First Contact With Aliens: What do they want, and are they friendly?
First contact, or more precisely alien first contact, has been seen and described in hundreds of movies and books. The classic humanoid aliens come to Earth and are able to speak to us in our own language because of some universal translator or maybe some hand signals. Some stories even have alien life that comes to Earth and communicates through music – Close Encounters Of The Third Kind.
These stories would leave you to believe that the aliens wanted to make contact with us. These stories would have you believe that the galaxy, or the universe, is full of alien life that wants to be friends. Would we or could we really be friends?As a huge fan of science fiction and the hunt for alien life I certainly hope so. On the opposite side you have aliens that come to earth and want to take something from us… our women, our children, our moms, our resources, you name it they want it. What if aliens really did decide to contact us? I would be the first to fight back if they tried to steal my mom, child, or wife away. What if they already have contacted us? What if somewhere in an underground base an alien has been working for years trying to communicate with us, to our government, to the world. In the following I will be discussing my opinions on first contact based off the fiction I’ve seen in films, conspiracy theories, and our own human history.
Alien Contact: A history lesson.
Imagine yourself hundreds of years ago – that you are on a wooden ship. You have sailed for months on end across a vast ocean of nothingness. You have sucked salt water from giant waves, eaten stale bread, prayed together in circles as your boat was tossed side to side in vast thunderstorms. Finally, you hear someone yell, “Land”. Welcome to the new world. You are now an alien. You have crossed a massive void and come to a land where a group of people who look and act nothing like you call their home. You are the invader. You came to start a new life and to own land. Your purpose was to start a new life, a family, and make a name for yourself. To live the way you want to live. You have finally reached the shore. You are one of the first to step foot onto this new world. You look around and admire the treeline. You see a world ripe for the picking.
A man walks out of the forest before you. He is covered head to toe in animal skin, feathers, and paint. You have never seen or imagined anything like him. Maybe you are that man. Maybe you have just watched a giant vessel come out of the horizon and land on the shore you call home. Then you watch as a strange pale figure walks off the ship onto the ground. Do you welcome the stranger into your home? Do you runaway? Do you take out whatever weapon you may have made for your survival and attack first, question later?
We are alien, Savages, all of us.
To an alien race visiting Earth we would be that man from the forest dressed in animal hides and outwardly different and primitive. It is my opinion that the things we do not understand we study. We spend a certain amount of time deciding whether or not what we are learning is dangerous. If that something is dangerous we hide it away, we shut it up somewhere it can’t hurt us… or we destroy it.
For years Native Americans and settlers were at peace, then war, then peace again. Eventually, though, the population of settlers grew to a point that the Native Americans integrated or settled on reservations. There was blood. There were tears. There were times of thanks and times of giving (see what I did there). There was a long drawn out conflict before things settled into what they are now, and both of these aliens were human. Both breathed oxygen, both bled red, both had families to feed, and both had the same basic needs. What would have happened if the man exiting that ship had been pale white with two faces, four arms, six legs, and five eyes? What if their bodies had been so asymmetrical we couldn’t distinguish a nose, mouth, or ears? What if we had no way to communicate with them at all? Would we have attacked first or given our hand not knowing whether to them it would be an offering of peace or signal of war? What if they didn’t even notice us? What if we were nothing but ants to them and they walked by and started setting up their homes right over ours. Destroying our families, friends, our lives like we were nothing but insects.
Alien-Human Contact, “So… what’s that second nose good for?”
It’s a huge universe out there and if the chances are that somewhere out there a species similar enough to us could be, whether they evolved that way or God (insert your preferred deity here,) intended it, there is an even higher chance that there is a race out there that has sentience like us and is nothing like us at all. They could have lower gravity and be thin giants, with massive paper thin wings, that do nothing but smile and fly around their world all day pondering the mystery of the universe. They could have higher gravity than us and be short dwarf like monsters whose bodies are made of nothing but muscle – allowing them to barely stand. Their star may be so close to their sun that they have developed on a world that would look like hell to us. First contact could even be with robots, or a hive minded artificial intelligence created by another alien race that died out thousands of years ago. There is an infinite amount of possibilities for what could be out there. The real questions we should ask is, could we ever talk, meet, or would we even notice each other at all.
If we made contact with an alien race I would like to believe that they would be contacting us or reaching out to us in a way they know we would understand or be able to translate. Sending us a message using techniques that we learned to use to communicate with others. Radio signals, Morse code, satellite, light signals, music, even snippets of our own language. If an alien race was so advanced they could talk to us across time and space, I want to believe that they would let us know they were coming, that they wanted to be friends, and that they want to learn from us and visa versa. If they could communicate with us I would assume or hope that they had the technology to travel in the depths of space but I would also have to assume that the voice I hear is nothing but an echo. A small faint cry sent into the darkness that traveled millions of light years in every direction hoping for a reply back. That is after all basically what we have done. Radio waves, short wave signals, and other forms of communication sent into space at every direction, seeking sentient life, while we ponder whether we are alone in the universe. Unfortunately for us, our radio waves and signals are probably going to thin out and fade away before reaching anything or anybody out there.
Alien worlds, civilization and culture takes on a new meaning.
One of the most intriguing things we can do and look for is worlds that we would consider habitable. We can also theories and image mapping to look at what kind of atmosphere and resources those planets might have. If you haven’t heard of the Kardashev scale let me break it down like this; there are three types of civilizations each using more and more resources given to them to expand outward.
The Kardashev scale is highly used in science fiction to explain stages of alien life. While I am not going to go into detail on each type, (there are Five plus whatever your imagination can come up with,) Type 0 (and hopefully 1 within the next few hundred years… again being really optimistic,) would be around where we stand. This is a civilization that uses the resources of their planet and surroundings given to them (Type 1 would use the resources in the solar system such as mining asteroids, moons, power from the sun, etc.). We have the Earth… but as rising gas prices show our resources are dwindling. Eventually one day if we don’t destroy ourselves first (another reason there may not be other alien life – they destroy themselves) we would become a Type 2 civilization. A Type 2 civilization is the most likely alien life form that would visit our primitive world. They would just be transitioning from a world similar to ours. They would need to carry the same curiosity and need to explore that we have. They would have the power of the sun, of multiple solar systems, even inhabitable solar systems filled with gas giants so big they make Jupiter look like a marble. They would have an endless amount of resources and truly nothing to take from conquering Earth, aside from stealing our women and moms. There is plenty of everything out there in the universe, Earth is very insignificant unless you like the wildlife.
It is with all that power, that technology that they would have to posses if they were going to visit us or send us a message we can understand, why I believe they would have to find a way to communicate – to talk to us so that we would understand. They would be the light in the dark cave tapping us on our shoulder until we turn our back so we are no longer facing the wall and walk out. We are man coming out of the woods dressed in primitive skins, holding primitive weapons, living in a primitive world. Curious and not able to understand the stranger we have two choices – attack or try to make friends. If we attacked we may be able to hold our own from time to time, even win a few battles but in the end we would be nothing more then a bump in the road. We would never win like in the movies. There would be no virus we could upload to, no hive mind we could outsmart. There would be no chance at us blowing up their home world and committing genocide on their species (genocide… maybe that’s one reason alien’s haven’t ever contacted Earth… why would they want to) or killing enough of them that they would surrender. If first contact doesn’t go with open arms and a hand held out willingly whether that hand be held in public or an underground base in the desert then would not be given our happy endings not matter how patriotic our cry.
When first contact is made with aliens, who will instigate communication?
We could easily take our time. First contact doesn’t have to be a sit down with every world leader and person on the planet watching. No. First contact could have even already happened hundreds of years ago. Slowly over time more and more alien technologies and support is released unto the world so that every generation gets softer and softer until one day they appear and we able to understand and communicate because of years of practice, research, and time finally have that public sit down. Conspiracy theorists would have you believe that aliens have crashed and we’ve dissected them in secret military bases. Other conspiracy theorists would have you believe that aliens and humans work together in underground labs playing with genetics, curing cancer and combining each other into chimera hybrids born part alien and part human. Maybe the aliens even came to us and learned that through our genetic material they can alter themselves in some way that would make them stronger, better, healthier and together we are making the universe a nicer place to live. Maybe the relationship between alien and man can be more akin to a man and his dog. Unable to communicate but they do. A dog will protect its owner with its life. Even as I write this my shepherd/husky mix is laying at my feet facing the door. We have never been able to express in words or any language how we think of each other but we are able to live together. Unless we are invisible to it’s senses, if an alien being approaches us and they want to talk then I believe we will.
If we are never visited by an alien race maybe one day we will become a type 2,3, or 4+ civilization and we will reach out. From our Earth to the moon to the stars to the edge of our galaxy and beyond that. We will hold out our hand to the wolf and we will lead it in the dark. Maybe… if we are lucky, if we don’t destroy ourselves or end our journey before it begins then we will be the ones making first contact.