How a NASA mistake might have saved us from alien invasion
Alarming news from deep space, where a NASA error temporarily severed communications with Voyager 2. Since its 1977 launch, the probe has been speeding away from Earth at nine miles per second.
Currently, it is 12.3 billion miles from the Sun, devoid of its particles and magnetic fields. Even in the interstellar void, human incompetence is evidently still a danger. You ponder what we are gaining from these useless extraterrestrial displays.
Stephen Hawking feared that we were making a grave error by announcing our existence to everyone in this manner, as we would appear to extraterrestrial intelligences no more advanced than “bacteria” do to us.
An alien spacecraft encountering a Voyager will find a junk-shop assemblage that could have been assembled on Blue Peter rather than alarming evidence of a nascent cosmic civilisation.
A more frightening proposition lurks in Cixin Liu’s outstanding and bestselling science-fiction trilogy The Three-Body Problem.
The Fermi Paradox, which asks why, if aliens are so intelligent, we haven’t seen them yet, has long confused extraterrestrial hunters.
Cixin proposes a solution, the “dark forest theory,” which David Brin first proposed in 1983. This implies that any advanced culture will ultimately pose a threat, hence a more advanced civilisation will eliminate it as soon as feasible.
In this universe, the only cultures that survived were those who kept quiet. The creators of Game of Thrones are adapting the books. Even more people will be aware of the novels’ sinister premise: that if we don’t stop messing around in space, something far worse than winter will follow.
Perhaps the best we can hope for is that any unknown forces lurking out there are analyzing radio broadcasts from the beginning of time till today. Woodrow Wilson and John F. Kennedy would give way to Donald Trump, Churchill and Atlee to Boris Johnson. A culture that walked on the Moon and had supersonic airliners is now arguing online over whether Barbie is a feminist and which toilet paper to use.
These observers of our skies would conclude that, rather than progressing toward our own galaxy-ruling technology, we are regressing.
Who would bother killing a society that is perfectly capable of destroying itself? We thought our creativity would save us, but our stupidity might be more valuable.