back to article Shuttle astronauts: Aliens are definitely out there

Space shuttle astronauts, recently returned from a visit to the International Space Station, have told reporters in Japan they believe that extraterrestrial life exists. However, the space explorers added that none of them had actually seen any. "I'm sure eventually we'll find something out there," said mission specialist Mike …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    aliens attack

    That would spice things up around planet earth. No more Eco blabla, no more fruitless peace talks, just war with aliens.

    I will probably die first and probably while sitting on the toilet :-D

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I, for one,...

    ...welcome our tentacly/green/scaly/lizardoid/van Neumann machine overlords.

  3. Wonderkid
    Paris Hilton

    'The Sentinel' & protocol based conflict...

    2001: A Space Odyssey was based on Arthur C. Clarke's book, The Sentinel. That concept is interesting, namely that 'whoever' is out there may wait until we display signs of technological progress before making first contact or launching an attack. Why the latter only after we have developed worthwhile technology? Consider the old method of doing battle: Lining your troops up on the hill and only engaging in mass slaughter when the other side where ready to charge too. It was all about honor. Likewise, the Predator movies where the alien considers his occupation (hunting) as a game, not necessarily a strategy for survival. So, if ET is out there, he ('it'?) may choose to come play with us when he knows he will face a credible challenge rather than take us with our pants down in one easy swoop. So, the longer we play the Paris card, the better!

  4. Dominic Kua
    Alien

    If aliens do attack, the Japanese are the best placed to defend us

    No one else has such a massive body of research into, for example, giant robots, planet sized spaceships, the techniques needed by zero-G fighters, how to vat grow giant humans that can fight in space and so on.

    If aliens attack, I'm heading to Yokohama, since Tokyo will inevitably be destroyed in the initial salvo.

  5. Dan Price
    Alien

    Not to worry

    Alien invasion? Not to worry, don't panic - we have Chuck Norris.

  6. Alexander
    Dead Vulture

    come on reg.

    How is this a worthy story for the mighty reg!...in fact where is the story at all . What is tomorrrow's headline "exsclusive - fisherman finds fish in sea"

  7. Mad Mike
    Paris Hilton

    Alien Visitation

    If aliens ever land on this rock, they'd better be careful. Any interaction with a member of the police is likely to result in a rapid tasering.

    Paris, cos she's tougher than the police these days.

  8. SpeakerToAliens
    Alien

    Carl Sagan summed it up nicely.

    He said "There may well be intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, but somebody, somewhere had to be first."

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Alien

    Why does everyone assume that aliens would bother attacking?

    Surely it's far more likely that we'd have a quick look around, then bugger off elsewhere.

    Attacking an inhabited planet is just too much like hard work.

    If we want metals and other minerals, we just go and smash up asteroids.

    If we want slaves, we build robots. They don't rebel, and it's easy to fit them with 'off' switches in case of software problems.

    Humans are just too *squishy*. Ugh.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Alien

    Bah...

    I think the things are arrived to a point in which every person can tell everything and think to have told The Last Word! ;)

    Ok. The Universe is full of life. We are at the end of the Universe, so we can't see them. Or they are very very distant from us.

    However I tell: aliens exist!

    Gimme the next page on theregister.

  11. Mark

    "We come in peace" Zzzzappp

    no comment.

  12. bluesxman
    Dead Vulture

    where's the IT^H^H angle?

    No, seriously, what's the story here?

    I quote: "There is probably something out there but I've never seen it" ... wow, that's some revelation. "I kind of believe in something I've never seen, nor seen evidence of". How insightful! I can see the tree-killing Red Top headlines now -- "Astronauts in 'there might be aliens' shocka!" ... it's about as newsworthy as "Regular bloke in 'there might be a god' shocka!" ... albeit the former sounds a lot more likely ;o)

    As for the mooted alien attacks, whilst I think it would be so ridiculously unrealistic to believe that life HASN'T evolved elsewhere in the universe, it's also ridiculously arrogant to believe that it's coming HERE.

    Oh sorry, I've totally glossed over that unbelievable discovery that a new space stations smells a bit like a new car inside. Riveting stuff, El Reg.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    re: aliens attack

    @AC:

    "I will probably die first and probably while sitting on the toilet"

    You are Elvis Presley and I claim my five pounds.

  14. James Le Cuirot

    Idle chit-chat

    So they're not basing this on anything they've seen. It sounds to me like they just got a little bored one evening while up there in the ether and had a little chat about it.

  15. Stuart Van Onselen

    Military response to alien invasion?

    As I've noted before, the only realistic option, should aliens try to attack earth, is to say "Please Mr Alien! We'll do anything you say. Anything! Just stop dropping rocks on our heads!"

    For "rocks" read "10-mile-wide asteroids". After the first few cities have been wiped from the face of the Earth, and absolutely nothing you can do about it, compliance seems the only solution.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't worry Japan!

    Everyone knows Aliens ONLY attack the US of A...... The rest of us are perfectly safe.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    In other news, the sky is blue, and national dept is increasing.

    Of course aliens are out there. The only question is how large is N in the value of the radius 10^N lightyears within which they can be found?

    "a vigorous debate ongoing in Japan regarding the likelihood of alien attack or visitation, and the measures to be taken by the government in such a case"

    Well, we know the answer to that - issue arbitrary authoritarian laws, then bomb Iran of course. The fracking mullahs are bound to be in cahoots with the green-tentacled ones.

  18. Gav
    Alien

    A bit misleading

    Quoting shuttle astronauts' opinion on ET life is a bit misleading, as it suggest that they are in a better position to judge than us Earth-bound lesser beings. Or worse, it suggests that 'out there' is in the vicinity of the shuttle flights, when it clearly isn't.

    Taking astronauts opinion of life in the universe is like asking your work colleague at the next desk their opinion of Iraq, simply because they're 8 feet further east than you.

  19. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Re: Carl Sagan summed it up nicely.

    "There may well be intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, but somebody, somewhere had to be first."

    Surely until you've specified your frame of reference, there *is* no first.

  20. Anonymous John

    Well the Uk is safe

    We've got Torchwood. Well Cardiff is safe that is..

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This has been happening since the Apollo missions

    This is nothing new. Astronauts have been saying they have been buzzed by UFOs ever since the early Apollo missions, and according to the astronauts that fly on it, the shuttle is routinely observed by "other craft".

    I remember reading a quote from the chief technical chappie at JPL during the Apollo days (can't remember his name or his exact title, but you get the idea), and he was in no doubt at all that there was something else out there, saying that there wasn't a rocket that went up that wasn't buzzed by UFOs. He said this as evidence-based fact, not just his personal beliefs.

  22. Christoph Silver badge

    @ James Le Cuirot

    The way I read it, it's not that the astronauts had chatted about it, it's that the press suddenly asked them "Is there alien life out there?"

    To which the answer obviously is 'almost certainly yes' - it would be very weird indeed if there was no other life *somewhere*. But invasion? That needs technological life nearby, which is a different question altogether.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Alien

    Re: MBSnr

    "Everyone knows Aliens ONLY attack the US of A...... The rest of us are perfectly safe." and ONLY when they have a black president.

    So if Barack Obama gets in then the world is going to be attacked for every where.

    Hilary - You've gotta win.

  24. Algernon

    Calvin And Hobbes said it best.....

    The greatest evidence that there is inteligent life out there, is that it's never tried to visit us.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Alien

    Ack! Ack!

    Ack! Ack! ... Ack! ... Ack! Ack! Ack! ... Ack! ... Ack! Ack! Ack! Ack!!!

    ZZzzzaapp!!

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    it sounds like they were just bored for news... but things do happen

    Remember the BBC documentary about UFO's They had an open floor chat type show with experts.

    Two pieces of evidence were compelling.

    A shuttle rear view camera showing an object following the shuttle as it orbited. The object was seen avoiding a beam of light that came from the panets surface. (closely followed by a guardian article on america and china having anti satellite beam weapons)

    The voice recording of two astronauts speaking in the airlock about lights from outside the airlock that weren't normal, shortly before Houston told them it wasn't a secure channel and they should shut up. Then anouncing they were talking about the LED's on the display for the circuits.

    @MBsnr

    We are not safe if they attack the US of A because as every film and TV program says the first thing america does is put a general in their with half an army to go and "talk with them..."

    Sad thing is they hold the monopoly on who gets to speak to them first, instead of perhaps the UN. So our first contact protocol will be george W Bush. Hence we are not safe at all.

    As Dara O'Briain said on mock the week a while ago. "George Bush has been meeting with his advisors about the imminent threat of Iran, North Korea and the Sith."

  27. Steve

    The proof of alien intelligence...

    ..is that they've stayed away.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @Of course aliens are out there/Almost certainly yes

    I can only assume that you know something the rest of us don't.

    How does life start?

    What conditions are necessary?

    How difficult is the process?

    Is there more than one way?

    Without knowing the answer to these basic questions, you have no way to quantify how likely it is that other life is out there. That kind of guesswork is the worst kind of arrogance, because it stems from ignorance.

    Life could be everywhere. We could be alone.

    The only thing we know is that we don't know.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Alien

    What is there on earth that is worth fighting for?

    Even if there is any oil left on Earth by the time we get there, the cost of shipping it back home would not be competitive with nuclear fission, energy from our home world's core or even solar panels in space beaming down microwaves.

    Fresh water was in short supply, but there is plenty over the frozen poles of homeworld. We can desalinate sea water far more cheaply than shipping water from the asteroid belt, let alone going all the way to another star system.

    Earth plants and meats are inedible. The food shortages here were caused by poor distribution. Even if we could grow our crops on Earth, it would not have helped us get food where it was needed.

    Human slaves are not very productive. Anyway, we have sweatshops here already. We could put a few of you in a zoo. Come on over - we have a cage ready and waiting. Some of your politicians would be the most entertaining and they are not doing you any good.

    Breeding our species on Earth does not solve population pressure here. We gathered our criminals, religious nutters and poor people into cryogenic storage containers ready for shipment years ago. We could not get the equivalent of FAA approval for a fleet of nuclear powered rockets to get them off world. Perhaps one day they will be used for spare part surgery or fertiliser. No-one is in a hurry to do anything with them.

    We do have cities in space, and some of them could reach your world in three generations. The populations of those cities prefer to stay by the asteroid belts. They would not risk a long journey between the stars where there is no source of raw materials and spare parts.

    We could exterminate you for the fun of it, but our politicians find you useful. If any one here complains they are a bunch of incompetent leaches, they just broadcast the latest news from Earth. The ignorant paranoid lunatics you have in charge of planetary defence at the moment are very funny. You cannot even defend yourselves from a large meteor, let alone us.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yawn...

    ...no news here, please move along.

  31. Elmer Phud
    Alien

    Old Mother Hubbard

    El Ron told us that we are all descendants of surprisingly humanoid aliens who all looked like 70's porn stars.

    They are here, we are not worthy (well, not until we've spent thousands on becoming 'clear').

  32. phix8
    Alien

    I have an 'IT angle' for you all

    How come in 'Independence Day' they were able to upload a computer virus to the aliens' system? If they were an advanced space-faring race would they really be using a windows OS? Oh and why do the gray aliens take such an interest in human rectums? Do they have court orders stopping them from going to more civilised worlds? There should be an intergalactic sex offender register, don't we all think?

    I don't like how the question is asked 'do you believe in aliens?' - as if its parallel to ghosts or other hokum. It is not a question of belief. I think there are many thousands of advanced civilisations in our galaxy but even if there are only a handful, there are hundreds of billions of galaxies.

    Please aliens - TAKE ME OFF THIS PLANET - ITS ALL GONE WRONG.

  33. Dennis
    Boffin

    invisible aliens

    And the difference between invisible aliens and God is what?

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Independence Day

    Not to worry, with a laptop and wifi connection we can hack into the alien ship's central computer, upload a virus, bring down their shields and nuke em....

  35. Anonymous John

    Well the UK is safe v2

    If Torchwood can't cope, we nuke Cardiff.

  36. Chris Hunt
    Paris Hilton

    Sod space...

    ...is there intelligent life on EARTH?

  37. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

    A few points

    1) I have to say I think this desrves more of a place in Bootnotes that Space. I have no problem with it being printed, unlike some here saying it is not a story. Come on guys, it's amusing, specialy the comments. But it isnt Science, its a few astronauts making offhand comments.

    2) We already know there is life out there, although amanfrommars has been suspiciously quiet lately. US government finaly tracked hime down and 'relocated' him to area 51?

    3) I also welcome our new extra-terrestrial overlords.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Alien

    I've seen one! They are already among us

    No, I'm not nuts. And if you saw my boss on a Monday morning you wouldn't wonder.

    EAfH - Anon for obvious reason

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    re: a bit misleading

    I fully agree...

    In what way does an astronaut represent any competence of significance on the subject of ET? ONLY if they had actually experienced any! In EVERY other case being an astronaut does not make anyone more competent on the issue. They might be because of other reasons (e.g. an astronaut who is also a researcher on extra-terrestial life etc) - but being an astronaut does not by default qualify by itself.

    This 'story' would need much more 'tongue in cheek' engagement by the author to become a story. Otherwise it is not a story (the bit with the 'vet' is good though). Come on Lewis - we know you can do it!!! - as opposed to me...

  40. Graham Marsden
    Coat

    @Dominic Kua

    Don't forget they've also developed techniques for fighting off giant Dinosaurs, mutated moths and a whole range of other creepy crawlies!

    PS: Regarding comments on the intelligence of Aliens -

    "You'd better pray that there's intelligent life somewhere out in space,

    "Because there's bugger all down here on Earth!"

    - Monty Python, the Meaning of Life.

  41. Graham Dawson
    Coat

    @Dennis

    "And the difference between invisible aliens and God is what?"

    God doesn't anal probe you,.

  42. andy

    @AC What is there on earth that is worth fighting for?

    Gold, of course...

  43. bothwell
    Happy

    @AC alien guy

    "What is there on earth that is worth fighting for? "

    Soylent Green?

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Kibo "smells like a new car" ?!!?

    Wow, that's pretty bizarre... has anyone told the denizens of alt.religion.kibology?

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Alien

    call first

    If there are other intelligent beings out there they would call first.

    Why risk a visit to a foreign planet when you could first figure out how to communicate with them and determine if they are friendly? Besides that has to be so much easier than engaging in physical travel. Time, energy, money, etc. Even if one could travel at the speed of light it would make so much more sense to call first.

    Why just a couple of months ago I received a phone call. Gone at the time but the answer box recorded it. If there ever was a two ton cockroach that is what it would sound like. And, since we failed to communicate most likely they moved on.

    And, do not worry. If they can not figure out how to tap into our phone system or send radio messages (to SETA or even ham radio operators), they surely do not have the technology to just show up on the front porch.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Alien

    First Contact Protocol

    When (if) the first aliens land, Firstly on no account let any government anywhere near them, if you do let the government in someone will start lobbing nukes within the first 5mins.

    Leave the first contact to geeks/nerds and the non "Let's have an us old fashioned Alien autopsy" kind of scientist, whose year of watching Sci-fi will give them a more open mind to deal with the huge differences between species.

  47. Bill Gould
    Paris Hilton

    @AC

    "What is there on earth that is worth fighting for? "

    Why, Paris of course. An advanced alien race would have already purged their vapid, talentless media whores that are popular for no other reason than they ARE vapid, talentless media whores. Now they realize they actually NEED such people just to distract their non-ruling class from the real issues at hand.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Re Independence Day

    Those aliens are intelligent - remember us humans had to use a Macbook to infect their alien system. It was (as is the Mac to this day) completely alien to the Windows virus writers.

    Also, the alien/"English (United States)" translation program on the Mac would mean I don't have to learn any foreign language !!!

  49. Mike Richards Silver badge

    @ Anonymous John

    'If Torchwood can't cope, we nuke Cardiff.'

    Can we just nuke Cardiff? You know, for practice.

  50. Luther Blissett

    @bluesxman - where's the story here?

    AC said "Why does everyone assume that aliens would bother attacking?" Or, to put it another way, why is L. Reg's "security hack" running this, not a "science hack"?

    It's there in open view - Japan cannot undertake preemptive aggression to the safety of its ruling elite. It also cannot say it would like to join the big boys and be able to do so. So it is concocting a reason, along with its pals, which will wash with Joe-san Soap. I expect such reports of aliens to multiply, just as soon as airborne platforms for anti-personnel laser weapons become as viable as the current advanced radars which can track people inside or outside buildings at a range of several hundred miles. (In the hyperreal way that is the norm, the aliens the Japanese will report as contacting will be about 8 foot tall, white rather than grey, have lots of hair, and smell bad).

    You read the game plan in Catch-22. And the reason. Noone will suspect it's really the culling of useless eaters by the Nu Insect Overlards (too fat to go into space), not after the BBC solemnly announces we are in Their Presence.

    @Dennis: "And the difference between invisible aliens and God is what?"

    Richard Dawkins believes in the former but not the latter (sic).

  51. Hollerith
    Unhappy

    please no

    If intelligent life is anything like us, let it please be limited to Earth alone. Keep the torturing, oppression, and suffering limited to this poor planet, where we seem to be fouling our planetary nest with a vigour that even a termite would admire.

  52. Joe Cooper

    Independence Day

    For those who can't remember, they were able to hack into their computer systems because they had captured one of their spaceships back in the 60s and had reverse engineered a lot of it's guts.

    That, and apparently the aliens hadn't ran System Update in the following 40 years.

  53. Dcope
    Stop

    Read this

    http://hanson.gmu.edu/greatfilter.html

    great read, made me rethink my position, used to think there should be loads out there, after reading that i reckon we will most likely find an empty universe, empty of inteligent and technological civilizations that is.

  54. Al Pha
    Coat

    They're already here and taking over.

    Boris Johnson.

    Mine's the Cocoon with the zip up the back. Rectum? They d*mn near.....

  55. Brad
    Boffin

    So...

    These science bozos just out of nowhere proclaim aliens exist with no evidence or thoughts as to why? Was it the space travel that made them bonkers or those new-car gasses coming out of Kibo?

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He also cautioned ...

    The Blessed Dr Sagan was always of the belief (as I am) that life elsewhere in the universe must exist.

    HOWEVER he also said that such life would be incomprehensibly unlike us physically and biologically and would almost certainly NOT have the same moral or ethical standards as ourselves. A view I also share.

    The truth is likely that they would think nothing of us and the concept of mercy may well be totally alien to them.

    He finished up by cautioning us against drawing too much attention to ourselves until we know a little more about our cosmic neighbours.

  57. amanfromMars Silver badge

    The Inscrutable Orient.

    "It's there in open view - Japan cannot undertake preemptive aggression to the safety of its ruling elite. It also cannot say it would like to join the big boys and be able to do so." .... By Luther Blissett Posted Monday 12th May 2008 14:01 GMT

    Sounds like they would really need a Proxy Champion to Conquer all for Geisha Favours then, Luther. In Order to Bask in the Glow of Enlightened Reflection.

  58. J
    Alien

    Re: This has been happening since the Apollo missions

    "ever since the early Apollo missions, and according to the astronauts that fly on it, the shuttle is routinely observed by "other craft"."

    Pictures or it didn't happen.

    Or do you really believe the "guvmints" are able to keep such a secret for decades? With thousands of people involved? Yeah, right. Hell, they can't keep their databases safe...

    @Graham Dawson

    "God doesn't anal probe you"

    Its representatives on Earth on the other hand...

  59. ET
    Stop

    We are the aliens aren't we?

    They are just nShludzoiks from the planet Aaaaaaaaaaaat.

  60. Sean Nevin

    To quote a great writer...

    "Only Two possibilities exist: Either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying."

    - Arthur C. Clarke

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    eh?

    The proposition that a society who survives technology without nuking each other to death and develops to the point of interstellar travel actually NEEDING anything from Earth is utterly ridiculous. Further, if WW II taught the UK anything, it's that war technology hurts (calvary vs. artillery = not a good idea, go study history if you don't know what I'm referring to). So not only are we venturing to be so delusional (arrogant?) as to believe such an advanced species would actually need or want something we have, but then to go on to believe it would be possible to defend ourselves from them should they attempt to take it by force (which is another silly presumption its self).

    Sure, this makes for awesome moves with lots of low-tech fossil fuel-based aircraft defeating inertia-defying technology space craft (e.g., Independence Day), but the most important part of imagination is knowing when to apply reality to it. Perhaps this cute little obsession we humans seem to have with discussion, stories, movies, etc. about defending our homeland from an extra-terrestrial alien has a little more to do with our own xenophobia and expectations that others we don't know will be have like we ourselves do. In Wikipedia, they call this "assuming bad faith."

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Of course there is life out there.

    Sigh,

    “Space shuttle astronauts, recently returned from a visit to the International Space Station, have told reporters in Japan they believe that extraterrestrial life exists”

    Yep, I think they are right. We observe that life on our planet is amazingly diverse, filling niches that we would never suspect. Deep-sea volcanic vents were discovered quite recently with a plethora of life that does not rely on the sun to exist.

    We are starting to discover more and more and more solar systems with planets, admittedly those planets we can ‘see’ have a higher mass than Earth because we use the ‘wobble’ of the star or the transit of the planet across the star to ‘see’ them.

    However, the evidence is mounting that planet formation is not that unusual around a star. This increases the likelihood that planets will form in the ‘sweet spot’ zone of a star. The planet’s distance means that water is in liquid form, not boiling off or freezing solid. Thus being more likely to harbour life.

    I saw nothing quoted by the astronauts that suggested they were talking about INTELLIGENT life, capable of building spaceships. Sure, we see intelligence in other species on Earth, primates and birds using simple tools and alike, but there intelligence seems to evolve to the point where it’s enough, no more. We can’t find any evidence of other species before us starting to develop a level of intelligence like our own. Mind you, that in itself may not be proof because if they started to evolve around the same time we did, you can bet we wiped them out.

    We on the other hand, do have an awareness of the world and the universe around us. Even if throughout known history, the majority of us seem to want to attribute that knowledge to some kind of deity rather than science. After all, (to quote Douglas Adams) being told “You are here” is not as good as being told “you will see everyone you love after you die” when it comes to keeping power over the masses. It’s easer than educating them and risking them upsetting the status quo.

    So, do intelligent extraterrestrials exist? Good chance of yes, though they could be very rare. Are they near enough to us to visit? No, while I’d love to believe, there is absolutely no proof whatsoever that aliens are visiting us. I refuse to believe that any extraterrestrial race would cross interstellar distances or dimensions and do nothing more than insert anal/vaginal probes, butcher cattle or make stupid designs in crops. That’s our imaginations getting the better of us.

  63. Kobus Botes
    Alien

    @Dan Price

    Chuck Norris??? BAH!!! - we have VERNON KOEKEMOER!

    http://www.thetimes.co.za/News/Article.aspx?id=751627 or http://ramboguy.co.za/

    Ps. Actually - the aliens are coming to pay homage to Vernon Koekemoer.

  64. Jon Tocker

    Life is everywhere

    Life is so persistent that it is most likely to exist outside our solar system (and pretty bloody likely it exists in some form on/in other bodies in our solar system) but, as others have rightly pointed out, in order for ther to be an "invasion" they would have to be more technologically advanced than us just to get here (no guarantee of that at all), close enough to get here and still need something that we have that, despite having the ability to cross vast interstellar distances, they cannot produce themselves or can't get by stripping a few conveniently empty planets nearer home.

    And even if they did, by some strange series of coincidences, possess the technology, live close enough and want what we have, what the fuck are we going to do about it?

    Any incoming aliens would obviously hold the "High Ground" - all our resources are clustered around this planet - Geosynch orbit at the best - and even if we had a suitably beweaponned base on the moon, the aliens are "higher" still. Most our spy sats, and any *cough* /theoretical/ spaceborne weapons, are pointed inward and so are no fucking use against a bunch of aliens that can clean out a sizeable chunk of our asteroid belt on their way in from another solar system and drop said rocks on our communications, surveillance and weapons networks (they could take out a moon base on the way past) before turning their attention to raining town-sized boulders on our ground emplacements. They could do this from Mars' orbit and there's not a thing we could do about it given the best China and the USA have managed is to knock out a couple of LEO objects.

    In interplanetary battle, who holds the high ground wins. Our own gravity is our enemy and their ally.

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    insterstellar travel is for all practical purposes impossible.

    there is a good chance we won't even send manned missions to our nearest

    planetary neighbours let alone the nearest stellar systems,

    Of which the odds of not being deserted are astronomical.

    nothing to see here time to move on.

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Alien

    Phorm

    They are the advance wave of our alien overlords.

    I salute their green scaly asses!

  67. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Carl Sagan

    While he was a brilliant man and a talented communicator, assuming that any ETs would have a *vastly* different ethic to the "human ideal" (of peace and co-existence) isn't a given at all. Game theory models tend to suggest that cooperation is often the best way to optimise your survival chances, which could well lead to a peaceful attitude.

    Of course they *could* have clawed their way into space by standing on the faces of those giants who'd gone before: the only thing we can be certain of is that we don't know.

    Though we can be fairly sure that any spacegoing civilisation anywhere near realised the potential disaster of self-replicating robot probes, since there is matter left which is *not* self-replicating robot probes.

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @call first

    I think you were called by the automated Egg card fraud warning system.

  69. Stuart Halliday
    Alien

    Major Tom

    As David Bowie's song says "Everyone wants to know who's shirt you wear".

    Just because you go into Space you're opinion is suddenly worth something...

    No reporter thinks to ask the engineer who made the seat the astronaut sat on or the IT guy who designed the systems that keeps him alive.

    :-)

  70. JM
    Stop

    Many astronauts are qualified to comment on this topic

    Many of them hold advanced degrees in various scientific and engineering disciplines. The rest are military pilots on detachment to NASA. You can't be an astronaut without being one or the other (unless you count the short-lived "teacher in space" program in the '80s or billionaire "space tourists"). I think soliciting the opinion of an astronaut on this topic is not as unusual as some of you might think. The way in which these comments are reported, though, sometimes leaves a lot to be desired. It's unfortunate that SETI is sometimes associated with ghosties and ghoulies and things that go bump in the night, thanks to the paranoid crazies that scream conspiracy at every weather balloon and unidentified aerial light ( the "U" in UFO seems to have gotten mislaid somewhere along the way). Can't explain it, it must be aliens. It demands rigorous, skeptical analysis of the evidence, and to quote Carl Sagan again "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence". That's not to say that we can't speculate, but we must define carefully the line between speculation and belief (in the religious sense). Somewhat like creationists saying that if science can't explain something, it must be god.....fuzzy thinking and false logic to support pre-determined conclusions.

    Reminds me of a joke:Have you heard the one about the dyslexic insomniac agnostic? He was awake all night wondering if there was a dog......

  71. Alex Cooksey
    Alien

    Time

    The opportunity to meet (or be blasted by) exciting new aliens carries not just a space dimension but also a considerable time factor. I suspect that as we haul ourselves out of the gravity well and begin space exploration properly we may uncover long buried remains of civilisation - if it makes any sense to us and if we can be bothered with a dust strewn rock for long enough to investigate.

    In turn we will leave behind surprisingly vague clues for civilisations to come after us. What would a race who don't hear and never felt the urge to develop optical media make of a Led Zepplin CD - remastered or otherwise?

    Given the rates of change in human innovation over the last 100 years and the last millennium, if we are lucky/unlucky enough to have neighbours sufficiently close in time and space to have any impact on us whatsoever, for there to be an even remotely interesting struggle, we'd need to be on an effective technological par. Otherwise it'd be a bit like like a modern day Para regiment taking on a Cavalry brigade - abrupt and soggy.

    Are 'they' out there? They probably are somewhere, and they almost certainly will be or were. For it to be a relevant question for the next 10 generations (to be relatively topical) is an unreasonably remote chance.

    just my 2p...

  72. Jesse
    Thumb Down

    @ JM

    The problem is that asking any individual, no matter how brilliant, their thoughts on a subject because they have traveled relatively 'nowhere' in comparison to the vast universe is a lot like a dog and pony show.

    Why not simply ask them rhetorically "So, you went several thousand feet from earth's crust. We should spend more money so you and others can go further, no?"

  73. JM

    @Jesse

    How far they have traveled or how "brilliant" they are is irrelevant to the question of whether there's ETI. What is relevant is that astronauts are scientifically literate. This is a scientific question, but as I mentioned previously is generally viewed in quasi-religious terms with a simple binary "do you believe" being enough to put you in one box or the other.

  74. combatwombat
    Linux

    New Open Sauce project

    Time for a new open sauce project: STI.

    You figure it out.

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