An alien invasion of planet Earth is going to happen. And it’s likely we’ll be invaded by aliens within the next 6 years.
Want to know why? It’s all because of Elon Musk.
Elon Musk is one helluva kickass guy. Among other endeavours, he’s set up the companies SolarCity, Tesla Motors, and SpaceX, to achieve his long-term vision of changing the world and protecting humanity. His goals include reducing global warming through sustainable energy production and consumption, and reducing the risk of human extinction by making life multiplanetary, by setting up a human colony on Mars.
Ironically, it’s this drive to prevent human extinction that is going to extinct the pants off us all.
This week, Elon Musk unveiled a spectacular plan to send humans to Mars. At the 67th International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico, in front of a bunch of boffins, he laid out his plan to use the largest rocket ever built to launch a spaceship that can carry 100 people into Earth orbit. The rocket booster will return to Earth and land, whereas the spaceship will continue its onward journey to Mars, arriving there in 80 days.
Elon Musk, source: The Guardian
I wonder if he chose that number of days because he’s been reading a bit too much Jules Verne. Or maybe just remembers the kid’s TV version from the 1980s. Or the crisps.
Now, it’s this mission to Mars stuff that could have some bad dude aliens putting together an alien invasion plan, coming over to open a whole can of whoopass on little old planet Earth.
Let’s back it up a bit.
The observable universe – the stuff that we can ‘see’ using a telescope, probably not the kind your nan bought you for Christmas – is around 90 billion light years across. If you could move at the speed of light, it would take you 90 billion years to cross it.
Back in 1972 we launched a deep-space probe, Pioneer 10, carrying a message for aliens to read, in the form of the Pioneer Plaque. So far Pioneer 10 has travelled about 10 billion miles. 1 light year is about 6 trillion miles, so in all that time Pioneer 10 has travelled 0.0017 of a light year.
If I’ve worked it out correctly, that means Pioneer 10 has so far gotten 0.00000000000000189 of the way across the observable universe.
The Pioneer Plaque, source: ScienceCavern.com
So, stretching my maths a bit further, I reckon it would take Pioneer 10 something like 22,222,222,222,222,222 years to cross the universe. That’s more than 22 quadrillion years.
Yup, that is an actual number. Dang!
…and that’s if the universe wasn’t expanding.
Hang in there with me. We’re coming to that mass extinction alien invasion stuff pretty soon.
Now, the universe contains at least 100 billion galaxies, each galaxy with between 100 billion and 1 trillion stars.
There are likely to be trillions and trillions of habitable planets floating around in all that soup.
But even if they are there, we will never know about them. Anything outside our own galactic neighbourhood is out of our reach. Forever. Taking the example of Pioneer 10, it would take billions and billions of years to get anywhere near them. And we live in an expanding universe, so they are getting further away all the time.
So let’s be sensible. Let’s check out our own galactic back yard for signs of aliens.
Our own common-or-garden galaxy, the Milky Way, is estimated to contain around 400 billion stars, though some estimates have it as high as 500 billion.
Among those 400 or so billion stars, there are around 20 billion sun-like stars, and about 20% of them have an earth-sized planet in the habitable zone. That’s the place that’s not too hot and not too cold, but just right for life to have a chance, Goldilocks.
So, I reckon that’s maybe 4 billion planets, just like good-old Earth, spinning around in our vicinity.
Let’s say life is pretty difficult to make from scratch. I once made a go kart from scratch and that was pretty tricky in itself. I reckon spawning life from a carboniferous mulch is going to be a bit trickier.
So let’s say you have all the right ingredients, the right conditions and 13 million years to work on it – that’s the approximate age of the Milky Way. If life was zapped into being say only 1 time in every 100,000 planets, that’s still 40,000 planets in our vicinity that are teaming with life.
source: Teaching One Ocean
Now the weird bit. Although the Milky Way is 13 billion years old, Earth is only 4 billion years old, so we are tiny amoeba in the big scheme of things. Many civilisations should have had a huge head start on us. Our galaxy should be heaving like a bar in Covent Garden on a sunny Saturday afternoon.
So where are all the aliens?
source: Andy C Watson, ScienceCavern.com
One theory is that there is one super-intelligent crazy predator civilisation out there that grew up and got smart way quicker and way sooner than anything else in our galaxy.
And it keeps it that way by exterminating any intelligent civilization once they get past a certain technological hurdle.
source: Marvel Comics
The deal here is that it’s just not cost-effective to go blasting all the potential competition if that potential competition is happy sucking on its own ass in a swamp until its planet implodes.
If I was the project scheduler to an alien fleet that wanted to kick the ass out of a galaxy, probably the first thing I’d ask is “Is this alien invasion trip necessary, when we’re having so much gosh-darned crazy fun right here?”
I’d be like “Let’s watch for a while, if they blow themselves up, then we’ve saved ourselves an alien invasion journey. If they start to move off their own planet and begin to grow and spread across their solar system like some kinda snot virus, then let’s step on those suckers.”
So, whoever got to be the interplanetary organ grinder first, won. And forever gets to wear a big galactic top hat and dine on interplanetary brown-lipped aberlone meat. End of.
This would explain the lack of extra-terrestrial activity out there.
The probability is highly stacked in favour of intelligent life being out there. Lots of it. So maybe this is how it goes down:
On countless occasions, in thousands of solar systems, some bright sparks culminated their technological prowess in a manned trip to a neighbouring planet. This raised an alien invasion red flag to the super-intelligent crazy predator dudes, who pointed some kinda death ray in that upstart planet’s direction and took out the new guy.
source: Eagle Comics
So when Elon starts talking about heading to Mars by 2022, that gives you six years to fulfil your dreams before those badass big-bonced brainy super aliens come along, get all in our shit and completely alien invasion our faces off.
So, where will you be six years from now? Make sure you don’t throw your life away doing the same old zombie school snooze or nine to five that you’ve always done, just to get squished too soon. That would suck.
So, stay in school, don’t stay in school, form a band, race a motorcycle, start a business, feed the poor, care for the elderly, write poetry, code up a collision avoidance system for drones, lead the way across the uncanny valley. Do whatever lights up your fuse. But make sure you do it. Do not ignore your dreams, because come 2022 you may just be a piece of sorry snot on an alien’s jack boot.
source: Rock of Ages
…OK, there are many more answers to the question “where are all the aliens?” and I’ll cover them in other blog posts, but listening to Elon Musk’s nifty little presentation at the IAC just got my mind monkeys nibbling around, and this little blog fart above is what they spat out. Oh, and a banana skin too. Them mind monkeys spat out a banana skin.