An extraterrestrial pilot, hoping to land a spacecraft on the planet Earth, would have to be quite stealthy. The various orbit zones around Earth are watched very closely by a number of nations and agencies. The reasons for that monitoring are varied. Some groups keep track of asteroids and other natural objects that have the potential of getting close to the Earth. Others plot man-made space debris, down to minute sizes, left in orbit around the Earth. And still others are keeping an eye on satellites and satellite movement. Those concerns are primarily military in nature. Satellites do important work for humans these days: GPS, communications, weather monitoring, spy surveillance and missile monitoring. The importance of space to the U.S. military was highlighted in a recent 60 Minutes report. It showed the degree to which military powers in several nations, including the U.S., China and Russia, are involved in a military space race of sorts. While active weapons are still banned from space, as part of a 1967 UN treaty, the 60 Minutes piece showed the extent to which the U.S. military is working to protect U.S. satellites and plan for a retaliatory strike against opposing satellites and platforms in space.
It’s safe to assume that if extraterrestrials decide to visit Earth some day, that they will have quite advanced technology. The very fact that they could send a craft to Earth would make them more technologically advanced than us. It would also be easy to assume that their technology would allow extraterrestrials to sneak through our Earth orbit monitoring systems. But it would be quite the feat. The signature of a spacecraft engine would be something noticeable to amateur astronomers, NASA and other groups, well before it ever reached Earth orbit. In far Earth orbit, a visiting spacecraft would have many agencies, in several different nations, watching its progress closely.
One of those agencies would be U.S. Air Force SpaceCommand. They recently came out in a public statement declaring a new mission to use satellites in geosynchronous orbit to monitor other satellites. They call the mission the Space Surveillance Network. It’s a bold statement, most likely designed to send a message to China and Russia. The 60 Minutes story pointed out that China recently sent a missile into space to destroy one of its own satellites in a test. This is something Americans have done, as well.
How much of a threat this monitoring would be to alien visitors would depend on the technological prowess of the extraterrestrials. While it is true that any extraterrestrial civilization capable of traveling to our solar system would have a technological advantage over us, it is pure speculation to say that alien technology would have the ability to overcome human space monitoring and missile deployment. Human technology would be most likely be very different than alien technology. If the aliens had just arrived in our solar system, that could be problematic. It could take years of study for visiting extraterrestrials to understand the complexity of human systems. After all, human systems were designed from the human perspective, using human senses. It’s quite possible that alien perspective, and senses, would be much different than ours.
Aliens without stealth technology would be advised to phone ahead, so to speak. They would want to communicate their intentions in a way that humans could easily pick-up and decipher. This would at least assure that all space-monitoring agencies were aware of a visit and would be less likely to have a hostile reaction. The biggest risk in a surprise visit could be confusion. If the United States was to perceive that an alien craft was a threat to U.S. satellites, and that the spacecraft in question was deployed by China, there could be retribution. Conflict in space could lead to conflict on the ground.
It all comes down to human vulnerabilities. We have much of our technology based on satellite assistance. We feel quite vulnerable in space. It is an area in which visiting extraterrestrials would have to use great caution. Humans are a jumpy lot and despite smiling faces here on Earth among our politicians, in space, decades old hostilities remain quite fresh.
What do you think? Give your opinion in a comment here or visit the Alien First Contact Facebook page.