Could aliens ever successfully invade planet Earth?

Author: Benjamin ,

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  • Benjamin
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    Assumption: Intelligent aliens exist, and they match or outperform our intelligence. They also have a technological head start

    Question: would the aliens be able to launch a successful invasion of Earth?



  • Polytheist-Witch
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    Yes.
  • Theweakeredge
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    --> @Benjamin
    It depends - how much of a headstart do they have? How much experience do they have militaristically - because you can have the technological disadvantage and still come out on top if your better at fighting wars - see the American Revolution for a good example; however, as British invading Africa shows, even having much much more skilled tropps, as many African nations had, technology that is far ENOUGH away can beat them - it was artillery fire versus... well bows and spears for several nations. 

    So.. yeah it depends on two things:
    1) How technologically ahead of us are they
    2) How much experience and skill do they have in war

    Er.. I suppose a third thing too:
    3) How large their army is.
  • Benjamin
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    --> @Theweakeredge
    I agree. I also think in space distance is even more important. Distance determines communication delay and thus their reaction time. Distance determines the drop in technological advantage from travelling multiple lightyears, and also the probability of getting off course due to unforeseen events. 

    One thing that is interesting though is that their weapons would mostly be useless on Earth. Combat aeroplanes and missiles all rely on aerodynamics, which we have perfected on Earth while the aliens could at best make general assumptions of our atmosphere. Also, the size of the planet is important. If we have tactical missiles able to shoot down descending spacecraft then they must rush down -- landing in the ocean where our navies could deal with them. The size of our planet makes it nearly impossible for any space fleet to contain enough army. Imagine fitting millions of troops into a city-sized spaceship, travel thousands of light years and descend slowly enough to survive while being under heavy fire. This would be unrealistic.

    All in all, I think the chances of aliens successfully invading Earth is pretty low. Planetary bombardment not so much though.
  • Theweakeredge
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    --> @Benjamin
    Mm, yup, as I said - it all depends on how far advanced their technology is - because if they have scanners that are advanced enough they could have a fairly reliable sample of our atmosphere. 
  • Discipulus_Didicit
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    I don't get why you guys are assuming a war with aliens would involve alien fleets and alien soldiers. Are you guys just going with the assumptions given to you by Hollywood or have you just not given the topic much thought?
  • Benjamin
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    --> @Theweakeredge
    A general sample of our atmosphere would not be enough to outweigh our advantage. We can test our missiles and weapons, while the aliens can't.
  • Theweakeredge
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    --> @Benjamin
    Um, yeah, because you can oscillate the general air pressure by the percentages of air in the atmosphere, and easily replicate how that would work - I wasn't saying that it "eliminates our advantage" but it would certainly even the playing field, and you are only considering ballistic weaponry, which... isn't all you would expect whatsoever. Hence why it matters how advanced their tech is. 
  • ILikePie5
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    --> @Theweakeredge
    So.. yeah it depends on two things:
    1) How technologically ahead of us are they
    To be able to travel through space in light years, they have to be thousands of years advanced than us.

    2) How much experience and skill do they have in war
    If their civilization is older than ours which it likely is they’ll definitely have more experience than us.

    Er.. I suppose a third thing too:
    3) How large their army is.
    Eh not necessarily. They could just bombard us from space. 
  • Discipulus_Didicit
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    --> @ILikePie5
    Eh not necessarily. They could just bombard us from space. 
    Not sure why they would bother. If they wanted to wipe us out they just need to send a small swarm of RKM's from their system aimed at our planet. They don't even need to enter our system.
  • Benjamin
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    --> @Theweakeredge
    What I meant is that the aliens will need a much higher technology discrepancy, merely because our tech is fine-tuned to our environment. In other words, I claim that without our fine-tuning of weaponry the aliens could defeat us with far less technological superiority.

  • Polytheist-Witch
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    There are all kinds of ways an alien race might be able to wipe us out and not all of it would necessarily be intentional.  In the War of the Worlds the aliens died due to a virus we had on Earth but that could just as easily work both ways.  Not mention if their technology effected our bodies or minds in a negative way. Sound waves and such. Then there is all the technology they might have in weaponry and bio weaponry. 
  • fauxlaw
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    --> @Benjamin
    Yes, they could, but, would they? I would presume aliens of greater intelligence and technology would have no need to invade Earth in the first place. Resource mining? I suspect if their tech takes them beyond our Kardashev Scale of types, they don't need our resources. Now, if their purpose is other than invasion, a cooperative educational mission, for example, then I, for one, invite their arrival.
  • RationalMadman
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    They already have, they control our richest and most powerful and have another name; demons.
  • oromagi
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    --> @fauxlaw
    The Uplift series by David Brin posits a galactic oligarchy divided into a rigid caste hierarchy according to the prominence of the species that trained and bred your species into sentience and the number of species your species breeds and trains into sentience.  There is no memory of the first sentient species and contradicting speculations about the nature and intent of that prime ancestor species represents the core of most political and religious activity in the galaxy.  When humans are discovered claiming a natural evolution the claim is mostly receiveded as outrageous heresy and lands the Earth at the bottom of the galactic caste system.  Without a sponsor species or any technology or resources worth trading humans would be doomed except for two resources- biological diversity and whale song.  All these systems at the galactic center have been hosting sentient species for millions of years so a natural biologically evolved diversity has never been seen before and everybody's is bidding for some racoon DNA or red oak DNA, etc.  And whale song has a surprising appeal to a wide variety  of auditory sensory organs.  So, you never know what might be worth trading.
  • fauxlaw
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    --> @oromagi
    Indeed, and interesting posit. I've not read Brin, but it sounds like something I'd enjoy. At least the higher achieved species appear interested in trade rather than invasion, if only for our consequence of bio-diversity, among which just might include whale song, but, from an audio sensation perspective, I'd certainly argue Beethoven and Led Zeppelin. And thunderstorms.
  • Benjamin
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    --> @RationalMadman
    P1: Demons = spiritiual
    P2: Aliens = physical
    C: Demons =/= Aliens
  • RationalMadman
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    --> @Benjamin
    P2 is partially wrong because we are in a simulation and the alien demigods I am referring to are largely outside of it, interacting almost like phantoms/ghosts.
  • Benjamin
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    --> @RationalMadman
    Thousands of brilliant scientist, university professors and bright minds have studied our world without making this discovery.

    How do you of all people have access to this information?
  • RationalMadman
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    --> @Benjamin
  • zedvictor4
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    --> @Benjamin
    Super-hypothetical.

    Assuming that they could, then they could.

    Assuming that they couldn't, then they couldn't



    Ask RatMan....They are seemingly from another planet.


    Though..... Might be a virus or bacterium, that sneaks in aboard a piece of defunct Chinese space litter.


  • Reece101
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    --> @Benjamin
    Assumption: Intelligent aliens exist, and they match or outperform our intelligence. They also have a technological head start

    Question: would the aliens be able to launch a successful invasion of Earth?
    If intelligent aliens achieved efficient interstellar travel to invade Earth:

    1. They already far outmatch our technology. 

    2. They’ll probably be on a campaign to wipe out life that they deem threatening. Which suggests they have experience. It doesn’t matter though if they have anti-matter bombs or something similarly catastrophic. 

  • Benjamin
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    --> @Reece101
    The thing is though, distance in space is vast --- really vast. Travelling at speeds upwards of C would essentially be to cut away all communication with your home. The aliens could not get access to the experience of other invasions. In fact, they would lag behind technologically. Unless their spaceships are literal planets, they won't be able to improve on their technology during their travels. Therefore, the distance between them and us, in lightyears, dictate the difficulty of invading us. 

    There are two possibilities:
    1. They send their spaceships randomly in all directions
    2. They wait for signs of life and then react
    In the first case, they won't know anything about us and will have much worse technology than in the second case. In the second case, there would be a long time period between the time we send our first signals and the time they arrive. We would be far technologically superior to today at the time of their arrival. Given that our planet is closer to the battlefield, we have the defenders advantage with regards to creating defences, quicker resupply and quicker implementation of new technology. In the second case, it would be nearly impossible for the aliens to take us down at all, given that technology is limited by the laws of physics which make their superior technology less dominant due to the nature of diminishing returns.


    Therefore, the only case worth asking at the current moment is the first one. What if an aliens spaceship or small fleet enters our close proximity by chance and discovers our radio signals. In that case, they would come with superior technology but in low numbers, and they would fight our earthly defences. This battle would be interesting, and I think our Earthly defences would do better than you think. Spaceships are terrible for travelling in the air, in the ocean or on land. Bringing vehicles would be ineffective since our Earthly conditions require specific types of transportation. The spaceships could not land without being shot down by tactical nukes, and they could not stay in orbit for long before we put weapons on our rockets to fend them off. All in all I think an invasion is impossible, to be honest. Movies of alien invasions relly on breaking physical laws, which would be the equivalent of magic. In the real world, unpenetrable armour and alike doesn't exist.

  • Reece101
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    --> @Benjamin
    The thing is though, distance in space is vast --- really vast. Travelling at speeds upwards of C would essentially be to cut away all communication with your home. The aliens could not get access to the experience of other invasions. In fact, they would lag behind technologically. Unless their spaceships are literal planets, they won't be able to improve on their technology during their travels. Therefore, the distance between them and us, in lightyears, dictate the difficulty of invading us. 
    In terms of FTL travel, I don’t know why everyone overlooks warp-drives. They’re mathematically possible. 
    In terms of FTL communication, quantum communication using entangled particles. 

    By the way, what’s a good reason for intelligent aliens to invade Earth? As in they bother to enter our atmosphere for a ground invasion, instead of just annihilating Earth.

  • Benjamin
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    --> @Reece101
    You would be surprised by the number of things that are "mathematically possible". Still it doesn't prove that one could feasibly build one, even with superior technology. And no, there is no reason for such an invasion. This topic is merely a "Hollywood concept", the twist is that we apply logic to it, without scrutinicing its premise.