Having recently left her post as director of the SETI institute to focus on funding, Jill Tarter took to the media to address some issues she's had with the portrayal of extraterrestrials in popular culture. Touching on recent movies such as Battleship, Prometheus, and Men In Black 3, Tarter says current science fiction tells more of the human kind than anything.
We should look at movies like ‘Men in Black III,’ ‘Prometheus’ and ‘Battleship’ as great entertainment and metaphors for our own fears, but we should not consider them harbingers of alien visitation.
Tarter also had words for Stephen Hawking, who's long standing opinion has been that any alien encounter would only spell destruction for humanity.
While Sir Stephen Hawking warned that alien life might try to conquer or colonize Earth, I respectfully disagree. If aliens were able to visit Earth that would mean they would have technological capabilities sophisticated enough not to need slaves, food, or other planets. If aliens were to come here it would be simply to explore. Considering the age of the universe, we probably wouldn’t be their first extraterrestrial encounter, either.
It's the age old question for sci-fi geeks. If aliens were to come to Earth, would we have a Close Encounters type of experience like Tarter suggests, or would we have a Mars Attacks/Independence Day situation like Hawking thinks? I can see both, although I would like to present one more theory.
Assuming alien planets would be as developed as ours, their traveling to our world would be an economic infeasibility. Nourishment, fuel costs, labor fees, training. Even if we could fly someone to Pluto it would cost the equivalent of the U.S.'s debt to do it once. Imagine how much money that would be if we're talking light years. Any civilized nation would revolt at the cost of that hitting their intergalactic pocket books.
For the sake of argument, let's say there's some supreme overlord who is much more powerful than his underlings who forces them to rally this exorbitant amount of money and aliens do make it to Earth without getting lost, any malfunctions, or general bad luck. I think it would spell disaster either way. Why? Germs.
While we are used to it, Earth is a place festering with hundreds of jillions of microbes foreign to any Alien species. It'd be like the Europeans coming to America all over again...except the other way around. Okay, so maybe they wear spacesuits, or stay in their ship which somehow has an unlimited supply of self-sustaining atmosphere...then we just blow it up. Even if they have a shield (which is unlikely), that ship is so worn down from traveling so long it couldn't repel firepower of that magnitude. It would explode and word likely wouldn't reach home base until 1,000s of years later. What could they do at that point? Not a damn thing. They've already put their eggs all in one basket destroying their economy and depleting their resources on their pansy of a ship. Game over, humans win.
There's my two cents...feel free to email me your theories or post them below!