Nope. Not that kind.

alienThat is the sort I mean.

And if you don’t know where that image comes from, you’ve missed a hell of a book.

So, the question is … Could our current technology repel an alien invasion?

I see only two negatives. 1) our weaponry is (by the vast majority and nearly all deployed) kinetic in nature. Either explosive or projectile. And 2) our range is limited by its designed use. Which is to say, our existing weaponry (as a planet, not necessarily as a nation) is designed for a rather sub-orbital use.

The limited range of our weapons is not completely a definitive answer to the question however as (and we all know this) you cannot successfully invade that which you do not put troops on.

Additionally, with our technology, we’ve certainly not established a known (even theoretical) defense to kinetic weapons.

However, the lack of the high-ground is a certainty. This is not meant to be a dig directed at the fall of NASA, but generally speaking we do not have anything in the way of planetary defense. And I’m not really suggesting there should be as there is no evidence that such would ever be needed. I’m simply pointing out that none exists.

So, we’d be left to mount a defense from the surface. Most science fiction (being written by American authors) tends to assume the US being the focal point for the invasion. I would agree to a point. I would think, from orbit and without an understanding of our radio transmissions, there would be two main points of attack. One, of course, being the US and the other being Europe. Europe would likely get hit due to the density of civilization apparent from a distance. The US a target due to the large amount of radio transmission whether the invaders understand it or not.

There is another tactic which the book related to the picture above mentions. The middle of the US. The farmland. The central US is the largest (at least on our half) unbroken, massive area of agriculture on the planet, easily determined from space if you’re looking hard enough. The aliens in the above story figured it would make a perfect location for a beach-head as no species would knowingly and intentionally damage or destroy its own food supply.

In the story, as well as I believe we would in reality, we nuked them.

Now I’m not going to get into spoilers about that particular story but I really do think we would. At least until the fighters among us were killed and we’re left with nothing but cowards.

So what do you think?

Could we survive? What sorts of aliens do you envision? Would it be a short fight (years) or a long one (decades) or a new way of life (generations)?





  1. I like to think the kumbaya folk would be the first to go, They’d want to go meet the aliens because …..Peace. That would leave the fighters and those willing to let people fight for them. and Yes, we’d nuke kansas. we can grow food (plant and animal) in other parts of the country. And lets be truthful, Our population is going to be decimated (in probably the literal meaning of the word) fewer people to feed.
    I’m not sure where that image comes from but the alien reminds me a Pournelle alien

    • I would like to think they’d go first too but we both know they’d be the last survivors.

      If the appeasers were given the opportunity to try for “peace in our time” or somesuch nonsense then not only would they survive but we’d all be hosed.

      Cowards are cowards, but it would be interesting to see how such folks would react to events like this. I suppose it would break out into lines such as we see today … which is to say, it depends on the method of attack.

      If the invaders were to attack the planet on an environmental level, terraforming or trying to burn or freeze us out, we’d have the tree-huggers with us (as much good as that would do). If they took the tactic of overlords, supreme rulers, you-must-submit sort of thing we’d likely have the politicians behinds us (far far behind us, but not interfering at least).

  2. First, any intelligent alien life form would either have spent an enormous amount of time in space, or developed a method to circumvent the restrictions of space-time.

    If it was a long time in space travel, survival required sustainable resources, harmonious coexistence, and a civilization with little need of weapons, or having aggressive intentions.

    If the civilization could travel light years distances in relatively short periods of time, their technology for weaponry would far surpass anything Earth has to offer, and they could take what they wanted.

    • Technology might outweigh ours, but we would (in all likelyhood) have much greater numbers.

      Additionally, you assume that FTL travel would be some great mystery to others as it is to us. This ignores the possibility of an accidental discovery or stolen/gifted FTL.

      Even with greater technology, there are other factors … such as those that have put us where we are in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  3. As Heinlein explored in “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress”, any attacking force from space has an almost unlimited supply of kinetic weapons and a relatively easy to develop launch platform in the moon. In short, we would be doomed.

    If and when the foot actually does fall on us, I believe you are correct – we would have to use nukes. Barring the (likely)potential for alien technology so unimaginably advanced as to make us the equivalent of handi-capable Jimmy Valmer being pummeled by a 7 foot tall school yard bully holding all of our efforts at bay and reigning destruction on us at will, the said nuked foe would only need to regroup in orbit and destroy us at their leisure.
    Not having an active plan for planetary defense is short sighted. As with you, I don’t believe we are in any kind of hostile alien attack jeopardy, but I do believe at some point we will need to mount a defense against a large roaming rock chunk. A defensive perimeter set up for that purpose would at least put us in the correct frame of mind to deal with other contingencies should they ever occur.
    Re: NASA’s muslim outreach mandate. One more pathetic slap at American exceptionalism. It highlights the small minded, petty, self-destructive, delusional, if not outright suicidal governance, that the cowards currently in charge typify. It completely (purposely I believe) misses NASA’s mission.

    • Completely agree. A rock is much more likely than anything else, and it this point we can hardly just up and leave this particular planet should some catastrophe occur.

      However, building a defensive system for rocks would very likely also work against any intelligent “rocks” that might come our way.

  4. Depends on what the objective of the aliens is, as that dictates strategy. If they simply want to wipe us out and didn’t care about fallout (for whatever reason) 90% of us are gone very quickly. Or perhaps they could use a virus either directly against us or against our food supply. If they want to enslave or harvest us, then we might stand a chance. They could also just want a small section of the planet instead of the whole thing.

    • Honestly doesn’t make sense to just want to wipe us out although that would always be a possibility. The virus angle is far more difficult than …. well, than pretty much any other. A virus would require a rather intimate knowledge of us and/or our planet. Viruses are not random, they are pretty damned well targeted to what they do.

      I agree with the idea that the initial casualty rate would be very very high, but I don’t think it would be 90%. I’d think the initial assault (assuming no real research) would focus on population centers in Europe and the US. Yeah, that means most of us (me included) are probably fucked. However, I don’t think that number would even get terribly close to 90%.

      In such a case, I think the forefront of defense would probably (as much as I hate to say it) come from Russia and Australia with the US (what would be left of it) engineering weapons for off-world attack.

  5. A) Glad to see you posting, seeing as I got help up with my dad visiting and NO WAY was I going to post here while he was around.

    2) Is it bad that all I can think of is Mars Attacks!??

    iii) If you haven’t played Pandemic 2, you need to. That is how I envision an alien infiltration happening, via a virus. You may think it’s hard, but not really. The human body is remarkable in its strength and endurance, and in its vulnerability to even the common cold.

  6. I cut my teeth in 6th Grade reading 2001: A Space Odyssey. About 40 years ago, and have been reading sci-fi ever since.
    I think that if a race is intent on taking us over, there’s not much that we could do to stop them. A race capable of building shops capable of crossing stellar distances probably make weapons that outpace ours by a similar amount.
    A race intent on helping us would be more interesting, but there’s so many prejudiced and fearful people in the world it would be a hard sell.

  7. I couldnt see us doing an ORION type shuttle attack platform. Youd have the enviroweenies filing suit and telling the invaders about it.

  8. I’d say it was all about what they felt like doing and how far ahead their tech is.
    I always hoped for Footfall sort of thing (when I’m not hoping for a Lucifer’s Hammer sort of thing.
    We do have kinetic projectile defense, reactive armor can blow up when something’s on the way, like an RPG, or when something hits it, likes a tank round or missile.

    If they didn’t care how many they killed and we fought back too hard there are a lot of rocks floating around up there. We could not defend against them at all.
    Even the crazies in WWII Japan surrendered after losing two cities. I’m not sure how many we’d lose before surrendering, so long as they agree not to eat us.
    Of course they could screw up and destroy Wash DC first and then we’d have a chance. Or they could start with the wrong cities and we’d be all, “Don’t throw us in that Briar Patch Br’er Alien” .

    Of course, that begs the question that the aliens would be warlkike
    What if they’re interstellar Jehovah’s Witnesses and they just want to talk to us about Jesus?

    • “What if they’re interstellar Jehovah’s Witnesses and they just want to talk to us about Jesus?”

      that would be awesome!
      they would probably have realtime knowledge….
      #time dilation

  9. Take a look at David Weber’s “Out of the Dark” about a closely-matched counter-invasion battle. As in “Footfall”, the psychology of the invaders (versus that of mankind) is a key element in the plot. This set of aliens is quite competent and ruthless, but are handicapped by many early victories that were too easy – we are far beyond Bronze Age spearmen.

    Unlike Pournelle, Weber has us finally beaten down by superior, ruthlessly-applied technology – until another ‘force’ intervenes.

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