It may not rank as the most compelling reason to curb greenhouse gases, but reducing our emissions might just save humanity from a pre-emptive alien attack, scientists claim.
Has Jonathon Porritt been eating organic Roquefort before bed again?
Watching from afar, extraterrestrial beings might view changes in Earth’s atmosphere as symptomatic of a civilisation growing out of control – and take drastic action to keep us from becoming a more serious threat, the researchers explain.
That’s rather ambiguous. Does that mean that technological and economic advances mean we might become a threat to them which implies no ecopaclypse? Anyway, who’s control are we out of? I think you know the answer: a Wellsian technocratic elite.
This highly speculative scenario is one of several described by a Nasa-affiliated scientist and colleagues at Pennsylvania State University that, while considered unlikely, they say could play out were humans and alien life to make contact at some point in the future.
Highly speculative? Utterly deranged is what I’d call it. This clearly is what NASA does when it doesn’t have a shuttle to play with.
Shawn Domagal-Goldman of Nasa’s Planetary Science Division and his colleagues compiled a list of plausible outcomes that could unfold in the aftermath of a close encounter, to help humanity “prepare for actual contact”.
Plausible! The thing about aliens is that they are, well, alien. If and when we meet them we will have to wing it.
In their report, Would Contact with Extraterrestrials Benefit or Harm Humanity? A Scenario Analysis, the researchers divide alien contacts into three broad categories: beneficial, neutral or harmful.
So it could be good bad or indifferent. It is now clear that the reason NASA no longer have the capacity to put humans into orbit is they no longer employ rocket scientists…
Beneficial encounters ranged from the mere detection of extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI), for example through the interception of alien broadcasts, to contact with cooperative organisms that help us advance our knowledge and solve global problems such as hunger, poverty and disease.
…they do though employ people who watch a lot of bad sf movies.
Another beneficial outcome the authors entertain sees humanity triumph over a more powerful alien aggressor, or even being saved by a second group of ETs. “In these scenarios, humanity benefits not only from the major moral victory of having defeated a daunting rival, but also from the opportunity to reverse-engineer ETI technology,” the authors write.
Send in the Ewoks!
Other kinds of close encounter may be less rewarding and leave much of human society feeling indifferent towards alien life. The extraterrestrials may be too different from us to communicate with usefully. They might invite humanity to join the “Galactic Club” only for the entry requirements to be too bureaucratic and tedious for humans to bother with.
The EU in space. Now that is depressing. Imagine it. Continually bailing out Wolf 359 and Tau Ceti…
They could even become a nuisance, like the stranded, prawn-like creatures that are kept in a refugee camp in the 2009 South African movie, District 9, the report explains.
I have met quite a few South Africans and I am in no doubt that if “prawn-like creatures” were ever stranded in the RSA the South Africans would respond using the most basic of human technologies - the BBQ.
The most unappealing outcomes would arise if extraterrestrials caused harm to humanity, even if by accident. While aliens may arrive to eat, enslave or attack us, the report adds that people might also suffer from being physically crushed or by contracting diseases carried by the visitors. In especially unfortunate incidents, humanity could be wiped out when a more advanced civilisation accidentally unleashes an unfriendly artificial intelligence, or performs a catastrophic physics experiment that renders a portion of the galaxy uninhabitable.
I said sf movies. Obviously I meant Battlefield Earth.
To bolster humanity’s chances of survival, the researchers call for caution in sending signals into space, and in particular warn against broadcasting information about our biological make-up, which could be used to manufacture weapons that target humans. Instead, any contact with ETs should be limited to mathematical discourse “until we have a better idea of the type of ETI we are dealing with.”
We of course means they. The propeller-heads in the employ of NASA who know sums and stuff.
The authors warn that extraterrestrials may be wary of civilisations that expand very rapidly, as these may be prone to destroy other life as they grow, just as humans have pushed species to extinction on Earth. In the most extreme scenario, aliens might choose to destroy humanity to protect other civilisations.
This coming from NASA who have no manned launch system and has just cancelled it’s replacement - the abominably back to the future Constellation program is dismal.
“A preemptive strike would be particularly likely in the early phases of our expansion because a civilisation may become increasingly difficult to destroy as it continues to expand. Humanity may just now be entering the period in which its rapid civilisational expansion could be detected by an ETI because our expansion is changing the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere, via greenhouse gas emissions,” the report states.
Again the link between greenhouse gases and civilisational development - interesting. Note this is almost the opposite of the AGW catastrophe. It is not saying that greenhouse gases are bad for us per se but that when Our Friends from Frolix 8 clock them on their spectroscope they decide to wipe us out before we can do them harm. This is quite weird from a green point of view. Is it simply the case that as increasing numbers of folks decide that CO2 won’t make the sky fall on it’s own the technomancer elite have to threaten us with alien invasion! If you think about it this is really the story of the tower of Babel retold in bad sf terms.
“Green” aliens might object to the environmental damage humans have caused on Earth and wipe us out to save the planet. “These scenarios give us reason to limit our growth and reduce our impact on global ecosystems. It would be particularly important for us to limit our emissions of greenhouse gases, since atmospheric composition can be observed from other planets,” the authors write.
Reading that convinces me more than ever that this is really is the Book of Genesis and the Tower of Babel and all that malarkey for this millennium (with a spot of Prometheus too). Don’t over-reach yourselves humanity or fire will fall from the skies, the seas will rise, dogs will live with cats, the first-born shall receive an ASBO etc. Except now it isn’t an angry guy with a beard with a fondness for smiting (because nobody would believe that except Michelle Bachmann!) but ET with photon torpedoes.
Even if we never make contact with extraterrestrials, the report argues that considering the potential scenarios may help to plot the future path of human civilisation, avoid collapse and achieve long-term survival.
That is a non-sequitur. This is Green propaganda in hopefully it’s death -throes. This is nothing other than stories to frighten children.
NASA calling time on the final frontier then? Good. Virgin Galactic, SpaceX and all the rest can do the real work. As the old joke goes, “NASA is still expanding into space - office space”. And it is an old joke which shows what a porkulent bunch of miserablists they really have become.
I hope these guys get to have a full and frank discussion of their views with Buzz Aldrin at a conference sometime soon.