A visitor?

All my life, I have been interested in science and I guess this naturally meant that I was attracted to science fiction. I have always followed the news about space travel and was so excited when I watched the moon landings. Since then, I have been a bit disappointed. I expected a man on Mars year ago and thought we would be well on the way to warp drive by now. An aspect of SciFi, that I have always found intriguing, is the idea that, if we cannot go to the aliens, maybe they will come to us …

I have seen all the relevant movies – Arrival, Contact, Independence Day, Dr. Who … – and these depict the arrival of aliens in various ways. I do not think any of them come close to depicting the culture shock that will be experienced by mankind on the realization that there is extra-terrestrial intelligence. I am sure that it is a matter of “when”, not “if” contact occurs at some point. I hope that it is in my lifetime.

Just lately, I have been intrigued by stories about Oumuamua – a huge, cigar-shaped object that is passing through the solar system. Its origin was some other star system – I have not seen any more detailed speculation based on its trajectory. Much effort is being expended by scientists to study this thing. The obvious question is: is it a naturally-occurring object or an alien spacecraft? So far, reports I have seen [here and here for example] suggest that no signs of technology or intelligence have been detected. I find the idea that a civilization, that can build a massive inter-stellar vehicle, would use a technology, that we would even recognize, is quite laughable.

So, what do I think will happen?

As far as I can tell, Oumuamua will be closest to Earth sometime in January. I expect that the crew will activate the inertia-cancelling drive and bring the craft to a dead stop. At that point, they will probably activate Black Knight. [This is a large satellite, which orbits Earth in the “wrong” direction, suggesting that it was injected into orbit from outside. Nobody claims ownership of this thing and there are some reports suggesting that it may have been in orbit long before Sputnik.] This is clearly a surveillance platform from which they have been studying mankind for centuries. I imagine the next occurrence would be a message along the lines of “Take me to your leader.”

I am sending a message to Elon Musk, suggesting that, as a precaution, he should send Donald Trump out to meet the aliens half way. This course of action may have some subsidiary benefits …

It seems unlikely that we will need to lay extra places for dinner on Christmas Day, but, if you do celebrate a holiday now, I trust that you have a good one. I hope that we may all have a peaceful and enlightened 2018. I will be back hear in January – unless the events I describe above come true, in which case we are probably doomed …

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at https://blogs.sw.siemens.com/embedded-software/2017/12/21/a-visitor/