September 01, 2011
The Eco-Aliens Are Coming! The Eco-Aliens Are Coming!
In July of 2010, newly appointed NASA Administrator Charles Bolden was proud to announce the new mission given him by President Obama, the mission he considered most important to NASA: To make Muslims feel good about the scientific accomplishments of their ancient ancestors. Even then, Mr. Obama exhibited an almost divine prescience, for a year later, NASA no longer had the ability to send men into space, so why not focus on more Earthly pursuits? Exhibiting the same spirit that once landed men on the Moon, NASA has done just that.
According to Ian Sample of The Guardian, NASA has turned its legendary scientific brilliance and can-do culture to conquering an entirely new—if not essentially debunked and disgraced—frontier: Global Warming. Wait a minute! NASA is the National Aeronautic and Space Administration. Where’s the aeronautics or space in that? It’s actually spacier than anyone could have imagined.
According to NASA scientists and Pennsylvania State University, we can forget all of that Climategate stuff, and all of the other evidence indicating that the UN and other climate doomsayers have been more or less making it all up. There is now a new and far more compelling reason to bankrupt the entire world even faster than was thought possible through ObamaCare. Using the unfathomable brainpower of NASA scientists and the tenured fecklessness of academia, NASA has determined that the gravest threat to Earth is: Greenie space aliens.
Among the scenarios posited by this galaxy-class brain trust is the idea that alien civilizations watching Earth from across the vast expanse of interstellar space will be compelled to destroy Earth because they detect a change in Earth’s atmosphere due to greenhouse gas emissions. Being just about as green as they come (who knew the little green men were literal and figurative?) these advanced alien intelligences will be terribly offended by what we have done to our planet, so they will, of course, have to obliterate mankind. The authors wrote:
"These scenarios give us reason to limit our growth and reduce our impact on global ecosystems. It would be particularly important for us to limit our emissions of greenhouse gases, since atmospheric composition can be observed from other planets."
This is not, by any means, NASA’s first foray out of rocket science and into crackpot science. Dr. James Hansen (who was just arrested while protesting a proposed oil pipeline) of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies has a long history of embarrassing NASA and reputable scientists with his global warming pronouncements, which have upon occasion forced NASA to disavow or walk back his alarmist claims. Even Hansen’s boss, after his retirement, stated that Hansen violated NASA’s official position on climate forecasting, and embarrassed the agency with his unsupportable claims of impending climate catastrophe.
Yet contact with extraterrestrial life is not beyond the realm of possibility, and responsible scientists have pondered it. Dr. Travis S. Taylor and Dr. Bob Boan published Alien Invasion: The Ultimate Survival Guide for the Ultimate Attack in 2011. The book was an outgrowth of a two-hour documentary produced for the National Geographic Channel in 2010. Taylor and Boan served as consultants for that effort. In the book (pp. 116-118) Taylor and Boan propose fourteen general reasons that might motivate an extraterrestrial visit, including a desire for conquest, food, resources, and a variety of other reasonable possibilities. Unsurprisingly, Earthlings being mean to Mother Earth thus sparking genocidal rage in a technologically advanced space-faring race is not among them.
No longer able to put men in space, reduced to begging the Russians for a lift on their 70s technology capsules for the short hop to the International Space Station and further reduced to serving as self-esteem coaches for cultures that are, for the most part, unable to design and manufacture toasters, NASA has fallen to trying to prop up Al Gore’s declining fortunes. Mr. Gore, obviously deranged as the global warming scam which provided such amenities as a 100 foot houseboat and a mansion that uses more electrical power in a week than most people use in a year collapses around his ears, dissolved into an obscenity-laced rant at an August 8 speech at the Aspen Institute. More recently, he branded as racists those who don't worship his AGW orthodoxy. Poor Al. People just aren't taking him seriously anymore.
It doesn’t take a doctorate in astrophysics to understand why this particular NASA rocket blew up on the launch pad, much like the August 24th launch of a Soviet resupply rocket. Let’s listen in on two alien scientists:
Alien Scientist #1: “Hey, look at this!”
AS#1: “Extreme range sensors indicate an infinitesimal increase in carbon dioxide concentration with a miniscule increase in global temperature on planet X-39822877B993XC988.1”
AS#2: “What! What are those maniacs doing to their planet! We must immediately rally a fleet and obliterate every sentient being on that planet that we may reduce carbon dioxide and the ambient temperature! We must…wait a minute; which planet did you say?”
AS#1: “Lemme check again…Yup, it’s X-39822877B993XC988.1 alright.”
AS#2: “How far away is that?”
AS#1: “Gimme a sec…uh, says here three trillion light years, give or take a billion or two.”
AS#2: “Three trillion…hmmmm, even at maximum glorg quotient, that's quite a ways…wait a minute, isn’t that the planet a deep space mission visited last clerch, you know, the one that sent back what the inhabitants call “television broadcasts?”
AS#1: “Now that you mention it, I think you’re right.”
AS#2: “Forget it. I’ve seen them. There’s no sentient life there.”
There are those who suggest that anything is possible, but they’re wrong. Monkeys are not going to fly out of my posterior. Barack Obama is not going to create jobs, Iran is not going to sue Israel for peace, and pigs aren’t going to achieve self-propelled flight. Of all of the potential alien visitation scenarios, this is probably one of the most far-fetched (apart from coming to Earth to get modest dressing tips from Lady GaGa), and besides, it’s a shameless rip off of a shameless rip off. One would expect rocket scientists to have a bit more imagination.
I refer, of course, to the classic 1951 classic SciFi film The Day The Earth Stood Still. At least the motivation of the alien visitor, Klatu, was remotely plausible. Alarmed at Earth’s nuclear weapon progress, his civilization, representing many alien races, delivered a warning: Expand Earth’s destructive tendencies beyond Earth, and face "obliteration."
Produced at the beginning of the Cold War, the film has a great deal of charm and delivers its message without Al Gorish condescension and pedantic hectoring. However, the idea that advanced aliens would take notice of a force as slight as a handful of low-yield nuclear weapons wielded by a barely advanced species requires a bit of suspension of disbelief. Why the aliens would be concerned about a species unable to travel even within its own solar system is an interesting question, as is why a race capable of obliterating entire planets via a single eight foot tall autonomous robot would be worried about a few miniscule nuclear explosives. But the film is well made and entertains 60 years later.
The first rip off was the 2008 Keanu Reeves vehicle of the same name. Reeves demonstrates his chops as an honor graduate of the Mt. Rushmore school of acting as an alien race comes to destroy Earth because we’re mean to it in a sort of vague, non-ecologically conscious sort of way, and probably because we eco-racists don’t listen to Al Gore anymore. Reeves is convinced to spare the planet by Jennifer Connelly, who could probably convince me that Al Gore actually won in 2000.
NASA’s rip off requires us to believe than an alien civilization sufficiently advanced to have mastered interstellar travel and with the power to obliterate an entire species on a given planet, ostensibly without harming any of the other flora or fauna, would even notice a completely unremarkable planet in a completely unremarkable star system in a completely unremarkable galaxy in a completely unremarkable corner of the universe. Such a species almost certainly wouldn’t notice if our sun went super nova, and we’re to think plausible that they’re measuring, across the unimaginable vastness of space/time--our global temperature and greenhouse gas concentrations as a sort of omniscient inter-galactic greenie police force?
To be fair, NASA has disavowed its own scientists involved in this scenario, much as it has done with Dr. Hansen from time to time, treating them all like the crazy uncle every family keeps locked in the attic. But perhaps all is not lost. If the alien greenie police do arrive to exterminate us, Mr. Obama can practice the smart diplomacy for which he is so famous. On second thought, maybe not: that would doom us for sure.