There was a recent Facebook clickbait list of the scariest Sci-Fi aliens in films and I of course couldn’t resist. Among the ones chosen, the most interesting was the alien virus from the 1971 film The Andromeda Strain. This begs the question: as scary as the monster-like outer space aliens are, are the aliens we can’t see more frightening? Naturally, the enemy you can’t see coming is the one to fear the most.
If you are an afficianado of The X-Files, you already know the mythology of the grey aliens as we know them, that they are the original inhabitants of Earth and has origins as a virus suspended in crude oil, natural to the planet, with the intention to reconstitute themselves physically through mass infection at a later date. Even though this is science fiction, it has the most plausibility of actually happening. And who is to say it hasn’t?
The Spanish Flu epidemic of the early 1900s devastated the population of the Earth. In fact, as the First World War was ravaging in Europe, the flu was killing off many throughout the world including U.S. servicemen. There were more U.S. military personnel killed by the flu at home than we lost by combat in France in 1917 and 1918. The origins of this particular strain are still not completely understood by medical science, nor the origins and complexities of many viruses that are known and catalogued. Could it be that the Spanish Flu was a space-bourne virus, thus technically making it extraterrestrial? Possibly. There are theories that HIV/AIDS could be something extraterrestrial in origin, born and cradled from some asteroid meteor or comet hurtling endlessly through space before somehow crashing to the surface of the Earth. But as we all know, space itself is dangerous and has its own health effects on humans:
Diseases themselves are a mystery to science. As much study has been done, there is not truly an understanding of them as much as could be known. There are cures and sometimes only stopgaps to protect us but bacteria and viruses are some of the most adaptable organisms on the planet. Even the historical/scientific origins of these origins are in question. If the theory of evolution is to be believed, do bacteria and viruses also have a supposed common ancestor? Could that common ancestor be extraterrestrial?
This discussion of alien viruses and bacteria dovetails into panspermia, the theory that life was begun on Earth via this similar method of bacteria and viruses carried by natural space objects like meteors and comets or by the more wild theory of ancient aliens purposefully spreading their DNA across the cosmos in an attempt to save or create life. While I don’t personally subscribe to the theory as a whole it is interesting to ponder on.
As much as we collectively are afraid of Xenomorphs “Martians” or little grey (not green) men, we also tend to forget about the obvious, that it doesn’t necessarily take War of the Worlds or Invasion of the Body Snatchers to conquer humanity. There is so much in this vast universe that has the potential to harm us but the unknown is so much more scary. We’ll never be able to understand everything that the universe contains considering that the Earth is 4.6 billion years old and we have no idea the actual age of the rest of the universe, only scientific guesses. And the natural and biological mysteries of our own planet are just as difficult.
We’ve been asking the questions “Are we alone in the universe?” and “Have we been visited byan alien species?” Perhaps the second question can asnwer the first if we consider the realm of the microscopic and realize “they” may have been here a while and we haven’t noticed yet.