellites go dead, well it seems that anyone on the ball and frosty enough to be put in charge of nukes by a skilled military during an emergency will put two and two together. What they probably won't say is "Oh, it must be the Artist Formerly Known As The Evil Empire's fault! Let's nuke them instead of those giant weapons in space that were sitting in the middle of our satellites, and whose shuttle just got blasted." No major power will pick someone that edgy and hair-triggered to have their finger on The Button. They put folks with the proverbial nerves of steel in those job slots, for their own safety and security.

Hypmotoad
2015-Mar-03, 05:28 AM
I don't know much about military communication, but it would surprise me if there turns out not to be some kind of nuclear contingency plan for losing satellites; landlines, fiber optics, etc. Most communication would be paralyzed, but someone would still have the capacity to get messages to the launch silos.

Just so happens, there IS a nuclear contingency plan for anything that blinds us as a nation. I forget the codeword (kidding) but it surely involves nuke them til they glow.

Noclevername
2015-Mar-03, 05:29 AM
Just so happens, there IS a nuclear contingency plan for anything that blinds us as a nation. I forget the codeword (kidding) but it surely involves nuke them til they glow.

Them who? Fire blindly in all directions?

Hypmotoad
2015-Mar-03, 05:38 AM
I also call to question the traits selected for the final finger on the button. Nerves of steel? doubt it, if anything you want Don Knotts' "Shakiest Gun in the West" finger on the final panic, kill ALL button. Nerves of steel might lead an individual to think, "Well, maybe we can negotiate once they figger out where our capital is." Don Knotts wouldn't hesitate.

So I think the trait we need to select for are compliance and cowardice ...in order to survive to fight later, ya know :p