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"WHAT IF ... We Got An SOS From Outer Solar System?" Topic

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Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP27 Mar 2018 2:42 p.m. PST

Say, from somewhere between the Asteroid Belt and Pluto …

Would the main powers* of our modern world get into a sudden space race and perhaps war to be the first to get to "rescue" that craft and get their hands on that Alien technology?

Would they go so far as to go public with the signal, just to get their own citizens to put pressure on any reluctant politicians using social media and other ways, claiming the need for "compassion"?

Inquiring minds want to know? :)

* Russia, Communist China, the US, "private companies", perhaps others too.

Garand27 Mar 2018 2:56 p.m. PST

My first question would be: how would we know its an actual SOS to begin with? Any contact we would have from an ET intelligence might be completely indecipherable. More than likely a signal would be detected & then either devices like the Hubble or other instruments would be used to detect the object, or probes built to examine it. I think likely the probes project would spur a space-race to be the first to examine the object, but after that a recovery mission would probably have to be multi-national, depending on the logistics of whatever the object is.


Redblack27 Mar 2018 2:57 p.m. PST

Looks like the old trick of tieing out a goat to atrract a tiger If they got that far there is very little we could do to help

Oberlindes Sol LIC27 Mar 2018 3:33 p.m. PST

It's possible that the aliens have been monitoring our transmissions and would send them back to use to get our attention:

SETI engineer: It's definitely a signal. It's not a bounced back radio wave. The content was created here, but it's being sent back to us, because it was last broadcast on Earth many years ago, and the object is only a few light-days away.

Government investigator: What is the content?

SETI engineer: Let me play it for you.

[ plays]

rvandusen Supporting Member of TMP27 Mar 2018 4:13 p.m. PST

It's from Iscandar!

YouTube link

Jim Selzer Supporting Member of TMP27 Mar 2018 4:21 p.m. PST

1st we would poop our pants then the race is on

Daricles27 Mar 2018 5:03 p.m. PST

Well, there isn't enough information to really say what the response would be. Who detected the signal and how was it detected? What is the nature of the signal? What is the likelihood that others will detect the signal? The type of response would heavily depend on the answers to those questions.

Assuming that you mean a signal was detected that those who detected reason that it is likely a distress signal and not literally an SOS signal, why do they believe it is a distress signal? I would have to assume the signal to be Omni-directional, otherwise I wouldn't think it likely to be a distress signal. A directed signal would seem more likely to be some other type of communication.

I'm guessing that we would attempt to destroy the source as quickly as possible. Whatever they are saying to whoever is listening probably won't end well for human civilization.

Extrabio1947 Supporting Member of TMP27 Mar 2018 5:36 p.m. PST

Given our existing level of technology, it took 9.5 years for Voyager to reach Pluto. A manned spacecraft would take much longer. A lot can happen in the interim, but my bet would be a craft from the alien civilization would hear the SOS and beat us (the Earth) to it.

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP27 Mar 2018 5:39 p.m. PST


Ok, how about this …

The signal is picked all around the world by the most sensitive government radio antennae.

World renowned linguists translate it for their respective governments and, though much of it is left undeciphered (probably just Alien screams for help), and they don't all agree on the exact nuances of the parts they have been able to translate, the important point is that it's not from Earth and that the attempt at communicating with us is intentional.

Also it is not moving any closer, it's coming from a part of our solar system we have never heard a peep from and that we believe would be incapable of supporting any life.

AND … let's also assume they are able to transmit over equations that would allow our human governments to multiply our engine output a hundredfold.


TMPWargamerabbit27 Mar 2018 6:06 p.m. PST

Call AAA if they are a member.

Alien Assistance Agency for short.

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP27 Mar 2018 6:36 p.m. PST

LOL. Maybe that's who they think they're calling!

Or maybe they let their membership lapse and have to call around themselves for someone else to come out?


SBminisguy27 Mar 2018 6:55 p.m. PST

We did…we had nothing to go check it out with…

TGerritsen Supporting Member of TMP27 Mar 2018 7:37 p.m. PST

What if it's a Space Hulk that popped out of the Warp?

mjkerner Supporting Member of TMP27 Mar 2018 8:08 p.m. PST

"Send more Chuck Berry!"

Zephyr127 Mar 2018 8:31 p.m. PST

Weyland-Yutani is offering to send a ship to investigate. We can trust them…


Personal logo Ironwolf Supporting Member of TMP27 Mar 2018 10:47 p.m. PST

I'd say if we received a signal and was able to determine it was an SOS message from some intelligent race. Like the original post explained. Based on our known technology that is made public. By the time we built something able to rescue them. Then it flew there to rescue them. They'd either already be dead or their own race would already have rescued them.

A bigger question would be, what if an alien ship crashed on the moon and sent out an SOS signal that we were able to determine was real. How long would it take the nations of earth to build something that could land on the moon and return?? We've done it in the past, but its not like we have ships sitting around in case we need to go?? Now sending something with supplies, I bet we could do that with in a month. But then the question becomes, could they even use the supplies we sent???

But according to Dr. Kulakov, NASA did receive an SOS signal from another galaxy. Supposedly it took several years to figure it out. Let alone how long it took for the signal to even reach us from that distance. So clearly no chance we could help them. YouTube link

TMPWargamerabbit27 Mar 2018 10:48 p.m. PST

Thinking about the call itself. Can my cell phone make the call if using Verizon? Or must I use ATT…… Alien Telephone and Telegraph… "we still string wires across the universe". Fiber optic of course to save weight.

Personal logo Wolfshanza Supporting Member of TMP27 Mar 2018 11:04 p.m. PST

So the message is " How to serve man" :o

Personal logo Patrick R Supporting Member of TMP28 Mar 2018 3:19 a.m. PST

Sounds too much like a sci fi scenario, and I'd like to meet the politician who managed to get a budget for "secret highly sensitive government antenna listening to space just in case we can hear aliens"

The likely scenario is that somebody at NASA or any of the hundreds of space telescopes probing the sky gets a signal. Next the info is spread to others asking them to tune in and check if they are not picking up a satelite or a crazy random radio burst.

If it's going to be an SOS message it's going to be something REALLY obvious so it's going to be in a specific frequency and the message is probably going to be coded, like our SOS, probably some kind of repetitive code that should not easily be mistaken for a natural radio source.

Soon the news is picked up by the media, specialists outlets first, so Facebook/Reddit/Twitter are already abuzz before the first politician has finished checking their Swiss bank account, got to say goodbye to the mistress or finished their first breakfast with an important lobbyist, if they aren't still in bed, heavily hung over from last night's wild party.

By now there's a ton of speculation going round and the talking heads like deGrasse-Tyson and Kaku are being prodded for a response on page 9 equivalent of modern news.

It may take a day or two to get confirmation that it's not a satelite and that it's not extra solar either.

With a bit of luck it gets the evening news if it's a slow day and allows some news anchors bring out their smug face and understated sarcastic tone to highlight that the overpaid morons at NASA have once again found some kind of weird signal, add a stupid quip about aliens visiting, superior smug smile and cut …

By now the scientific community is realizing this Bleeped text is real, it's a consistent signal and they triangulate it it somewhere in the Oort cloud. None of our space probes is anywhere near enough to be of any use and the launch of the James Webb space telescope is still almost two years from now.

A number of high powered telescopes notice an object roughly in the spot where the signal comes from and estimate it's pretty big, nearly 40km long.

One night a Radio amateur in New Zealand who has tuned in to the signal, Tweets that the radio feed was interrupted and he can hear something really weird. Within half an hour more reports of a possible "spoken message" hit the global superhighways.

It's frontpage news the next day. The message is interrupted several times from what appears to be a spoken message, and it sounds pretty weird, like polyphonic singing with different tones and pitches occurring simultaneously.

Lots of early speculation, anybody who is in the business of sound recording and analysis is being summoned to the nearest studio for an opinion, and we also see the first groups of people who can produce a list a mile long of "strange facts that support the conclusion it's yet another government false flag"

A few hours later we get one more message and after that, nothing but silence.

Linguists are baffled, they have no common ground, all they can do is carefully plot the song and try to identify recurring components and maybe harmonies and other stuff that might allow them to at least make a wild guess as to the possible structure of the alien language. There is enough variation in pitch and tone to establish this is either a really elaborate hoax or this might actually be an actual living being and not some digital trickery.

The news fades from the headlines because a major star is upset she's not frontpage news and decides to plant a full crotch shot/wardrobe malfunction so the entire planet can obsess about her again.

Meanwhile NASA people have a meeting and they are figuring out that Voyager I is still 300 years away from reaching the Oort Cloud and probably a thousand years from reaching the same orbit as the object, but it's almost on the exact opposite end a distance that would take tens of thousands of years to reach.

China is the first nation to react and propose to send a probe. They hope they can send one by the end of the year. It's mainly propaganda as they don't even have a plan and wait for the rest of the planet to bite.

A few highly vocal people start a ruckuss about it being unthinkable that the Chinese are about to launch a probe and NASA is doing nothing, what are they paying them a quarter of the US national budget for then ???

Political storm in a teacup. Rectification that NASA's budget is in fact less than 1% and one of the minor items on the US budget list. Accusations of cover ups, conspiracies etc …

By now the Russians claim they are working with the Chinese to launch their probe. Politicians make a lot of noise, but when it comes to freeing up a budget nobody moves, the message from Washington is "Dear NASA eggheads, come up with anything, scrap something else if you need to, but we ain't gonna pay for this, we got plenty of other barrels to pork. So deliver or die."

Private funded space jumps to the rescue, Bezos, Branson, Musk and others propose to fast-track their next gen engines and figure they can get a probe going within a year or three and with new engines they can slingshot a probe over to the object in a paltry 100-odd years.

By now the buzz is over, 95% of the planet doesn't care anymore and the novelty of the space signal has worn away. About six months after the signal started, it abruptly ends, no more messages, nothing but silence.

Linguists have a detailed study of the message, but without any frame of reference they can only guess. They do see a definite structure, repetition and the use of melodies that could be correlated with language and intelligent thought etc. The most likely conclusion is that it's a last dying message and that whatever happened to the probe the last occupants are dead by now.

The Chinese are working on a probe, but it's not a huge priority and the Russians are only giving token support, satisfied their little propaganda trick upset the West just enough to erode a little more political support from their own population.

Nasa is working with the private space companies to ready a probe. Luckily they can do most of the job with 90% off the shelf tech so they can fast-track this. Opinion pieces in the Wall Street Journal question the sanity of the people involved, their shares drop a bit in value because of this.

Their probe using the latest tech might be able to go 175,000 mph at maximum velocity cutting down the travel time to the object to a mere 700-odd years.

Long term ?

We may get better tech to observe the object within the next 50 years, it's very likely that any probe we send today will be overtaken by something we launch within the next century thanks to technological advances, but it would still take at least decades before any probe or spaceship reaches the object.

In the end it would incredibly tantalizing for those who want to know what it is and get to it, but the reality is that even an object in our own solar system may take centuries to reach at current tech levels. Even if you get some political support, nobody is going to fund a yearly NASA budget equivalent to the moonshot for the next 50 years to develop tech just to go visit a dead alien spaceship that might be a huge hoax or a cosmic level mistake.

Even if we put it in the Kuiper Belt or near to Pluto it's still a 20-year project, and at least a full decade before the probe even reaches it in any case. Even if we do launch a concerted global effort and use the latest tech I don't see it being less than 3-4 years to get there.

And then there is another tiny problem, a space ship that has traveled to our solar system with a crew on board is going to need a few basic things to make it to our Oort Cloud.

1) It's going to need to accelerate for quite a while until it has reached an acceptable velocity, say 10% of light speed (which is so many times faster than the probe in our example, it's utterly ridiculous, and still a horribly slow way to travel through space)

2) Acceleration is the easy bit, it's decelerating once you get there, so it probably has to reserve a huge part of its mass to carry enough fuel to stop. It's likely that such a ship would carry some kind of nuclear fuel to fuel its engines, which has some implications.

3) A ship traveling at 10% of light speed is going through the vaccum of space, but this is not a perfect one, there are still particles in the way, as the ship travels it will hit atoms and molecules with enough regularity that it will need some kind of shield that will absorb these impacts. It probably will be white hot by the time it reaches us and could be detected if we know where to look.

4) The hot shield is nothing but a blinker compared to the spectacle in the sky that is that a starship firing its nuclear engines to stop. We'd notice a rather weird comet in the sky and quickly figure out it's man-made even if it tries a "stealthy" approach.

5) Interstellar ships could be bad news, as there is no such thing as an unarmed starship at this scale. It would not be unthinkable that a starship with potentially hostile intentions would be similar to an AC130 gunship, except that the guns shoot nuclear weapons rather than bullets and shells. They could safely nuke us from orbit like you water the plants …

6) If they do want to destroy us, they probably won't send one ship, but enough of them to deal with us even if we have tech they didn't anticipate or come up with some radical Sci-Fi solution. Also it's unlikely they will send anything but the most advanced troops to deal with any humans that might survive and even if it's just a naked alien with a pointy stick, the odds would be in their favour.

7) Anybody who really wants to annihilate us would simply point a bunch of really massive objects at our planet and accelerate them to as close to light speed as possible and let physics do the rest.

8) Once we get a probe to the ship we're going to establish "Yep, it's alien." So the probe will probably need to have a bunch of robots that would at least be able to scan every square micron of the ship and possibly even carry a bunch of tools that we would expect would be able to get us inside or at least take some pieces with use for further study.

9) It might be that once we do get a probe or even people for a personal encounter, the ship is sealed shut to protect it during travel and a classic blowtorch will not do. Worst case scenario is that we do find an alien spaceship, but it takes decades to figure out a way to get inside.

10) Safe estimate, given 100-200 years we will be able to put a human hand on the outer hull. So if we tally up the most optimistic estimate and closer object proximity we might take fifty years from first contact to the first alien tech in the Apple showroom. Worst case scenario ? 3018 and later … If we're still around, we might think of their ship like we think of a galleon now.

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP28 Mar 2018 4:30 a.m. PST

Patrick, that is thousands of times better than my bit. So WAY better!

Ironwolf: "A bigger question would be, what if an alien ship crashed on the moon and sent out an SOS signal that we were able to determine was real. How long would it take the nations of earth to build something that could land on the moon and return?? We've done it in the past, but its not like we have ships sitting around in case we need to go?? Now sending something with supplies, I bet we could do that with in a month. But then the question becomes, could they even use the supplies we sent???"

An alien ship crashes on THE MOON? Man, that would really put everyone on panic mode, specially if it was able to sneak up on us undetected. But I kinda like that scenario! It would make the alien ship accessible in less time, which means that some of the aliens might be alive when we get there, assuming their problem isn't one of life support or supplies.

PS. Who knows? Maybe Lil Kim in North Korea will speed things up for all the others, if he says he's going to nuke the Moon or some such ridiculous thing. :)




Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP28 Mar 2018 7:27 a.m. PST

Good grief. The answers are rather simple here.

1.) Any alien race capable of reaching Earth have been studying our radio and microwave output for quite some time. They will have most likely interpreted our most commonly used languages to a reasonable degree of being able to transmit basic concepts (like "HELP US!"), and even more complex concepts like math and even binary transmission of images (fax technology). So the message would most likely be in English, followed by Russian, as these are the only two technological cultures capable of actually sending any sort of rescue ship, whether manned or unmanned. It won't be in Chinese; even an alien can tell their stuff is crap and hyperbole.

2.) The message will contain at the most basic level a common human request for aid (indeed, it might literally be "SOS"), plus mathematical coordinates to the distressed craft. They would also, if possible, append what they were in need of, assuming it is something we can provide.

3.) The message will be sent in a manner most likely to be detected, if at all possible, by current human tech. No need for anything "super secret." Radio, microwave, maybe lasers if they're prevented from the former two.

4.) It will be widely disseminated on Earth. Some will be excited, some will be terrified. But I think compassion, along with caution, will be the general response, as will the desire to see what technology the aliens possess. After all, they can apparently perform (and survive) interstellar travel!

5.) We actually can produce the tech to reach them, and in a relatively short time, It's called an Orion Nuclear Pulse rocket, and the plans are in the Pentagon's files since the 1950s. (What, have none of you read Footfall?) That's all 50s-60s' tech, and pretty hardy stuff. Just follow the instructions for the pusher plate, shock absorbers, and the bomblet release system, as well as the micro-bombs, then mount modern capsule tech on top of it, launch the components into escape velocity with the new Falcon Heavy, light it off and putt-putt-putt to the Oort Cloud. Travel time, with deceleration, a few months, or a couple of years at the most. (Haven't done the calcs for the Oort Cloud (!), but IIRC the Orion could reach Saturn's orbit in about a month and a half… So I extrapolated from that)

It can all be done. The signal provides the motivation.

As to why they contact us, well, we're here, we're near, and the distress call doesn't take a hundred years to reach us.

Legion 428 Mar 2018 8:30 a.m. PST

If there was an SOS from Space or any message from "Out There" … the general population would never hear of it. As far as we know, it may have already happen ? huh?

Patrick with that long insightful post … You know somethin' you ain't tell'n us ?

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP28 Mar 2018 8:46 a.m. PST

Legion4: "Patrick with that long insightful post … You know somethin' you ain't tell'n us ?"

Judging by this thread alone, I'd say there must be quite a few who do. :)


Legbiter Supporting Member of TMP28 Mar 2018 2:03 p.m. PST

It is of Old Repute that this already happened, once, and that's why there's an Asteroid belt – because our ancestors responded in the only possible way, by unleashing absolutely every weapon of mass destruction at the source of the transmission right away! Of course, that meant winding civilisation back to the stone age, and accepting recurrent flu epidemics, but the alternative was *MUCH* worse!

Lion in the Stars28 Mar 2018 3:57 p.m. PST

The outer solar system is waaaaaay out there.

slow-boat, voyager style is 10 years.

With a just-barely-possible VASMIR hot-rod ion drive (that can get you from Earth to Mars in 40 days), it's something like 10 months.

If they can survive whatever accident has left them stuck in the middle of nowhere for the several years we'd need to build the engines, test them to man-rated safety, and then drive out there, I'd expect that their own nation had come and got them.

Legion 428 Mar 2018 4:00 p.m. PST

Legion4: "Patrick with that long insightful post … You know somethin' you ain't tell'n us ?"
Judging by this thread alone, I'd say there must be quite a few who do. :)
Yes … but some of it is "Classified" … huh?

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP28 Mar 2018 4:55 p.m. PST

OK, assuming they are on our MOON …

WHAT IF, once our rescue astronaut crew arrives, we discover that they are long lost kin to one of the most successful species right here on Earth? :)

TMP link

Would we still risk bringing them down to Earth, just to get our hands on their highly advanced tech?


Jim Selzer Supporting Member of TMP28 Mar 2018 7:24 p.m. PST

come on everyone knows the moon IS AN ALIEN SPACECRAFT

Personal logo Patrick R Supporting Member of TMP29 Mar 2018 2:48 a.m. PST

A Nuclear-powered ship is not exactly 1950's tech, it's infinitely easier to come up with a concept than implement it.

You will need incredible amounts of Thermal protection to shield yourself from the explosions. This is physically not a problem since we know materials with the right kind of properties, the problem is one of cost/resources/technology and making sure such a shield can withstand a string of explosions for several decades without failing. Implementing such an engine would take decades. Radiation protection is also not an issue as you'd use mainly hydrogen as fuel and the fuel tanks would form an excellent radiation shield.

A safer bet for a fast craft would be a solar sail or even lasers which can give ships a significant boost and do not require massive armoured shields, a high enough reflective ratio is enough. The only hurdle would be that our current mirror tech is not that efficient.

And then there are different types of ion and plasma drives. Right now the biggest problem is that the latest plasma engines give only a bit more power than current engines, but the while most spacecraft engines can be lifted by a single person, plasma drives require a crane to be moved. So quite a bit of work remains to be done in that area.

Fast-tracking is not always an option, implementing it is often constrained by many factors, throwing extra money at it doesn't always solve problems like having to develop new materials to certain specs and mass production isn't always possible.

As for the UFO emitting a signal the vagaries of interstellar travel do dictate that ships would be of a certain kind and type.

First of all I tend to discard FTL travel, while it is not mathematically impossible it heavily borders on handwaving and abusing the laws of physics rather than use them. I know that for some people FTL travel is only a matter of time, but it would really take us to the outer edge of science when far more practical applications do exist. They are inconvenient, but are several magnitudes easier to achieve and probably better than chasing what is likely to be a mirage.

Bad news for Millennium Falcon and USS Enterprise fans, a craft that size is unlikely to be able to traverse the void of space. You'll have to think big, ships that dwarf many our our current larger SF craft, made up mostly of engines and fuel if only to decelerate when you're near the target. We can also assume that by the time one can build such a ship capable of going about 10% of lightspeed, the problem of our frail, limited human lives probably will have been solved. The more basic solutions such as generation ships or cryogenics are fairly easy to achieve (note that we are nowhere near good cryogenics at this point, the ethical aspects being a major hurdle) Even better would be frozen embryos or even genetic banks and 3D printing. Transhumanism (or transalienism) through genetic and/or cybernetic upgrade or even life extension into immortality (or indefinite lifespan to be more precise) is probably within reach of an interstellar civilisation and possibly even closer to us than we may think.

The downside of interstellar travel is boredom, what do you do with people as you go through decades or even centuries of space travel ? One trick would be uploaded minds, which don't require bodies and through some trickery you can slow down a brain processes so that in subjective time such a brain would experience interstellar travel as little more than a standard car journey for us hairless primates. For those who expect Einstein to jump to the rescue and invoke time dilation, it's less than a fraction of % at lower speeds so you might cut maybe a few months off a century long journey at 10% lightspeed and you need to get into at least 70%+ to get some really visible benefits, but such speeds cause more problems than they are worth as we will see later on.

So the aliens are unlikely to be anything like their original ancestors, unless they have some religious prohibition or certain beliefs that have held them back from upgrading themselves.

If you're going interstellar, you better do it right, such a ship would not only be huge, it would carry all the resources necessary to face all problems along the way. It would not only be a city or even a small country in space, it would probably be a massive factory with full scientific capabilities that could receive updates from the homeworld and improve itself as they went along. Especially long journeys might mean that the ship that left might not look like the ship that arrives and even the occupants might be different due to new technology being implemented.

It might be that such a craft would have a pioneer role, as I mentioned before lasers are a highly promising method of propulsion and a Type II civilisation that can harness 100% of the power of its own sun could probably easily point enough lasers at their ships to give them a staggering amount of propulsion. But even the most focused laser can only get you so far and diminishing returns mean that once you get to a certain range you won't get much acceleration. But a ship already on the way might carry its own laser generators that will be dropped off at regular intervals to create laser highways that can then be upgraded by each passing ship until you have relays of lasers pushing ships across the galaxy.

I've discarded going FTL, but what about going say, 70% of light speed or 99,999%. Space is not a void, even if you have the means to avoid the obvious stuff like stars and planets, at 70% of light speed even individual atoms hit you like nuclear bombs, at 99% of light speed it's like being hit by pure antimatter, going FTL might cause you to hear Einstein's formula shatter into pieces. A Trek ship going warp nine in actual speed would probably erase entire systems in its proximity like a massive hypernova gone rogue comet … Even if your ship can survive this onslaught, the neighbours will be more than a little upset.

Another problem is that the universe will start to drag you down, even expending cosmic levels of power to accelerate your ship means that you are like somebody trying to push a cube the size of a cathedral below the ocean in an attempt to reach mach 1.

And like I said there are easier ways to sidestep the inconvenience of interstellar travel by adapting the crew to the conditions rather than try to push your ship to higher speeds, wasting a ridiculous amount of energy that could be used to propulse a million other ships at more sedate speeds, once your crew is functionally immortal or doesn't experience every excruciating second of the journey, time becomes far less important.

Space travel seems to imply drastic changes to a species, if you are dead set on doing it right and don't have any prohibitions towards altering oneself. So there is risk that whatever might have been alien to us is even more alien due to technological intervention. We might slow down brains to make a journey seem pleasurable, but once you're dealing with a situation, the brain might set to overdrive and a single alien might even outperform all our fastest computer technology combined by a wide margin. It's more than likely they would incorporate every possible advantage to increase their survival let alone get into a conflict. A type II civilization might have a destructive capability that exceeds our nuclear arsenals by a ludicrous margin. The classic alien invasion by numbers in the tens of thousands is a waste of resources. A type II invasion might be done with millions of ships, headed off by millions more drones and intelligent weapon systems. And once they arrive we would barely be able to put up a fight when they start hosing down our planet with weapons that would probably hit every single square foot of the planet with more explosive force than all the weapons we ever made since the introduction of gunpowder. Imagine every square foot of the planet being hit by all the bombs of WWI, WWII, and all the nuclear arsenals combined and then some more …

A smart human and a computer virus is probably not going to save us …

The good news is that aliens that can travel to us are probably not really interested in using us as slaves or food or steal any resource we might think could be precious to them. They probably would go for the good stuff, converting our sun and entire solar system to a Type II civilisation level (the famous Dyson Sphere) and help their spread through the galaxy. The good news is that we haven't seen any signs of Type II civilisations in our galaxy so far. Given that the universe is still young by any standards some have posited we might be in line to become our local Type II civilisation and beyond IF we do it right. The opportunity is there for the grabbing !!!

Legion 429 Mar 2018 7:08 a.m. PST

come on everyone knows the moon IS AN ALIEN SPACECRAFT
AFAIK … that is classified …

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP29 Mar 2018 10:15 a.m. PST

LOL. So the Moon is some sort of dormant Death Star?


TheBeast Supporting Member of TMP29 Mar 2018 10:35 a.m. PST

Given the disheveled surface, I assumed a Black Lectroid dreadnought…

"Don't you have any pride? It's like a damn pig-sty in here."


gamer129 Mar 2018 11:55 a.m. PST

Hum just curious, figured there was a way to send someone a personal message but can't seem to find it. I clicked on the persons name and there info came up but no option to "send message"? Am I missing something?

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP29 Mar 2018 2:16 p.m. PST

You will need incredible amounts of Thermal protection to shield yourself from the explosions.

Might want to read a bit more, there Patrick R. The Orion uses very small nuclear explosions, in the .01 kiloton range, with shaped charges fitted with dense debris, as it's actually the high-speed impact of this propellant mass that imparts velocity to the craft. As the explosions are detonated in space, at a distance from the craft, the heat really isn't an issue. The radiant and thermal energy are easily blocked by a ablative graphite coating on the pusher plate. There's very little "armoring" of any sort needed.

We do know that the coating will work (this was actually tested by coating metal spheres at an atomic blast sight. The spheres were hurled a considerable distance away, but despite being in an atmosphere and therefore subjected to the full thermal effects of the blast, were undamaged and retained their coating!). A chemical-bomblet powered miniature version of the craft was launched as well as a proof-of-concept.

Note that in all of this, I am assuming a rush to production for the OP's scenario.

As for interstellar travel, that's not actually part of the OP's scenario, though it's implied that the aliens must have it in order to arrive in our solar system in the first place. In this case, we therefore assume they have greater technology than our own for this purpose; it's just non-functional (or not safely functional) at the moment, hence the need for rescue. Is it FTL or simply some sort of suspended animation slow boat solution? We wouldn't know, and the question is irrelevant to the discussion, actually.

Lion in the Stars29 Mar 2018 2:17 p.m. PST

@gamer1: You need to be a supporting member of TMP to send anyone but The Editor a personal message.

@CC: no, the Death Star Moon is Mimas, one of Saturn's moons:

Now, as to getting back to the moon.

We could probably manage that in a few years, but I'd still bet on no less than 10 years. Rocketry is pretty much a settled and fully-developed science**, barring throwing an Orion Drive ship up there (keep in mind that the standard size Orion Drive ship is 4000 tons, so getting one into orbit in the first place is a big challenge) we're not going to be able to put much more than an Apollo mission onto the moon anytime soon.

** It was basically a matter of engineering, there was very little new science that needed to happen.

Legion 429 Mar 2018 3:29 p.m. PST

huh? "Fascinating !"

Wolfhag29 Mar 2018 4:07 p.m. PST

If an intelligent race from elsewhere in the universe sent us an SOS it would prove they are not very intelligent. We're the ones that should be sending out an SOS but a really superior intelligent life form would ignore it.


williamb29 Mar 2018 4:49 p.m. PST

Have to be a paying member to send PM's

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP29 Mar 2018 5:47 p.m. PST

the standard size Orion Drive ship is 4000 tons

Keep in mind that that size was for a spacecraft carrying a crew of 40, or a nuclear missile armed battleshi (seriously). The latter design was intended to keep DARPA funding going and impress JFK. Supposedly, instead it freaked him out, encouraging his interest in the effort to outlaw armed craft and nuclear warheads in space. Alas, this last also unintentionally killed the Orion's drive system. Oops.

In any case, a modern day rescue mission Orion need not be anywhere near so immense, though actually the nuclear drive system can easily propel it into escape velocity from an Earth-based launch site. It is its own booster.

Augustus29 Mar 2018 7:59 p.m. PST

This topic is depressing. The fact we don't even have a colony on our nearby Moon is just plain sad. Ignore the technical aspects for the moment, the sheer lack of directive and attention is appalling.

dilettante Supporting Member of TMP29 Mar 2018 8:34 p.m. PST

David Weber's 'Mutineer's Moon'-Our moon is a spaceship that arrived here long ago. Our (actual) moon was destroyed;so the debris could be used to disguise the ship(they had enemies).

Zephyr129 Mar 2018 8:41 p.m. PST

"The Orion uses very small nuclear explosions"

And would generate prodigious radioactive fallout if ground launched. Pass.

andysyk30 Mar 2018 6:14 a.m. PST

If we ever got as far as the moon?

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP30 Mar 2018 7:26 a.m. PST

And would generate prodigious radioactive fallout if ground launched. .

Probably not, actually. The charges are shaped, with the explosive force expanding in an upward cone, not an outward sphere as a typical bomb. The charges are also comparatively small, about 0.01 kiloton (or less, actually; it's the 4,000 ton ship design that uses 0.01 kton bomblets), equivalent to 10 tons of TNT. Fallout is associated with nuclear blasts of 10 kilotons or greater, which can pull massive clouds of radioactive debris, ash and soot into the stratosphere. (Hiroshima was 12-13 ktons, IIRC). An Orion pulse craft would not produce such clouds. If you use a cleared launch site with no light debris sources, there should be little or no fallout, and even then only within a limited range of the site. Health risks would be practically nonexistent, except to those dumb enough to stand next to the launch pad waving protest signs.

Legion 430 Mar 2018 8:04 a.m. PST

If an intelligent race from elsewhere in the universe sent us an SOS it would prove they are not very intelligent. We're the ones that should be sending out an SOS but a really superior intelligent life form would ignore it.
Yeah, that is something like I have thought about all the supposed captured UFOs, i.e Roswell, etc. Rumor was [Bob Lazer] that the US has @ 9 alien spacecraft at Area 51. That had "crashed(?)". If these guys are so hi-tech ? They can't develope a better pilot training program ?!? huh?

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP30 Mar 2018 10:12 p.m. PST

Wolfhag: "If an intelligent race from elsewhere in the universe sent us an SOS it would prove they are not very intelligent"

LOL. Or not too incurably arrogant.

For example, I don't think Columbus had problems asking (even if he demanded it or "conned" them) the Indians for help when the Santa Maria got stuck on a reef. He still admitted he couldn't do it alone.




Daricles30 Mar 2018 10:19 p.m. PST

And the Indians would be better off if they had filled every European full of arrows on sight instead of being neighborly.

Daricles30 Mar 2018 10:25 p.m. PST

Best case scenario for us would be that it was very costly and controversial for the aliens to have come here, they aren't sure what happened to their ship when we destroy it and the aliens decide it's not worth it to come here after all.

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP30 Mar 2018 10:32 p.m. PST

Daricles: "And the Indians would be better off if they had filled every European full of arrows on sight instead of being neighborly."

LOL. Maybe that's really what we did on the Moon on March 17, 2013! :)




Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP31 Mar 2018 6:50 a.m. PST

"And the Indians would have been better off…"

Nope. Wouldn't have changed anything. Europe was so advanced technologically, and advancing far more rapidly than the civilizations in the Americas, that European expansion into the Americas was inevitable. Had the natives attempted the "fill everyone with arrows" approach, Europe would have launched an even larger invasion and slaughter which the Indians would have been powerless to prevent, For an example, look at the Aztecs and the Incas, the two most powerful and advanced cultures in the New World. They couldn't stand up to a comparative handful of Europeans.
The fate of the New World was decided with the invention of the gun, long before either Europe or America knew of each other. At that point, it was already too late for the Indians.
The lesson: Develop technology or be prepared for destruction.

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