What Aliens From Another World Will Look Like

Silicon Alien

Invading aliens from outer space won’t look like a Lady Gaga zombie or creatures with serious nasal drip problems. Top planetary scientists have now come up with different sketches of how aliens might appear. Here, then, are what real aliens will most likely look like if they drop on your house.

First, the alien won’t land on your roof and attack, according to Dr. Maggie Alderin-Pocock, an advisor at Astrium, the European space company. It will plop. Then, in all likelihood, it will leak all over the roof, drip down the siding and form a big puddle of silicone goo under the rose bushes. Disappointing, yes? All those weapons and ammo  bought to ward off the alien zombie apocalypse won’t be needed.

Well, maybe the cute puppy will lap up the goo and become a 12-foot tall alien hybrid monster? Sorry. Silicon-based life forms won’t appeal to puppies that eat carbon-based meat. At best, the silicon might be good for patching cracks on window frames to keep out cold air in the winter. We’re looking at home repair aliens. Who would have thought that?

The Horta: silicon-based life in the Star Trek universe

The Horta: silicon-based life in the Star Trek universe

Pocock says that alien life could be something totally beyond what we expect. Most images of aliens that we imagine are based around carbon-based life forms. Pocock is speculating that alien life forms could be made of silicon. Silicon is right behind carbon on the periodic table and retains enough similarities to carbon that life could evolve based on silicon rather than carbon.

Pocock presents her silicon alien as a sort of poorly prepared concoction that didn’t set well in grandma’s jell-o mold – think squishy jellyfish. The silicon creature will float in an atmosphere of an alien world, communicating by pulses of light set atop its head. It will sport a bio-metallic surface to absorb heat and energy from light, keeping aloft by buoyancy sacks that resemble onions. The sacks will inflate or deflate to ascend or descend in the atmosphere. Finally, this alien will own a large opening as a mouth to take in necessary chemical nutrients to grow, live and reproduce.

It’s possible that the cosmos has set up barriers and rules where a species from one planet cannot inhabit another planet. This is illustrated by Pocock’s jellyfish alien.

Let’s suppose that the residents of this jellyfish planet grab their ray guns, hop in the flying saucers and invade Earth. The first thing they’ll find is a corrosive atmosphere on Earth that is deadly. The jellyfish aliens will melt away in an instant without even getting the chance to say, “Take me to your leader.”

Another matter isolated Earthlings need to think about is recognizing intelligence that is different from our own, according to evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. Our human egocentric view of the universe might be a barrier that wouldn’t allow us to communicate with other alien life. Tyson argues that the most reasonable human depiction of an alien life form might be the blob, featured in the 1950’s movie titled “The Blob.”

Russian cosmologist Vyacheslav I. Dokuchaev has offered a transcension hypothesis when considering alien life. In its most simple terms, highly evolved alien races may have left outer space and are now living in inner space. Dokuchaev has posited the theory that alien races may be living in giant black holes. How do we communicate with them, and would they be even remotely interested in talking with us? Again, we, as humans. might be incapable of recognizing this alien intelligence unless they made themselves known.

blobThe search for life in our galaxy relies on looking for liquid water. The exploration vehicles that we send to the moon and other planets are all programmed to look for water. Water is a necessary element needed for biological chemistry as we see it from our terra firma view of life. Life needs water to splash around in, eat and reproduce. Life, though, might exist in other mediums such as methane.

Titan, which is one of Saturn’s moons, hints toward the possibility of a  methane life. The NASA-ESA Cassini-Huygens mission revealed a world where rivers of methane ran through Titan’s frozen plains and valleys. Measurements taken by Cassini indicated that complex molecular soup reactions were taking place in Titan’s upper atmosphere. This, or some similar methane planet orbiting a star, may be where the Pocock alien could survive and live its life.

The search for water, though, is where most planetary scientists are placing their bets. Since 1995, scientists have detected thousands of planets circling far-away suns. It’s within these thousands of worlds, with many thousand more expected to come, that NASA’s Kepler mission is attempting to discover planets like Earth that harbor water.

In their spectrum studies of these worlds, scientists are looking for evidence of oxygen, which is an indicator of water and plants. It’s plants that replenish oxygen in an atmosphere. These worlds, if found, will be possible candidates for spawning the likes of scary creatures found in the movie “Alien.” It might be on these worlds where aliens, if capable of inter-stellar travel, might hop in their flying saucers and visit Earth for good or ill will.

Most scientists argue against the possibility of alien life evolving as bipedal primates like ourselves, but the slim possibility exists.

DinosauroidD.A. Russell and R. Seguin at the National museums of Canada propose an intriguing picture of a Dinosauroid that could have evolved from dinosaurs had a cataclysm not wiped them out. Their Dinosauroid is presented as a bipedal, lizard-like creature that hunted in tribes. If the dinosaur species evolved on another world and was not interrupted in its evolutionary trail, some form of the Dinosauroid could be reading our emails today on a far-away world.

Other scientists argue that our DNA might be a kind of universal code for all life in the universe. If that’s the case, we are more likely to bump into Star Trek Klingons rather than creatures from “Alien.” That would be great news for us.

In the meantime, buying an extra No. 10 can of survival food that might appeal to a zombie alien can’t hurt as insurance. It’s better that a zombie eat that than your arm.

Reference:

Ricardo Cavicchioli (2004). Extremophiles and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life Astrobiology, 2 (3), 281-292 DOI: 10.1089/153110702762027862

Cosmovici, C., Pluchino, S., Salerno, E., Montebugnoli, S., Zoni, L., & Bartolini, M. (2007). Radio Search for Water in Exo-Planetary SystemsExtreme Solar Systems, 398

Ziurys LM (2006). The chemistry in circumstellar envelopes of evolved stars: following the origin of the elements to the origin of life. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 103 (33), 12274-9 PMID: 16894164

Moore, David. Fungal Biology in the Origin and Emergence of Life. 1st ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013. Cambridge Books Online. Web. 25 October 2013. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139524049

 

  • TheBrett

    You’d likely see some convergence for biomechanical reasons. We see things like bipedalism and eyes popping up from different evolutionary paths over time on Earth.

    That said, “some convergence” means they’d still look very alien. “Biped” includes everything from humans, to bipedal dinosaurs, to praying mantises.

    • Great thoughts and thanks for reading! 🙂

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