Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A is for Alien

My A to Z Theme: The Wonders and Oddities of our Universe
A Is For Aliens
Quick: What is your image of what an alien would look like the very first time you see one? Green. Slender. Big bulging eyes. Bald. Really long fingers. We come in peace. E.T. Close Encounters of the Third Kind? A.L.F.?
This is what a lot of people would say. Or you might be inclined to picture a hideous monster from your worst nightmares. Predator. Alien. War of the Worlds. The Blob. Killer Klowns from Outer Space.
But Realistically: If we ever did encounter an alien life form, it most likely would not be made of flesh and blood. Or whatever extraterrestrial creatures are made of. If they do indeed exist.
Rather, E.T. would probably be a machine. An advanced self replicating robotic space probe, one of possibly thousands or millions, sent to and fro across the universe in search of intelligent life. If found, the machine would communicate back to the mother ship, and then maybe E.T. would visit us. This would be the most likely first encounter with an alien life form.
In Theory: A self-replicating spacecraft could be sent to a neighbouring star-system, where it would seek out raw materials (extracted from asteroids, moons, gas giants, etc.) to create replicas of itself. These replicas would then be sent out to other star systems. The original "parent" probe could then pursue its primary purpose within the star system. This mission varies widely depending on the variant of self-replicating starship proposed. Reference.
If we as the human species were to search out and investigate planets outside our solar system, we would do so with such machines. Trivia
Question: Remember the TV show ALF? The name is an acronym for A.L.F. What is it?