the return of the alien menace next door

July 7, 2009

Exopolitics expert Alfred Webre has a dire warning for his fellow humans about missions surveying the Moon for water ice with kinetic projectiles and spectrometry. Not only do they violate international space law, they’re also bound to affect alien bases on the lunar surface so much, the extraterrestrial powers that be could get pissed off enough to start an interstellar war. Oh great. Just when we already have wars and upheavals along half the globe, now NASA’s lunar bombardments are going to usher in a bloodthirsty horde of aliens that were living on our celestial companion all this time. I wonder what President Obama’s advisers will recommend as our skies swarm with advanced battle craft brimming with multi-petawatt lasers and pure fusion devices that could level our biggest cities in one blast.

LCROSS render by NASA Ames

Pardon me for being a buzzkill but I have to wonder how exactly we could have a qualified expert in exopolitics on our planet and why he’s not already employed by SETI. After all, exopolitics refers to studying the dynamics of social interactions between species that evolved on different worlds and without a confirmed discovery of alien bacteria, much less an actual intelligent species that wants to interact with us, I can’t imagine there are lots of universities offering qualified, accredited training in this discipline. To say it bluntly, Webre is making it up as he goes along, giving us distilled ufology and conspiracy theories because without a scientific frame of reference, that’s all he’s got.

In the past, I tackled the idea that the Moon is home to an advanced alien species as postulated by a Russian documentary on the subject in a long and detailed post. The evidence presented by Webre is right in line with those ideas and ultimately suffers from a lack of evidence as his main source is a ufology site which, as it so happens, uses the Russian newspaper Pravda as a backbone for its claims, the very same newspaper that floated the ideas behind the documentary in question. And even though in Russian, the word “pravda” means “truth,” this story is a case of eager imaginations of restless conspiracy theorists rather than something being kept secret by the U.S. government. Just think about it. The Moon isn’t very far away. If there’s activity anywhere around the lunar surface, anyone with a starter telescope could see it. Obviously there are many more points that have to be addressed for a proper skeptical inquiry and for those, I’ll refer you to the link above.

But back to Webre’s claims about the potential to start an interstellar war with an exploratory mission. If NASA knows all about the supposed alien bases on the lunar surface, why would it send anything to crash into the Moon? This is the same NASA which fled after after enough close calls with flying saucers and the nefarious beings guarding these outposts according to the conspiracy theory. Why would they come back to start a fight with the aliens? And what about the Kaguya impact? Aren’t those aliens already as ticked off as much as one of the Examiner’s columnists and it doesn’t matter what we do now because we’ve already infuriated those extraterrestrial rulers and their generals?

Finally, as the column tries to wade into international law, Webre’s reasoning that bombarding the Moon isn’t only a potential assault on alien territory, it’s also illegal, rests on the Moon Treaty of 1979, a document that’s ratified by only 13 nations, none of which have any space faring capability. The reason why no country with an astronaut ever agreed to it is because the treaty seeks to share any and all benefits from space exploration with the entire world according to UN committee which would decide who gets what. And without signing this treaty, the world’s space faring nations have no obligation to follow it so for them, it’s not an international law. Seems odd that someone with an advanced degree in law doesn’t know how this process works, but maybe international law isn’t Webre’s strong suit.

Look, I know a universe teeming with alien civilizations and awash in political dramas worth of Star Trek is an exponentially more exciting place to inhabit that a world where mundane problems keep over 99.9999% of the population forever grounded in boring jobs. But unfortunately we don’t live in that kind of universe and finding an alien empire is a complex and very risky business. To say otherwise based on a fanciful tale conjured up in a newspaper once used for Soviet propaganda and then quickly imploded into a cheap tabloid is pretty much like taking the Weekly World News as holy writ and dreaming up complex theories from its highlights. Maybe instead of bulking up on self-appointed exopolitics experts, the Examiner should finally get a science column and find a competent science writer or two.

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  • Pierce R. Butler

    … an actual intelligent species that wants to interact with us…

    Ah, but that’s exactly Webre’s point – the entities riding on our main satellite don‘t want to interact, they want to be left alone.

    And be careful what you say about Truth (“Pravda”), as its alumni sometimes go on to greater positions. Consider former editor J. Vissarionovich Djugashvili, now better known as “Uncle” Joe Stalin, who was prone to replying to certain critics by dispatching countercritics carrying blunt instruments…

  • http://burningviolin.com Steven Lloyd Wilson

    Conspiracy theories and alien cover-ups make for great science fiction reading, but lousy world views. Those who espouse that aliens built stone henge and the government is covering up the little green men who have been at war with the little red ones on the surface of the moon for a millennium are not any different than those who claim that the world is 6000 years old. Their claim is not based on evidence, though they welcome any they see, it is based on belief. A person who believes arbitrarily is perfectly willing to discount all evidence as manufactured and all lack of evidence as evidence of cover-up. Whether the object of the belief is linked to a religion or to new age spirituality, government cover-ups or even just that the parakeet is out to kill them, the end result is the same. Everything, regardless of any objective measure, can be twisted to be evidence for the pre-determined conclusion.

  • Greg Fish

    “Those who espouse that aliens built stone henge and the government is covering up the little green men… are not any different than those who claim that the world is 6000 years old.”

    I think I’m going to have to disagree with you there Steven.

    There’s no way our planet can be just 6,000 years old according to the evidence we have, but I’m not aware of any physical law that prevents advanced alien civilizations with interstellar craft from coming to Earth other than logistical problems they could solve with superior technology.

    While you’re absolutely right that both ideas are based primarily on belief, ufologists and ancient astronaut adherents actually do have the tiniest little smidgen of science on their side. They don’t have any proof for their ideas, but those ideas aren’t totally impossible either, scientifically speaking…

  • http://burningviolin.com Steven Lloyd Wilson

    Ah, but I think that the potential validity of a claim should be considered separately from the thought process of exploring that claim. I.e., While you are correct that “UFOs have visited the earth” is at least scientifically plausible whereas “the Earth is 6000 years old” is not, the problem isn’t the plausibility of either claim, it is the way in which adherents support the claim. All of science is based on the testing of hypotheses, it is the method which is important, not the hypothesis itself. Utterly absurd hypotheses will be easily disproven, whereas more plausible ones may take a bit more work. People should be encouraged to have gleefully implausible hypotheses so long as they are willing to test them. In other words, I’m all for a Flat Earth society, so long as they’re willing to actually follow the evidence.

    The refusal to follow the evidence, the refusal to disprove the initial hypotheses regardless of any evidence to the contrary is where the real problem exists. It is an infectious sort of meme that can be found in all trains of human thought. In politics it has been raised to a high art form: Obama is not an American citizen, any birth certificates, hospital records, family photos, are all elaborate ruses. The meme can manifest in any manner of seemingly harmless ways: Singer Abc is awesome, he didn’t really beat his girlfriend, he didn’t really wrap his car around a tree, people are just setting him up. The starting hypothesis can even be damned close to objectively true before flying off the rails.

    The point is that the starting point doesn’t really matter so long as empiricism is rejected in favor of belief.

  • Joe Johnson

    How can you claim the Earth is NOT around 6000 years old? Don’t you know that:
    1. time is relative
    2. the speed of light is actually slowing down
    As a Scientist, you shouldn’t ignore facts to believe the Bible, but neither should
    you ignore the facts that support the Bible. Also consider that we don’t have as much
    information as we will have later. So it may seem utterly ridiculous to imagine there were countless billions of
    stars in the sky, when you could actually count them… yet we NOW know the truth backs up a Biblical claim
    written 3000 years ago… ie.. the stars in the sky number as much as the sand on the sea shore.
    Anyway, the first scientists were not indoctrinated Atheists as they tend to be today, and just as a priest has
    his predisposition on a certain outcome, so does an Atheist. Where we can all agree is in being open and truthful with the facts. Atheists had their time when evolution theory couldn’t be refuted scientifically, but now it is entirely laughable to attempt to claim Nothing created Everything. DNA has a code more complex than a software program, and is very specific in its transfer… mistakes or mutations cause errors, not improvements… EVER! (please don’t pretend that a virus or bacteria changing its characteristics to get around immunities is a mutation, those are its built in survival mechanisms and are the equivalent to building muscle by working out… arnold didn’t mutate huge biceps: Darwin’s mutation theories say a frog getting eaten by birds decides to grow a shell and in 2 million years becomes a turtle, which is B.S.).

  • Alien Artifact

    Did they come to our planet many years in the past? Are they even out there? What wonders does their technology hold? Surely they can live forever.

  • Areanna 51

    What comes around goes around! The aliens did not show us any respect when the probe they sent to find humpback whales ionized our atmoshere!
    I say its better this way. after all, “in space all warriors are cold warriors”…
    We will be watching the early morning skies on Friday. Probe on!

  • Rob

    They’re not bombing the moon – just letting a stage of a spacecraft crash land in a controlled way into a crater to try to make a dent in the surface and find water underneath. Amazing how big media has exaggerated the story into, “Nasa to Bomb the Moon”. However….http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6QNzH4x1rY

  • Thomas

    Why would Aliens be living on our moon? Unless they’re mining the Hg3 for energy generation. Ohhhh, perhaps they’re in the mist of an interstellar war and our Solar System is a stopping point to refuel before heading of to the front lines.

  • Greg Fish

    “How can you claim the Earth is NOT around 6000 years old? Don’t you know that: 1. time is relative, 2. the speed of light is actually slowing down[?]“

    Joe, your comment was quite possibly the most impressive hodgepodge of totally random pseudoscience and technobabble I’ve ever seen. That’s not a compliment by the way…

    But you did manage to inspire an entire post in reply, though I’m warning you that you probably won’t like it…

  • Jordan

    I’m quite perplexed at how I’d like to respond to your post. I could try to explain the errors in your “logic” and expose the massive gaps in your information (which are multitudinous) or I could just insult you offhandedly. I choose the former:

    1. “…1. time is relative 2. the speed of light is actually slowing down…”

    Not sure what that first statement meant to prove, but time dilation is only experienced at speeds approaching the speed of light. Nothing other than light even comes close so you really have no point there. Secondly, although the speed of light is referred to as Constant, it does fluctuate depending on the medium it is passing through, so, yes light does slow down. BUT WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH THE AGE OF THE EARTH IN THE FIRST PLACE?!

    2. “..So it may seem utterly ridiculous to imagine there were countless billions of
    stars in the sky, when you could actually count them…”

    You can count the stars? Maybe in a city. But get outside of the light pollution and you’ll find the bible quote is not that far a stretch of the imagination.

    3. “…but now it is entirely laughable to attempt to claim Nothing created Everything…”

    What’s laughable is attempting to say you have any intimation as to what did create the universe. Science makes no such claim. It explains the initial moment of creation and the result, but makes no arrogant claims beyond that. that is where faith falls short.

    4. “…don’t pretend that a virus or bacteria changing its characteristics to get around immunities is a mutation, those are its built in survival mechanisms…”

    Oh. So an altering of an organisms DNA, whether it’s in birds or bacteria, doesn’t constitute a mutation? Well, thank you for clearing that up!

    5. “…Darwin’s mutation theories say a frog getting eaten by birds decides to grow a shell and in 2 million years becomes a turtle, which is B.S…”

    Besides the fact that Turtles are reptiles and frogs are amphibians, you’re under the mistaken impression that natural selection is an active process. The “frog” has no say in becoming anything. Mutations occur randomly and can be very detrimental (i.e. down syndrome) or can give that individual a fitness advantage(i.e. a hard shell) the reason why it takes so long is because often, multiple mutations have to happen to even make a difference. But mutations take a long time. He doesn’t decide to have a shell, he just happens to live longer if he has protection from his predators.

    My god I’ve spent much longer on this reply than you really deserve as it will probably only make you cling tighter to your safety blanket pseudoscience and hollow faith.

  • Jordan

    Woops, forgot to specify my post was a response to mr. Joe Johnson.

  • laura

    What a bunch of uneducated ignorant people in my life,, There is way more to this than you are given to read, http://www.projectcamelot.com http://www.divinecosmos.com, learn something you fools

  • Julia

    It’s Joe the Poe, right? It really seems that way–really did make chuckle. Thanks for that ;D