June 6, 2012 at 3:18 PM ET
As summer blockbuster season revs up, one thing is clear: The aliens are coming to get us. Can we, as the movies promise, band together in time to defend ourselves and planet Earth?
Enter the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.
IEEE raised the question in a Q&A with Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer with the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif., who spends his time hunting for aliens and helping Hollywood depict them on the big screen. He doubts we’ll survive any attack.
“Whoever takes the trouble to come visit us is probably a more aggressive personality. And if they have the technology to come here, the idea that we can take them on is like Napoleon taking on (the) U.S. Air Force,” he told IEEE. “We’re not going to be able to defend ourselves very well.”
That doesn’t mean humans won’t try to put up a good fight, however. Foreign Policy has a cheeky look at the weaponry under development at the Pentagon and the world’s largest weapons manufacturers “to make the battle for Earth a fair fight.”
Highlights from the list, which is well-worth a perusal, include:
Whether any of this weaponry will be sufficient to save us from attack is questionable, according to my colleague Alan Boyle, who writes msnbc.com’s Cosmic Log. An alien-generated electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, he noted, would likely render most of our weapons useless.
Our best hope may be the Pentagon’s secretive robotic space plane, the X-37B, which can theoretically be hooked up to so-called “rods from God” kinetic weapons. “How fearsome would the Predator look with a depleted-uranium spear from space sticking out of its back?" noted Boyle.
John Roach is a contributing writer for msnbc.com. To learn more about him, check out his website and follow him on Twitter. For more of our Future of Technology series, watch the featured video below.