How to Defend Earth Against an Alien Invasion

Imagine one night you’re out admiring the
starry sky and you spot a shooting star. Then another. And another. And suddenly you realize those aren’t stars-
they’re UFOs! And they’re coming for our… well, something. While the likelihood is miniscule, the threat
of alien attack is serious enough that governments around the world- including the United States-
all have top secret contingency plans in place for just such an event. But if history has taught us anything about
a superior culture making hostile contact with an inferior one, it’s that things don’t
usually work out well for the natives. So is there anything we could do to defend
the earth against technologically superior alien invaders? To explore the question, let’s first assume
one thing about our alien foes- they don’t want to outright destroy Earth. After all, if total destruction was their
goal, then it would be as simple as dropping asteroids on our heads and watching the fireworks
from space. So, the President’s phone rings late one night,
waking him from his sleep. NASA has discovered alien ships en route to
earth and they don’t look friendly. What now? The first step in defending Earth would be
to decide on a global strategy. Acting on the safe assumption that the aliens
find interstellar travel and the invasion of entire worlds to be a very expensive affair
in terms of resources and manpower, or… alien power I suppose, we should adopt a strategy
of harassment and delay, not unlike that employed by guerrilla forces around the world in our
recent history. Odds are that if aliens can cross the stars,
our tanks and planes aren’t going to stand up very well to their tanks and planes, so
we shouldn’t try. Instead we should focus on making the war
as long, painful, and expensive for the aliens as possible, with the ultimate goal of forcing
the aliens to reconsider continuing their invasion in face of such a steep cost in lives,
finances, and materials. The first phase of our defense strategy would
be to try and deny the local space around earth to the aliens, or at least make it extremely
hazardous for them. We can achieve this by triggering what scientists
call the ‘Kessler Syndrome’, or when orbital space around a planet is so full of debris
that any attempts to enter orbit are extremely hazardous due to the high chance of collision. Currently there are 2,000 satellites in orbit
around earth, and an estimated 600,000 pieces of space junk ranging from 1cm to 10cm in
size, which destroy one satellite a year. With man made objects reaching speeds of several
kilometers a second, even a single flake of paint can strike with enough kinetic energy
to do serious damage. If the aliens don’t shield their landing craft
as well as the motherships that cross space at near, or faster than light speed, then
it’s likely that a Kessler effect will present an extreme hazard that will hamper or slow
their invasion attempts. In order to create a protective shield of
space junk around earth, we could simply target our own satellites and destroy them in-place,
or if we had enough time, outfit ballistic missiles with fragmentation warheads that
would explode into billions of tiny shards. While large pieces of junk would likely be
easy for the aliens to track and destroy, it would certainly be difficult and very time-consuming
to try and eliminate millions of pieces of space debris the size of a screw. The next step in our earth defense plan would
be to target alien ships during their most vulnerable phase- as they enter the atmosphere. When the American space shuttle reentered
Earth’s atmosphere, it experienced incredible heating due to friction with the air, reaching
temperatures of up to 21,140 degrees Fahrenheit (11,727 Celsius). As the shuttle transferred its kinetic energy
into thermal energy, it created a shockwave directly in front of the craft, and the extreme
heat formed a cloud of plasma around the vehicle which prevented radio communications or the
use of onboard sensors. It is likely that alien craft would experience
a similar phenomenon, presenting an opportune time to strike as they would likely be flying
blind and unable to maneuver without tearing themselves to pieces due to their extreme
velocity. The United States, China, and Russia all have
experience with anti-ballistic missile technologies as parts of their national missile defense
programs. Most of these programs focus on the terminal
phase of a missile’s trajectory, as it re-enters, or shortly before it re-enters, the earth’s
atmosphere. While many of these programs have spotty success
records, the American Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD, has displayed
very robust capabilities in destroying incoming warheads. This, and similar weapon systems, could be
turned on our alien invaders to strike at their landing craft while they are too high
up and moving too fast to either detect the interceptors or move out of their way. But say our artificial Kessler syndrome and
our high-altitude interceptors weren’t enough to keep the aliens at bay- what now? One option would be to prepare ahead of time
for the possibility of invasion with a sort of nuclear ‘dead man’s switch’- that is, we
would disperse nuclear weapons around the planet and hold ourselves and the aliens hostage. If the aliens are invading, then it’s probable
they want this planet to remain habitable, so by threatening the detonation of hundreds
of nuclear weapons around the world, we might just be able to deter them; who would want
to rule over an irradiated rock plunged into nuclear winter? Not to mention the loss of the alien’s own
forces in the subsequent global apocalypse. If this strategy fails however, our next option
would be to do as other human forces have done throughout history and resort to guerrilla
warfare. Rather than try and combat the aliens toe-to-toe,
we would instead open our military armories up to the civilian population and give weapons,
ammunition, and other survival supplies to as many people as possible. Because our cities would be the most obvious
and immediate targets, our standing military forces would then be ordered to disperse into
the countryside. Military leadership would no longer operate
on a national level, instead local forces would join into guerrilla militias and operate
under their own prerogative, striking at the alien’s supply, command and control, and resource
networks- not dissimilar to strategy employed by stranded American forces after the Japanese
seized the Philippines in World War II. This is also not unlike the strategy employed
to great effect against both the United States and the Soviet Union by Afghan Mujahideen. In both wars, the native Afghan militias faced
an overwhelmingly technologically superior foe that was better armed and better trained. Both the United States and the Soviet Union
initially dominated the majority of the Afghan countryside, and yet in both wars, the world’s
two superpowers were forced to eventually retreat. The strategy that led the Afghan Mujahideen
to victory against the number one and number two most powerful militaries on earth was
the same as that we would employ against aliens- harass and delay the enemy until the economic
and political cost of the war is too great to continue. But would dragging alien invaders into a drawn-out
and costly war really be an effective strategy? Considering that aliens would have to replace
losses of equipment and soldiers by resupplying from their home planet, while we enjoy the
homefield advantage and don’t have to cross interstellar space with our reinforcements,
it is a valid tactic that could potentially work. In fact, throughout human history, wars of
attrition have been the only tactic ever employed by a technologically inferior foe versus a
superior invader, that has ever seen success, as proven in recent centuries by forces in
parts of colonial Africa and the Middle East. Realistically, if aliens have the power to
cross the galaxy and wanted our planet, there’s little we could actually do. Whether they bombarded us from space with
asteroids and waited out the resulting nuclear winter, or simply bioengineered a super plague
that eradicated human life, their technology would almost certainly be too great to resist. However, if we are ever faced with our favorite
of science-fiction scenarios, at least we know that we can have a fighting chance of victory. So,what do you think? Should governments take the threat of alien
invasion more seriously? What other ways could we try and resist hostile
aliens? Let us know your thoughts in the comments! Also, be sure to check out our other video
called What happens at, and what do we know about, Area 51! Thanks for watching, and, as always, don’t
forget to like, share, and subscribe. See you next time!


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