why aliens wouldn’t want us or our gold

Ancient astronaut theorists claim that aliens wanted our planet for gold mining. But why would they need gold, much less in a place where it's hard to extract?

According to the proponents of the ancient astronaut theory, not only are we not alone out there, but we are an indirect result of their experiments on our ancestors, experiments designed to create smarter workers to help them mine gold. Now, if you’ve been reading for a while, you probably recall that the idea of aliens conquering a world to mine its natural resources would be rather unproductive at best, and completely unnecessary at worst, since they could simply mine trillions of asteroids without worrying about invading another planet. Why expend all those resources and all that energy to get whatever it is they want when it’s floating around in deep space, there for the taking? When we run out of recoverable gold or rare metals, our plan is not to suit up and head for Proxima Centauri to conquer Pandora and mine our unobtanium there, it’s to set up asteroid mining operations and build a supply network to keep the flow of resources steadily flowing in. Clever aliens are very likely to try the same thing, which is why one recent SETI idea involved looking for their asteroid mines, and another posited that we’re most likely to detect not aliens themselves, but signals from their mining bots.

So imagine an advanced alien species deciding that instead of just mining asteroids in their solar system, it would be more exciting to come to another planet, colonize it, and have its natives mine the gold for you. How do they know to come to Earth? After all, it’s one of billions of planets out there and hardly the only one with an adequate supply of gold to around interest. In fact, there’s so much gold out there in space, you will practically have to avoid the stuff in your search to end up anywhere near Earth. Clouds of comets and asteroids should be present in every solar system unless our model of planetary formation is wrong, which would be kind of a stretch to assume since our telescopes seem to back up our models quite well, and in all those bodies, the concentrations of precious metals is much higher than on planets since these heavy elements will sink into the molten rock during a planet’s formation. How exactly can you have the technology to find gold on your own world, but lack the capacity to detect it floating all around you? And if you’re a sufficiently advanced species in possession of technology to traverse the stars, why have another species mine your gold for you, especially a species which is still more or less living in caves and uses sharp bits of rock as its primary tools?

For example, in the horse opera/sci-fi mashup that is Cowboys and Aliens, which starred James Bond and an even crankier and more jaded Han Solo taking on a vicious aliens who look like the steroid-abusing offspring of ET and the creatures from Independence Day, the extraterrestrial thieves can just melt gold with some sort of mobile microwave generator and beam it back to their vessels with powerful magnets. They don’t need any help from us, which is why they simply dissect humans in longitudinal studies instead of trying to genetically engineer them into good workers or teach them how to use their machinery. If anything, using humans would slow them down since their equipment seems to do a very efficient job of extracting gold from the ground with no need for shovels, pickaxes, bulldozers, or millions of gallons of water to separate gold nuggets from rocks, sediment, and other metals. Real aliens interested in mining gold would probably follow the same pattern, or if we’re lucky, just ignore us and go about their business. And this raises the question of why aliens may even need gold in the first place. Yes, there are industrial uses for it, but they’re somewhat limited, especially when we’re talking about very sophisticated technology which would require things like carbon nanotube-reinforced alloys. If anything, they would be mining for something they could use as building materials or fuel.

One might imagine vast antimatter collectors cast out to catch the few grams of the stuff floating around, or a network of machines mining lithium, deuterium, and tritium to fuel fusion reactors. After all, when you’re out in the vacuum of space, what really matters is survival a having enough fuel and food will be more important and useful than gold or platinum trinkets. What good is a cargo hold filled with precious metals when you’re so far away from home that you can’t actually use it for anything but decoration or patching up a circuit or two? On top of that, we’re assuming that an alien species would have our ideas of trade and economics, in which we use currencies as proxies for things the value of which is set by a market. Why would we expect entities living on a distant planet to adopt the same idea? Maybe they use something far more practical as money and have very sophisticated barter systems, having never even considered a monetary proxy setup? Maybe, just maybe we were indeed visited by intelligent creatures from another world and Giorgio A. Tsoukalos, aka the Aliens Guy, really is the visionary scholar that The History Channel presents him to be. But they wouldn’t have come here for gold, and they didn’t need us to serve as their genetically engineered pliant workforce.

# astrobiology // alien civilizations / alien invasion / ancient astronauts

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