Would any alien visitors be friendly?

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by roadkill, Jun 24, 2003.

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  1. wet1 Wanderer Registered Senior Member

    roadkill brings up an intresting point and while reading it a (gasp) thought hit me.

    Our world knows competition and evolution. What drives evolution? It is the competition?

    Allow me lay another possibility on you. What if the dominate driver is raditation? Either from the sun or from the various radioactive componets within our own planet? Need I mention the background level of raditation that is always present within our enviroment?

    If an alien system did not have these componets, would they advance through evolution? If they didn't, chances are good that their aggressive tendenacies would be much lower or possibilty higher if the raditation was higher. Higher levels of raditation would encourage more mutations over time, driving evolution at a faster pace.
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  3. buffys Registered Loser Registered Senior Member

    this is 1 thing that bugs me about 90% of scifi. I have yet to hear a reasonable argument for aliens coming here to wipe out or enslave mankind.

    - they want our minerals? the universe is littered with them, why come all the way here?

    - they need us or our biosphere for food? again i have trouble believing they have food problems if they have the resources/technology to get here.

    - they want to wipe us out to horde the universes resources for themselves? on a the scale of the universe conquering our planet is like fighting a world war over a dime.

    - they need our dna? this reason seems the silliest of all to me but if it were so they could just steal a couple hundred people and make all they need.

    unless every square meter of the entire universe is crammed (i mean every body in all of space is populated and/or mined completely) and our solar system is the very last one to be exploited, the only reason i can fathom that anyone would even consider coming here is simple curiosity.

    there is just too much room out there to bother with a fight IMO (even tho it would be very 1 sided in their favour im sure). Its not that i think all life must be wise and peaceful necessarily but i can't imagine a scenario (with aggressive aliens) that would make the trip worth it, no matter how xenophobic they may be.

    I can only consider this from my simple human perspective, of course, so there could be some weird alien reason we can't fathom but its hard for me to believe that WHATEVER they require could not be accessed much closer to home.
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  5. Pete It's not rocket surgery Registered Senior Member

    I think Footfall had a reasonable premise.
    In that story, the aliens were from a planet orbiting Alpha Centauri. Their social advancement was behind ours, but their technology was well advanced (no major physics breakthroughs, more like better engineering) because they 'inherited' the scientific knowledge legacy from an earlier highly advanced species on their planet, including knowledge of Earth.

    The current species had expanded rapidly in a colonial conquest sort of way, and the invasion of Earth seems a natural extension of this colonialism (imagine if Victorian England had the knowledge of new lands on the next star, and the means to get there).
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  7. Vortexx Skull & Bones Spokesman Registered Senior Member

    The aliens, being advanced and all, probably wouldn't need the earth for its minerals etc. because the technological level required to visit earth from lightyears distance implies that they have the technology to use asteroid belts etc. for their resources.

    SLAVES, unlikely, their tec-level must be such that most of the work is done by machines.

    FOOD, a possibillity! while they can extract minerals etc. from any rock in a solar system, the earth is rather special for it's life harbouring atmosphere that allows to grow food. Wether this food will be grain, green slime , or shredded human beings , depends on the diet of the alien visitor.

    PRE-EMPTIVE war.
    Humans are evil, we are the kind that probably will not be friendly when we visit other planets, also we are progressing to a tec-level that in a few hundred years we might become serious competition for other space-empires. Better to throw us back to stone-age now before we take over...
  8. eburacum45 Valued Senior Member

    I really don't think that alien metabolisms would be similar enough to our own for them to find earthly organisms edible; when humanity eventually travels to the stars,
    and if one day we find another earth type planet,
    it will almost certainly require radical genetic engineering to survive on the local biosphere...

    okay, so the alien invaders may arrive here, and then get themselves re-engineered so that they can eat pizza and salad- but this does not seem a very agressive act to me;
    perhaps they will bring their own biota and actively replace the indigestible Earth life - then we are in trouble.
    SF worldbuilding at
  9. buffys Registered Loser Registered Senior Member


    wow, thats a good one! best scenario ive heard yet.
  10. Pete It's not rocket surgery Registered Senior Member

  11. dinokg Registered Senior Member

    The Freefall book sounds similar to a show I saw years ago.

    I think it was about 5+ years ago and on channel 5 on cable.

    It was a anime or somthing like that.

    It had things like asteroids being used as weapons and the space shuttle being armed with lasers and stuff like that.

    Anyone remember it?:bugeye:
  12. roadkill Registered Senior Member

    Kabuki wrote
    Sorry Kabuki but I gotta set you straight on that one. It's an old wives take. An urban myth. How it started I have no idea. The truth is that elephants have shocking aweful memories. The attention span of a walnut.

    Some interesting questions on why visitors might be nasty and invade us. Very interesting idea's. Why would they take what we have when space is so rich you ask.

    My reply is why not. Imagine if humanity kept expanding as any viable species usually does without imposed limitations.

    Humans could farm the oceans and deserts and feed the entire World in theory. If we divided all the living space out equally I'm sure everybody would have atleast several square metres of personal space too. We could also farm asteroids and Mars with some investment. We could live in habitats and recycle space minerals all day. Why don't we? Several reasons.

    It's impractical, expensive and nobody wants to do it.

    Firstly, turning the entire planet into a food factory would be a crime against nature. Who would want to inhabit such a boring sterile environment with no wild places?

    Would any of you sacrifice your cushy existance to go live on a claustrophobic hollowed out asteroid? For the sake of the starving multitudes? So we could all live equally? Forget travelling the solar system. That would be a waste of precious fuel resources and there is nothing to see out there anyway but other farms.

    The truth is that a powerful minority lives in luxury while the majority suffers and strives to improve their lot. The wealthy enjoy a great standard of living thanks to the poor. The poor live on dreams. What keeps them going is striving to become one of the elite. Thats how the world works. The top dogs get first feed and the rest of us the scraps they leave us. Its the ultimate pyramid system with all of us desperately trying to climb to the top.

    Aliens don't want to live on recycled space debris. Just like us and the "fithp" they are going to want as much as they can take. Ideally to live in open spaces feeling the sun on their faces and ordering menials like us about at their leisure. They are going to want the best standard of living available to them.

    That is what ultimately drove people to colonise America. Better opportunities existed in the new world than the old with its overpopulated cities full of rich established families. It isn't easier to live in space. A big terrestrial planet is the most secure and friendly place to life.

    One with primitive natives who can be dazzled with beads while you buy their land out from under them.

    Just my thoughts.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2003
  13. eburacum45 Valued Senior Member

    I have no doubt that many space faring civilisations may think like this; the effort of building interstellar spaceships might be justified by the desire to conquer, and for power; power over other creatures.
    This strategy may hinge upon the availability of comfortable earth-like worlds- if they are plentiful, it may be worthwhile setting off into the galaxy to colonise earth-like planets and nothing else.
    If you find that some earth-like planets have inhabitants to exploit- so much the better!

    Unfortunately it is much more likely that earth-like planets are going to be very rare, and even if a colonising civilisation finds one there may be several things that make it difficult to live on -

    all the lifeforms are likely to be poisonous; either you will find trace elements in the environment that are toxic to you but not the local life, or the amino acids are the wrong chirality; many things are likely to be different on another world.

    No, most environments which a colonising civilisation will live in will be ones they make themselves; this is a good thing, as you can design them to order, using the abundant energy and resources in every solar system.
    Artificial environments will no doubt be established all over the home solar sysyem before serious colonisaton gets under way- see this essay.
    Most construction work will be carried out by automated systems... if these are not available , it is not worth going to the stars at all- you would have to travel hundreds or thousands of light years to find a race to enslave, rather than 'just' four and a half as envisaged in Footfall.
    (of course this doesn't stop the robots from being oppressed- sentient rights for all! was the cry!)
    SF worldbuilding at
  14. thefountainhed Fully Realized Valued Senior Member

    Would any alien visitors be friendly?

    It seems to me that this would depend on their reasons for visiting us. If they came here specifically out of a desire/need to find other 'lifeforms', then I suppose they should be friendly. If they however came as explorers/merchants/traders/wariors, etc their intentions might turn hostile if profit-- depending of course on whether our notion of trade/profit is similar to theirs, etc. I don't understand why some people are talking of minerals, food, etc. It seems to me that if a greater civilization visited earth/us, we would be most valuable as a novelty. Imagine musuems filled with 'earthlings'.
  15. filibuster I only call names in bed Registered Senior Member

    IMHO, this is science fiction. We KNOW what interstellar travel will be like. It will take years, generations even. It will be nothing like a bombing run. When they arrive, just getting here will be the whole point. As for colonization, don't we usually check to make sure there's somewhere to go before we load up the wife and kids? That would imply a round trip and a second visit.
  16. Dwayne D.L.Rabon Registered Senior Member

    Well it semms that most of what i was reading in this topic was about aggressive aliens, and some threat of war under frist contact ect.......
    Fact remains that such warfare will not invovle direct contact, a alein race of intelligence would understand the mechanics of are solar system and thge surrounding stars, and simply just destroy a star near are solar system or even within a 100 light years, which would changfe the chemistry on earth eliminating the human race or all life. simple as that. end of subject. we would never even see it comiing. humans will have to advance to a stage where they can defend the stars in are local system of stars to gain any stablity with a confontation with a alien race. without the ablity to defend just the gaseous suns in are local system humans would not have a chance.

    In general humans have much more to compete with than aliens, as there are only around 10,000 to 15,000 years left in which the the earth is livable. why is this simple the earth and it sun are traveling away from alpha centauri are closest solar neighbor which is current responsible for the present state of chemistry on earth, its gravitional bindind with are sun make common chemicals possible. H20, SiO4 ect. the farther we get from alpha the more unstabe earth chemistry gets. in 9,000 years are closest star will then be bernards star, and it will become the next agent of chemical stablity. the current chemistry that we have on earth has only been in existance for the time that we have been bound to alphas system, we are currently in the down phase or seperation phase. so when you look at the fossil record that is from a time frame when alpha had a more prominet effect on earth chemistry.
    in addtion to these even occuring in the next 9,000 years there us also the event of polar reversal which occur about every 5,000 to 7,000 years these events completely reduce life to its most primiative states each time nearly destroying life complete and changeing the entire landscape of the earth, the loss of the magnetic feild which controlls the rate of human intelligences, reduces the function of human intelligence to primate,and the function of mind become those that operate the bodily function rather than conjector and invention, simply the existance of a intelligent race of human will be wipe out completely by such events of pole reversal, both in physical record and in the minds of humans suriving, in short the last dominate intelligent race on earth before the last pole reversal could have been the elephant, the reptile, or bird and nothing like a mammal such as human. seeing this event has a prominet effect on the scale of life and domince, human intellingence and domince is measured by the speed of the magnetic poles motion in the progressive years of the past.
    Given the event of pole reversal occurs every 5,000 years to say there would only two time periods left for intelligent life to evolve where each will begin to reach itr peak of intelligence about the time of the pole reversal which will destroy it, as it created its itelligence. if humans do not take this event in serious nature then there are the possiblity of two other species that might make it and survive to the time when chemistry completey fails on earth relative to alphas system influence on are earthyly chemistry.
    In general humans have to make through two loops one the magnetic pole reversal, and two the change in chemical stablity marked for to occur in about 9,000 years.
    this means that it is highly inportant for humans to be successful in develpoing a way to transfer society, and its large population through such events of a magnetic feild reversal, his allow the achivement of a bases for continuiing a human race that will develope to the capablity of surving the chemical stablity change marked in 9,000 years or 11,000 AD, it also places the human race on the stage of becaome a interstellar traveler capable of alein contact that is meaningful.

    So then we can see that the human race has a lot more to fear than a alien race. and on that you can bet your last dollar.

    But hey after all if the human race can not look to foresee the events and to design to surive them, then they might as well be food for a alien race because they will all be dead anyway. Except those few survives that have trun into canibals and are digging dead bodies out of the frozen earth to eat the carcase during the long 400 years of the pole reversal. I mean really after all 6,000,000,000 dead bodies is a lot of carcass and should last 400 years.

    If the aliens won't eat you i will

  17. eburacum45 Valued Senior Member

    Sorry if I didn't make myself clear, but I agree with you totally. It will take hundreds of years to get from one system to another. I believe however that the desire for conquest may sometimes overcome the problem of time lag...
    especially if the aggression is carried out by robotic or automatic warships.
    if you imagine a widespread civilsation of colonies; each one struggling to adapt their system to a livable environment, it may be a viable strategy to invade half- colonised systems and take over their infrastructure;
    but alien intelligent species are likely to be so rare, widely separated and different to the hypothetical empire builders that it seems unlikely that a policy of alien enslavement would ever work.
    As far as checking out a solar system before the colonisation ships get there, before too long we might be able to do this ourselves remotely; the various terrestrial planet finder telescopes will be based on widely separated satellites, allowing for interferometry; coupled with a wide range of other methods it may be that the solar systems of all nearby systems will be well known before any craft are sent.
    SF worldbuilding at
  18. roadkill Registered Senior Member

    This is an assumption based on what exactly? I don't see people living under the ocean. We have the technology to send people to the moon so building undersea cities is perfectly feasible. It's just too expensive as a solution to housing people. The same for space habitats. Sure we can do it but who would want to live out there or pay for the development? Missions to other Stars are different. Those who feel hard done by back home would welcome exploratory missions to other planetary systems. Especially if telescopes have revealed the existance of habitable planets. Remember that they might have much bigger telescopes than us.

    Distance? How can you assume sentient life in other parts of the galaxy would have a problem with century long flights? For one thing they might have a completely different psychology to us. Many life forms put the fate of their young ahead of themselves. They might send frozen embryo's. They might even have perfected suspended animation for themselves or have a natural ability for it. Like Bears hibernating in the winter but more advanced. Many worlds might have long winters which promote such adaptations. Perhaps they are longer lived than we are. Your immortal aliens which someone mentioned earlier wouldn't care about 500 years in space. Some of their books might take that long to read.

    Also, we don't know that life here will be poisonous to them or that poisonous food is any obstacle. They might have brought along their own food crops and farm animals for introduction here. So long as there is soil to grow things and an empty land save for a few savages ofcourse.

    Think of what drives us and all other life on Earth. That seems the most likely source of motivation in other life and the only examples we can draw upon. Life puts its own interests ahead of those of other life. That is a natural survival instinct. Why do many people here on Earth want to colonise Mars? To get away from stifling Governments on Earth. As population increases this urge to escape will become more widespread. Some day we WILL colonise Mars and everywhere else. Then people will want to escape to the stars.

    In other words those Aliens who choose to take on the risk of interstellar travel and the chance of a new life and new destiny for their children will likely be the malcontents, rebels, adventurers, mentally deranged, revolutionaries and criminally disposed among the species. Those not happy to accept their lot in life but prepared to gamble everything in the hope of more power. Exactly the kind of individuals who would use primitives as slaves.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2003
  19. buffys Registered Loser Registered Senior Member


    Since we have to use life as we understand it as a model for this discussion i think you make really good points.

    I wonder though, will we colonize even mars if our species remain so myopic, confrontational and greedy? My point is, with projects so massive as interplanetary/intergalactic colonization, a degree of cultural cohesion and societal maturing seems necessary - in other words its hard for me to believe intelligent aliens are colonizing simply because their own society is spiralling out of control, one step ahead of chaos. Id think any successfully space faring species would have to have their house in order (so to speak) before being able to manage such a gigantic and complex endeavour. If famine, overpopulation or political insecurity is their only motivation it seems unlikely they could achieve the necessary co-operation to pull it off. IMO species like this would likely fail and never leave their solar system.

    Im a bit of an optimist so my glasses may be a bit more rosy than i realize but this is how it seems to me.

    just a thought,
  20. Dwayne D.L.Rabon Registered Senior Member

    Ok key to base point.

    The galaxay is full of stars and planets, solar systems, the one that are useful and that posses the ablity for intelligent life are ones that have a variable number of planets and several closes suns in the immediate area of the given solar system, inaddition local stars play a large role in atomic stablity for that solar system. here it is clear why hydrogen and helium remain main particles of what we see in stars and large planets surrounding distant suns, the galaxy is not yet concentrated enough to contain mass solar systems, depening on area as our solar system is out on the edge and in the less dense.
    The majority of planets that we could find would be large planets of give elemetns such as a planet of carbon, oxygen, or silver, titainium ect... other forms would be planets that consist of layers of each element uncombined with others, to say planets with a layer of carbon then a layer of aluminium and then a layer of boron, most of these planets in the lighter elemets, depending on the complexity of the local star group relative to that solar system.
    therefor to a alien race a form of commodity would be heavy metals and elements cesium ect...thorium. these type of atoms would have a value even if synthically produced by aliens. and would be most abundant in areas with complexed local stars groups and planetary system such as our own.
    the distribution of such solar systems would under a even distribution in the galaxy scheme occur about every 40 to 125 light years, hypothically about 400 in a striaght line(300) and with in the diameter of our solar system some 1000 different solar systems, many of them with out the complexted organization for atmoic stablity, the most complexted regipon being the area closet to the center of our galaxy where many suns share interaction, infact much heavier atoms would exist.

    with the complexity of solar systems and atomic stablity come also the complexity nessacary for life, this establishish that life will be older than that on earth by say 20,000 light years in general terms, but as oder by as much as say 10,000,000 light years or the sort, also life being closer at center regions of the galaxy such life forms of intelligence would see our solar system before we see them and see us more clearly. certainly this area of aliens will have encountered solars systems and abundant mineral, elements heavy and light before even encountering us or reaching us.

    there vaule of earth and our solar system is the fact that we are further out in the solar system and on the path of exploration and passage into the cosmic space and provide a area where there is complext structure stabity, for harboring life and heavy metals. aliens intrested in our solar system would be more interested in venus and jupiter and possibly mars as regions of complextity, probably more so alpha centauri as it has a binary sun system with greater gavity intreactance, for aliens there are much better canidates for living than earth.

    but let look at the evoultion of such life forms, aliens coming from the center of the galaxy would have to survive frequent magnetic pole reversal that occur with much shorter time frames than earhs 5,000 to 7,000 years, this means that there evoultion would have have to be much faster, like wise adaption,morhpisim ect.... this sugggest a more primite life form or light being in the really close regions near the galaxy center and pushes more stable forms of life in to the middle regions, or outter edges of the galaxys sprial arms, such as earth, this simple fact push alien life even closer to are solar system in locaton.
    as the structure of life and it evoultion depend on the magentic feild of a planet for aliens the prime candiate for living in out solar system would be jupiter or saturn when saturns fueld returns, this is be cause of gravity and complexity, and magnetic feild strenght. because of aliens general location closer to gravity concentration of the galaxy they would be compsoed of heavier elements,and require the lights of elements as a fluid of the body suchas helium, nitrogen,oxygen, hydrogen, possibly carbon,as a fluid, but for build there physical structure of thier body they would require a much heavier element than carbon, carbon may be a vital mineral such as chromium is to the human endoctorine system. so simply humans would not meet the nutrional requirements of a alien, however humans are 90% water so maybe a good drink, under any event there is a large ocean out there and a skyful of nitrogen.

    Dwayne D.L.Rabon
  21. buffys Registered Loser Registered Senior Member

    It suddenly occurred to me while rereading the posts here that although science and technology are being used to hypothesize (as it should be), the discussion has moved into something more akin to philosophy. I mean, one can only extrapolate from what science knows so far to a point before your just guessing wildly. It all starts from good solid physics and chemistry but the final conclusions being offered like facts are closer assumption and belief i think.

    i think this thread may be in the wrong category, perhaps General Philosophy would be more appropriate?

    just a thought.
  22. roadkill Registered Senior Member


    I feel myopic thinking is the key. Greed is good. Confrontation is good. They are the driving forces of exploration. The US went to the moon to beat the Russians. Don't underestimate the dark side of human nature. The explosives necessary to propel a rocket are derived originally from munitions. Ye olde black powder for cannon and muskets paved the way for space travel.

    We have only identified a very small number of extrasolar rocky bodies approaching the dimensions of our Earth. All special cases and none as far as I know orbiting the habitable zones of suitable stars. Where did you get the information that most terrestrial worlds will be as you describe. I have seen nothing to indicate such findings are accurate.


    Light years are a measure of distance and not time. I fail to see your reasoning behind this statement. Even 10 million years is a very short time astronomically speaking. On an evolutionary scale it is insignificant. Some advanced animals including mammals have not changed at all in 50 million years or more.

    Sorry but I can't understand what you are trying to say. Is english your second language. No offence but your logic is very difficult to follow and seems to be based on far too many assumptions. Many of us are being philosophical in trying to come to grips with this slippery topic. Myself included. Philosophy is a great tool for reasoning out problems when experimentation and evidence are not readily available. It can provide ideas for new testing methods. We have to be careful not to make too many assumptions however. Basing one "fact" on another on another on another and so on only to later find your original premise was flawed can be embarassing. Galileo was guilty of that and so were the ancient greeks. Still, the ancient greeks did theorise about a round Earth. They also theorised about life on other Worlds orbiting other stars. It's when you pile on too many unproven assumptions that you fall off track.
  23. buffys Registered Loser Registered Senior Member


    While its true that confrontation got us to the moon it proved to be too little motivation to keep us there. Beating "the other guys" only lasts as a motivator as long as "the other guys" are a threat, since our friends and enemies change periodically we need a better reason to maintain such difficult propositions. Without long term co-operation (i grudgingly agree that greed can accomplish this) i question whether even america could pull it off for the duration without the assistance of many other countries.

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