Let's try a thought experiment. Imagine you're the leader of an intelligent alien species. Like all civilizations, you have your share of pros (for example, your society is at peace and everyone's immortal) and cons (every single member of your race is Count Dracula). Now imagine that you, World President Dracula, have sent a team of brave (and entirely identical) Dracunauts from Planet Transylvania on a mission to our Solar System in a Space Coffin with no windows. (Okay, this hypothetical's flown off the rails; please picture yourself as a regular boring-ass alien now.) You, Regular Boring-Ass Alien King, have sent a UFO to Earth for a mission of scientific inquiry and friendship. What will Earth look like to you, a benevolent extraterrestrial emperor?
The answer is "A planet full of Darth Vaders hopped up on bath salts." That's because ...
6Earth's Space Wars Are Right Around The Corner
Let's return to the scenario in which you're the alien leader. You've emerged from hyperspace, warped in, or puckered out from some wormhole in the vicinity of Earth's orbit. But instead of preparing a team to take samples and probe a hillbilly or two, the first thing you're compelled to do is order all hands on deck to man the battle stations, because holy shit, this blue-green marble is completely surrounded by hostile space droids.
Hopefully, they came equipped with some sort of gigantic interstellar can of Raid.
We're not talking about the accumulating space debris situation, which is rapidly getting out of hand and could easily be mistaken for the aftermath of some kind of cataclysmic robot war. It's the fact that war in space is quickly becoming a reality. And orbital conflicts won't feature plucky farmhands behind the controls of agile starfighters -- it will involve unmanned craft firing missiles and unleashing laser and/or microwave arrays on each other.
Some even more unsettling scenarios could see space ships sneaking up on satellites to spray paint over their optics systems, or physically wrestling them into submission like a T-800 left unsupervised around a naive "I just want to be friends" Johnny Five.
Johnny Five was technically never "alive," but he's sure as shit dead now.
In a surprise twist to exactly no one, China and Russia are apparently at the forefront of "counterspace" technology. And that fancy word is simply a less terrifying way of saying that they're spending a fortune on hardware that's specifically designed with the intention of "destroying, damaging, and interfering with the enemy's reconnaissance ... and communications satellites," and to "blind and deafen the enemy." And in case you're confused, the "enemy" they're referencing is "all you guys in the Uncle Sam Fan Club."
Cons: All that. Pros: No more talk radio.
It isn't a stretch to imagine a not-too-far-off cosmic future in which hundreds of metallic orbiting contraptions are alternately trading fire and getting into flanking position to physically pummel one another like they're a bad Hugh Jackman movie. And while this sort of situation may indicate to outside observers that our species is capable of intelligence, it may also be viewed as the type of intelligence that tends to get unanimous "Yea" votes during intergalactic extermination tribunals.
5We're Planning To Terraform Mars By Creating A New Species
Eventually, the day will come to pass when we humans are going to have to make a fateful decision: either leave the planet for good in an attempt to survive as a species, or invest in some heavy jackets for when the Sun farts out.
Forward-thinking scientists have already been preparing for the former, and you've probably heard of some of the concepts they're working on, such as terraforming. Part of the plan to both bend the cosmos to our will and tinker in God's domain in one fell swoop includes genetic engineering and "synthetic biology." Long story horrible, this means that the military is hard at work cooking up new plants, bacteria, and algae to unleash on the Martian surface to make it habitable to humans. And if possible, they hope to one day conjure up even more complex creatures that are able to survive in extreme environments, while hopefully avoiding that part of the genome that instigates an evolution towards predatory hive-forming and fang-filled secondary jaws.
D. Mitriy / WIki Commons
"Gorilla-sized eels that wear rectums as hats! Visit Oceanus Borealis today!"
If any of this sounds familiar, it's because we're also describing the process of creation used by the Engineers in Prometheus, who seed Earth itself with the microbial foundations of the human race. Or better yet, Little Shop Of Horrors, in which an alien race of blood-sucking monsters attempt an Earth takeover by posing as innocent Venus flytraps.
Warner Brothers Pictures
"And I would've gotten away with it, if it weren't for those meddling focus groups!"
Terraforming a planet with human-friendly bacteria sounds great in theory, but how exactly do we plan to eventually move into these new outposts and colonies after we've coated the surface in armor-clad, presumably ravenous space worms? Seriously, how many sci-fi/horror movies have seen the same scenario play out with tragic results?
Universal Home Entertainment
And if we won't listen to cheesy direct-to-DVD flicks, what will we listen to?
And keep in mind that the first impression that an alien intelligence may have of us may not be from a face-to-face meeting, but with the monsters we've been Johnny Appleseeding across the known galaxy. If you were in their shoes, could you really see yourself not calling for reinforcements from their version of Starfleet Command to address the menace of the human race?