Suppose that nowadays Titan Class Battlestar drop out from FTL(Fast-Than-Light) near Jupiter.

Its FTL drive was heavily overloaded, stops working, and need serious repairs (at least 6 months + gathering necessary resources). The ship has although fully operational Sublight propulsion which is convenient for intra-solar system travel, but cannot be used for travel outside of a solar system as the time to arrive at a destination may exceed the fuel supply of the ship or the lifetime of the crew that fly the ship.


  • ship crew: approx 9k (including 1.2k marines, 1.5k pilots) pretty high morale
  • water reserves: 180 days
  • food reserves: 1 year when rationed
  • fuel: max range of diameter of our solar system

Battlestar is basically carrier so it has:

  • 2 flight pods
  • 4 landing decks
  • 120 Raptors: short FTL jumps(but not so powerful to return home), atmospheric and outer-space) armament: Nuclear missiles(max 6), Conventional missile pods, Gun pods, twin tail-mounted four-barrel Gatling cannons
  • around 400 Vipers VII no FTL capability, atmospheric and outer-space, armament 3 forward-firing kinetic energy weapons, 2 missile-launchers under each wing(nuclear missile capability)
  • 30 marine assault shuttle (70 equipped marines + 2 pilots)
  • 5 repairs ships

Ship itself:

  • electronic countermeasures
  • flak
  • 50 primary forward batteries
  • 106 medium twin turrets
  • 1684 heavy CIWS
  • numerous point-of-defense cannons
  • missile tubes(at least 60 nuclear strategic missiles 10Mt)
  • around 300 tactical nuclear missiles for Vipers/Raptors (200kt)
  • viper and ammo construction facilities
  • ship can land on planet if necessary

The ship cannot contact any other colonial ship and call for help. First the captain wants to communicate with Earth authorities, exchange some of technology for resources(food, materials) repair FTL drive and return home. But something goes terribly wrong and he does not even want to hear about any form of cooperation. The question is with one ship is he capable of conquer our planet. With conquer I mean to destroy any organized form of army capable of air/sea/land operation and establish temporary base(if yes, where it should be). I would like to hear what possible scenarios he has to show dominance over us.


To give Earth more chances we can be pretty sure that Battlestar needs to land on planet to finish repairs (it may be in last phase when mining is over). It cannot be done on Moon or outer-space.

With winning and showing dominance I mean to use minimal power(he could start nuclear war) but if there is other way the better.


So far so good, Battlestar can win almost in every aspect. You own orbit you own planet. How about possible scenarios when people from Earth use spies/computer viruses/biological weapon(unknown disease spreaded by Raptor crew)/nuclear device attached to Raptor/deception and so on...

  • 47
    $\begingroup$ Re: Edit 2: It is well documented that the people of Earth will have a Viper Mk 1 stored in a secret facility and will sneak abord the Battlestar to deliver a piratical viral payload using a Mac. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 0:40
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    $\begingroup$ Limited water reserves don't make much sense really as water can be "recycled" from the air and urine quite easily. As long as you don't leek any water into space you can basically drink the same water again and again. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 6:15
  • 17
    $\begingroup$ Battlestars are built in a vacuum and not designed to handle the external pressure of an atmosphere. They wouldn't land it on a planet to make repairs. $\endgroup$
    – RubberDuck
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 10:43
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ About a computer virus, Im struggling to make a java mobile app that connects with the backend of a java webapp, becuase the webapp used a slighty different version of the software Im running. IMO as computer engeenir it would impossible to deploy a virus strong enough to cripple their electronics without knowing what OS they use. And even if we had a "Battlestart OS" running in a pc, developing a virus that strong would take a LOT of effort and time, because I doubt that your captain isn't running a good firewall and an excellent antivirus on the electronics keeping him and his crew alive $\endgroup$
    – Silver
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 13:57
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    $\begingroup$ @Silver That was just a jab at Independence Day :) $\endgroup$
    – Luaan
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 14:44

17 Answers 17


Yes. They can easily win, they just go to the asteroid belt and fire asteroids at us one at a time until we surrender.

They can even launch a sequence of huge asteroids that are going to hit 6 months apart for the next ten years and say that without full co-operation (including their ship being repaired) they will just let them hit.

This way they can't even be hit by a surprise attack on the surface since the asteroids are already in motion. Destroying them would be suicide.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ So basically from Battlestar perspective it is always out of range any Earth weapon. And any attempt will end very bad for Earth. I regret I haven't added hull breach and losing of life support in BS :( $\endgroup$
    – light
    Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 22:07
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @light Yes. They could make earth uninhabitable without ever coming closer than the orbit of mars. There's no way we could touch them. $\endgroup$
    – Tim B
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 9:55
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    $\begingroup$ @TimB Unless Curiosity is heavily armed :P $\endgroup$
    – Luaan
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 14:48
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    $\begingroup$ @Luaan Curiosity is armed - it weighs about 30Kg, so as far as arms go that's pretty heavy. $\endgroup$
    – corsiKa
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 18:42
  • 12
    $\begingroup$ Hold on a second... Asteroids are a lot more dense than the battlestar is. The battlestar only has enough fuel to travel the diameter of the solar system. How much energy would it require to divert asteroids in a reasonable time to reach the Earth? An 8-year attack, while devastating, has such a huge lag time we really don't know what Earth would come up with to counter it. A faster attack would cost enormously more fuel. There is a point at which a fast attack speed is an impractical expense of energy -- and I imagine that point comes long before a practical attack window is achieved. $\endgroup$
    – zxq9
    Commented Nov 14, 2015 at 2:50

Given they are in space already and have access to an entire solar system of resources, I wonder why they would bother to go to Earth at all? Europa has about 3X the water of all the Earth's oceans combined, so water isn't going to be an issue, and the flux tube between Io and Jupiter produces about 2 trillion watts of electricity. There are about 67 known bodies orbiting Jupiter and thousands of bodies of all sizes in the two Jovian trojan points for metals and lots of volatile materials.

They don't even have to leave Jupiter space....

If they need megatons of nitrogen or hydrocarbons, they can make a short jaunt towards to Titan (where it rains natural gas), and the atmosphere is largely composed of nitrogen.

In fact, if they do want to come to Earth, it is most likely to do a recruiting drive and get new people to fill the empty slots aboard, and I doubt there would be a shortage of Earth people wanting to join.

Perhaps the Captain's real issue is fending off the hordes of eager applicants....

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Good question, why Earth when you can use space resources. Maybe Captain wants to be near liveable planet and ensure it can use its resources. Or perhaps it is the best case do not reveal, do what you need to do and just left(marking planet for future missions) $\endgroup$
    – light
    Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 22:49
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ But didn't he ask can it conquer Earth? Not whether it was a smart decision for it to do so. $\endgroup$
    – Aarmora
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 21:22
  • $\begingroup$ Why conquer Earth and take un unknown amount of time and resources from your ship, when it is practically raining soup out in the Solar System? Far more time and resource efficient to gather up your stuff in Jupiter Space, even if you have the ability to conquer Earth. After all, how will Earth stop them? $\endgroup$
    – Thucydides
    Commented Nov 14, 2015 at 2:29

No, but there is probably no need to even try it.

Winning a battle, or defeating most of the Earth's militaries is not the same as conquering the planet. To conquer a planet they need to have absolute political control over most of it. There is simply not enough of them to govern the whole planet, not even talking about the lack of experience in how the local governments work. Take a look at how easy for a modern superpower (like the USA) is to defeat a technologically weaker opponent but how hard it is to keep governing them while having to fight a guerrilla warfare.

The amount of direct firepower the battlestar has is inferior to the firepower many larger countries on Earth have. Their only direct military advantage is that they are in space, and we can barely send things up to Earth orbit in short notice, and need many years to send anything outside of the planet's orbit. So they could stay safely outside of our reach, and bombard us from there, totally wrecking our infrastructure. However, I wouldn't call this a conquest, and, more importantly, this would make their primary mission a lot harder to accomplish.

Yes, they could cause significant damage to us while remaining completely unharmed. But why would they even want to do it? All they need is a lot of resources. These resources have to be mined, refined, transported, and it's much easier to do it with an existing infrastructure, than without it (while trying to protect themselves from the very pissed off remnants of the inhabitants). You specified that they have to land. This means all it takes is a single underground missile base or a single nuclear submarine (which can act independently for a long time even after its home country is utterly destroyed) to destroy them. This is the main point behind mutually assured destruction, and there are several countries today on Earth which could pull off such an attack even after the governments of the Earth either surrendered or collapsed.

It seems the captain is not bound by any moral constraints regarding the inhabitants of the planet, and is only focused on getting the mission accomplished. However, that doesn't mean he has to be evil just for the sake of being evil, if the mission could be accomplished without killing millions or even billions of people. While writing a story, it is always a good thing to give your characters reasonable motivations. A villain who goes out of his ways to be evil, even if it isn't practical, makes for a dull story, and nowadays it's so much discredited that you will rarely see such villains outside of parodies. If you really need a total war, you will need more justification for it besides the captain having a distaste for diplomacy.

There are a lot of possibilities between "using only diplomacy" and "shoot first and ask questions later". Take a look at how the powerful global powers in the last couple of centuries managed to get what they wanted from weaker nations: they never did such things as just arriving with their ships and starting slaughtering the natives. They showed up with force, but rarely had to use that force (or they used it only in a limited way). Your captain can do the same thing: ask for a completely uninhabited area to land on, and demand the resources to be delivered there. He might promise something in return, or he might just say "What nice cities do you have. It would be a real shame if something were to happen to them." The point is, no matter how you are afraid of spies or sabotage, if the battlestar started with opening fire as soon as it arrived instead of at least trying a friendlier approach, the chances of spying or sabotage would be even higher, as there would be plenty of people wanting revenge.

If a deal is brokered and the battlestar lands, they can keep smaller craft in orbit and claim that if anything were to happen to the big ship, the smaller craft will start nuking cities. Again, mutually assured destruction would prevent Earth governments from trying to attack them. However, if they started with slaughtering the inhabitants and dropping nukes on the big cities and military bases, the inhabitants would have nothing to lose and would have no reason not to use any opportunity to destroy the battlestar. Which, while landed, is just as vulnerable to nuclear missiles fired from a submarine as is any city.

  • $\begingroup$ Lets assume diplomacy way, using Earth infrastructure and squadron of Raptors on orbit just in case. How can captain prevent spies/stealing tech/viruses? He has word of Earth authorities they won't attack and do any harm, but they still can sneak peak. $\endgroup$
    – light
    Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 23:43
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ What sneak peak? Establish a perimeter around the landing zone and shoot at anything which tries to enter that perimeter. If such an incident happens, you can escalate. The point in gunboat diplomacy is, that you start by being nice, and only escalate when needed. By the way, the resources don't have to be transported into the ship, they can be dropped at a safe distance from it. If you suspect that the inhabitants tried to hide something funny into the deliveries, why wouldn't that be the case after they were beaten and surrendered? That would make them even more motivated to try it. $\endgroup$
    – vsz
    Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 23:48
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ So it is like stalemate. When ship is on orbit (Earth is doomed) but there is no 100% sure you can wipe out all military capability. Ship needs to land and it will be almost sure Earth will attack and can even succeed. With diplomacy only MAD doctrine stops Earth from something stupid. $\endgroup$
    – light
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 0:02
  • $\begingroup$ While I agree with you, the Captain has up his sleeve his nuclear weapons which he can use to distort the Earth magnetic field and Van Allen field exposing the planet to higher solar & cosmic radiation . This would be sufficient use of force to show capability and proportional to obtain necessary planatery compliance. Scorched Earth tactics literally, while political control is elusive still, it avoids military confrontation and exacts damage on all of the worlds people not their agencies. $\endgroup$
    – jCisco
    Commented Nov 13, 2015 at 10:24
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ 660 megatons is much less than the current nuclear stockpiles on Earth, and even the later, while capable of significantly crippling human civilization, wouldn't "totally destroy the whole world". $\endgroup$
    – vsz
    Commented Nov 13, 2015 at 21:41

There's absolutely no need for violence to get everything they need. Here's the deal that could easily be brokered:

  1. We give them a place to land and set up a temporary base
  2. We give them (or help them get) the resources they need
  3. We get to observe at least some of their tech in action
  4. We get to see what kinds of resources they use
  5. We gain the knowledge that FTL is possible and can be practical
  6. We get a massive head start in developing similar technology, with the chance that we could reverse engineer some of their tech within a short period of time.

Basically, even the chance to observe their tech is worth giving them everything they want. The only thing they have to do is not use up their resources destroying us.

If you really want the captain to be a homicidal maniac, he really doesn't need to do much damage. All he needs to do is sufficiently intimidate us to leave them alone. Simply nuke a couple places near where he wants to set up a base, and leave his big ship in orbit. Then send out the message that if anyone tries to get close, they (and the city they came from) are gonna get nuked. We would not know what their tech and supplies are like — we don't know how much destruction they could do before running out of supplies, and we don't know how good their sensors are so we don't know how hard it would be to pull off anything (even sneaking into their base to just peek at their tech).

Your captain can make good use of bluffing, too. We would have no way (or desire) to check a claim that he had a weapon that would cause a grey goo scenario for us. He'd only have to sell it as something that would be rather inconvenient for him.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Well this is best win-win scenario but I wanted to exclude it. The captain has no will for cooperation. $\endgroup$
    – light
    Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 21:30
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @light : Why shouldn't the captain cooperate or use diplomacy if it would make his mission a lot easier and safer? Once landed, the battlestar is vulnerable to conventional ballistic and cruise missiles. All it takes is one single missile silo or nuclear submarine which survived the initial "conquest". $\endgroup$
    – vsz
    Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 23:06
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @light Still, the drawback of spies (to a certain extent ameliorated by screening and outright banning any Terrans from the landing zone) is vastly overwhelmed by the risk of a second strike from a nation which was attacked. Cold War era second-strike technology is extremely robust, for the precise reason of mutually assured destruction, which makes an all-out attack extremely risky, if not outright suicidal. $\endgroup$
    – March Ho
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 0:27
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ This question acts like Earth is managed/governed by one country. To the contrary. Some kook (I am talking about you NK, Iran, Iraq) will blow of some nuclear warheads at this thing. It will either work and start a war or not work and result and tons of deaths. $\endgroup$
    – blankip
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 6:32
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @blankip Well, one of the countries you mentioned now has an US sponsored government. I mean, I am ok with our overlords brainwashing us constantly with slogans and lies ("Axis of Evil", "Saddam has WMD") and people being happy with it. But could they at least keep the brainwashing updated? $\endgroup$
    – SJuan76
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 10:05

Destroy? Yes. Conquer? No.

The battlestar might be able to blackmail some nations into handing over some resources without outright conquest. For that matter, it would be more practical to sell the plans for their sublight engines to buy the time and materials for repairs to their faster than light engines, and then get out of Dodge before Earth builds a space force.

If they think they can conquer Earth, they'd fall into the same trap as Bush did when he spoke in front of a Mission Accomplished poster. They can destroy any concentration of resisting forces, but they cannot establish an administration, and they cannot prop up a puppet government without threats of destruction. If just one fanatic/patriot takes a potshot at one of their tax collectors, what are they going to do? Put the family of the fanatic into a camp? Nuke the state? That creates more fanatics next door.

Check Dystopia Is Hard on tvtropes.



He has nukes, the will to use them, surprise and most likely the ability to defend against anything we could send to space.

Humanity would not be wiped out, but would be heavily battered and bruised - so as to enable the captain to conquer earth long enough to resupply and move on.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ So do you think around 4 houndreds nukes will be sufficient to destroy all our defensive? The Battlestar has to send troops to establish temporary base and start mining. What with submarines, land missile launchers, silos and so on? It may not destroy Battlestar itself but still can engage any aircraft that try to land $\endgroup$
    – light
    Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 21:20
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @light - who would be suicidal enough to interfere with them once they've shown the willingness to destroy population centers with nuclear armament? I think you may not entirely realize how big a deal domination of the orbits is. The huge advantage the battlestar and the raptors, especially, would have over conventional, Earth-based military forces. $\endgroup$
    – AndreiROM
    Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 22:48
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @light landing or conquest is not strictly neccessary, as long as the demands are not overwhelming and obviously less than the possible losses. It mirrors classic "gunboat diplomacy" example of 19th century great powers simply parking a large naval vessel that outranges native guns, and firing an artillery shell every 10 minutes at the local leader's palace until they make the required concessions - which would include a compensation for the cost of those spent artillery rounds. $\endgroup$
    – Peteris
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 11:07

Do you know what has been the key to the US's complete domination in every conflict it has entered? (against conventional armies)

Aerial Domination

These guys will have something a scale of magnitude higher: domination of the orbit and the solar system.

Their raptors can jump to Earth and turn our satellite-level orbit into one big debris field. We would lose most communication services, GPS, and also the ability to monitor and spy Earth based targets, which would be crucial in observing any land-base they set up.

On top of that, they can easily nuke military bases from orbit - or just have the raptors jump in RIGHT ABOVE any target, drop their payloads, and spin right back up before we have the chance to respond - kiss your carrier fleets goodbye, America.

It's simple to achieve military domination when you can easily:

1) Deny the enemy most of their intelligence gathering services.

2) Disrupt their communications.

3) Achieve the element of surprise (effortlessly, as the raptors can just jump in anywhere they wish)

4) (and not mentioned above) Nuke your enemy back into the stone-age with basically no repercussions.

We might make a fuss, or try to intercept some of their crafts, but the loss of our satellites alone would cripple us and most likely make any government think twice about trying to fight them.

Just consider the implications of that one attack. It would take a decade or longer to physically replace the machines themselves, but we'd need to clean the orbit before being able to actually deploy new satellites. The threat alone would make most nations stand down.

We simply have no means to fight a civilization that gains dominance of our orbit. Why do you think every "invading alien army" in Hollywood movies makes a priority of getting their mother-ship on the ground? So that the heroes have a chance of winning.

Speaking of which, might we fight them when the Battlestar (God, I love battlestars) does land? Not if we know what's good for us.

They've already proven that they can completely dominate us if they wish. The captain can keep a few raptors in orbit with nukes and promise the most advanced nations of the world that if ANYONE attacks your landing site you will glass every major city in Europe, Asia and North America. They know you can do it, they have no major military forces left to speak of, and just want you GONE. Damn right they'll leave you alone.

Here's a better question for you:

How many of the crew would be willing to slaughter their fellow human beings in a nuclear apocalypse? How many of the crew would want to pillage Earth as opposed to settling here?

I think the captain would have a much harder time fighting Earth's governments with factions within his command trying to depose/undermine him.

  • $\begingroup$ The point of this question is not to start nuclear apocalypse but minimal effort to ensure success of mission. With success I mean operational ship. There is no need to destroy completely world, just arrive, do necessary mining/repairs, and left. The key point is to ensure that people from Earth don't make something stupid(perphaps fear is not only way) but I started with it so let's continue that way. $\endgroup$
    – light
    Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 22:40
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @light - that's why you THREATEN them with nuclear apocalypse. You deny them communications and intelligence gathering resources, you demonstrate your ability to strike at seemingly well protected targets at will by being able to jump right inside their defenses and destroying them (you can use conventional munitions) and then threaten to escalate to nukes if they should bother you. Done. You've already shown them what you're capable of, only a lunatic would dare challenge you at that point. Worst case scenario you drop a nuke on a city or two to show you "mean it". $\endgroup$
    – AndreiROM
    Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 22:44

They were trying to find Earth. Why would they attack it when they got here?

There is only one scenario where a Battlestar could lose a battle against Earthlings. That is if there is some space-based weapon orbiting the Earth that can be deployed against them. Even then, the chance of success is pretty low. It would be hard to get the weapon close enough without detection. And it would be hard to get the weapon to the right spot to cause significant or catastrophic damage to the Battlestar. Otherwise, the Battlestar has plenty of weapons, and they are out of range of anything Earth can throw at them. It's over.

The one scenario where Earth is on a near equal footing is in a ground battle. Their technology for ground forces is only marginally better than anything on Earth, and all the superiority is in their air lift capability.

Let's say that the "something that goes terribly wrong" is that Earth has taken the landing party captive for some reason. The landing party contains the Admiral and/or the President, along with other high-ranking people that are not expendable. They must be rescued, so the Battlestar cannot bring all its weaponry to bear, or the captives will be killed. The only option would be to land a ground party to try to retake the captives, but that's a battle Earth can fight.

  • $\begingroup$ It could still use all it's weapons (provided that the location of the captives are known -- roughly) -- just point them on the other side of the planet. There's no reason to target land based targets either -- just vaporize the ocean instead. $\endgroup$
    – Clearer
    Commented Nov 15, 2015 at 21:32

Masquerade as Starfleet (using their non-interference clause).

The best way to fight a war is to deter it from being fought using diplomacy. After all, no matter how powerful or foolproof your defences are, the Terrans have recently fought a Cold War, in which two of its superpowers threatened mutually assured destruction using extensive second-strike capability such as nuclear submarines and terrestrial nuclear launch sites in well hidden silos and on mobile TELs. Many of these second-strike nuclear devices were specifically designed to be undetectable from orbit due to the advent of spyplanes and spy satellites. Unfortunately, orbit is where you are likely to stay for the majority of the time. Any one hit on your mothership when your shields are down for repairs would spell doom for your entire fleet. You have no good reason to provoke the Terrans into starting a war with you because of those risks.

Therefore, it would be best to flat out deny your original intentions, and claim that you are forbidden by Galactic/Federation/Starfleet law to disclose any technological secrets that the Terrans have not discovered independently until they achieve bulk spaceflight. To this end, you can install large numbers of point-defence installations that destroy anything that moves within 100km of the landing site. All trade with the Terrans for raw materials is to be conducted in border outposts outside the radius.

Of course, you were forced to do so by automated Galactic/Federation/Starfleet regulations that mandate installation of such devices, which cannot be deactivated under any circumstance when landed on an alien planet. Warn the Terrans thoroughly and mark the radius beforehand, and apologise wholeheartedly when their spies come despite the warnings and get obliterated, but make sure your boundary is watertight. They must not under any circumstances get near your mothership, for once they reach the mothership, you are likely to be in a whole load of trouble.


I never much cared for the new BSG, so I don't have any off-hand information about most of the ships in the show. The various wiki's don't seem to have much information either. Maybe there just wasn't a lot of information given. So I don't know how many nukes the raptors could carry, etc.

Still, if the Raptors were capable of carrying a single nuke each, they could largely take over the world themselves without any extra support. Add in guns, missiles and the ability to carry troops, and they could infiltrate lots of places.

To be fair, I don't remember the foot soldiers having much in the way of super weapons, so they might not really get that far with 100 vs 10000 or something. Although, if they had access to a couple of the shiny metal cylon dudes, those guys should be able to take on legions by themselves as long as the Colonial ships could keep Earth's air support occupied.

If the Vipers were remotely as good in air as they were in space, they could pretty much take on the world by themselves as well, although they wouldn't have quite the same "I just destroyed a dozen major cities and killed 30 million people, bow down to me!" power.

With regards to the edits:

Landing a ship would be harder on it than doing repairs in space. Ferry the metal ore or whatever up to the ship, rather than throwing the ship into an atmosphere at Mach 10 or something.

With conquer I mean to destroy any organized form of army capable of air/sea/land operation and establish temporary base
With winning and showing dominance I mean to use minimal power.

These are in direct opposition to each other. With minimal power, you could fly by the ISS, launch a couple nukes that detonate in space as a show of force, then demand the immediate surrender of however much metal, land area, etc. you need for repairs.

Destroying any organized forces, on the other hand, would involve strategic strikes on major defense networks around the planet and likely causing a lot of collateral damage in the process.

One other note: Both BSG series are all about a motley crew of survivors taking on an entire race of robots after said robots killed billions of people with nukes and destroyed 90+% of their resources.

Given that both series also have various types of "god" entities who seem to have a hankering for the underdog, it seems highly likely they would make sure the Earth forces have just enough "luck" to maybe take down a Viper or Raptor, understand its technology enough to create vehicles capable of at least giving the Colonial stuff a run for its money, then pull an OBSG Pegasus and become a major pain in the Colonial's ass.

  • $\begingroup$ You are right that I've started with opposited minimal power vs destroy all armies. What I mean is to be sure, no one will be able or dare to even try to attack when ship needs to land. Of course in normal situation any repairs will be done in outer-space but it requires Fleet Shipyards and BS has only small repair ships $\endgroup$
    – light
    Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 22:18
  • $\begingroup$ The problem is that ensuring no one can even try to attack, means pretty much annihilating the planet, which is the complete opposite of using minimal power to scare all the major factions into probably leaving you alone. $\endgroup$
    – MichaelS
    Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 22:27
  • $\begingroup$ How about one show of capabilities, demand to disarm all weapons from all nations and destroying it. And then land. But when they left arms race will start again. Is it even possible? $\endgroup$
    – light
    Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 22:31
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I rather doubt any nation would actually hand over all their weapons, and it would be all but impossible to detect otherwise. -> In NBSG, we see them consistently able to work on the Galactica while it's in space. Since it's going to take them 6+ months anyways, there's no reason they couldn't build a minimal dock for the FTL drive area to do whatever they need. The risk of landing on a planet when you think it might try to destroy you just isn't worth the couple weeks or months you might save in repairing the ship. $\endgroup$
    – MichaelS
    Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 22:33
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelS - I agree. I think landing the ship is the single biggest point of contention over this scenario. That's the only time when Earth's armies would stand a solid shot at taking the Battlestar down / conquering it. $\endgroup$
    – AndreiROM
    Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 22:41

Extortion beats Conquest

Conquest is expensive, just consider Iraq, it's not just the invading, it's holding the territory.

If the captain is smart, he'd just threaten to destroy every single satellite in Earth's orbit unless the nations of Earth give him what he wants and leaves the Battlestar unmolested. Scatter some of those space fighters around Earth's orbit to make good on the threat if need be and deter preemptive strikes.

The cost of having all our satellites destroyed would be so horrendous that we'd just fold.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Only if the cost (in terms of both money and inconvenience) of what the captain wants is less than the cost of replacing those satellites. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 12:39
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelKjörling it's not just the cost of replacing the satellites, it's the opportunity cost of losing years of service of the existing satellites. No more GPS. No more satellite TV/Internet. Global communications greatly hampered. Spy Satellites: gone. Furthermore your logic only works if the cost of replacing our satellites, plus the opportunity cost of their loss, plus the cost of defeating the battlestar plus the cost of collateral damage from the fighting, is less than the cost of what he wants. It's not like he's just going to destroy the satellites then go to Mars. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 13:21
  • $\begingroup$ Blake Walsh - governments are relatively good at sticking with a "don't negotiate with terrorists" approach. If Earth were to cave in here, what is to stop the Battlestar from returning home and describing the Earth as a perfect pit stop? The cost of 10 Battlestar repairs a year will get quite severe. $\endgroup$
    – Scott
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 22:49
  • $\begingroup$ @Scott A terrorist or terrorist organization is vastly weaker than a government, so it is a very poor analogy. You will find that people are more amenable to being extorted when faced with the prospect of overwhelming damage they are powerless to prevent. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 13, 2015 at 15:34

Why not just block out the Sun for 3 months with a giant moveable shield or space sail positioned to always block or deflect most of the light and heat from the Sun?

That kind of nuclear winter scenario would kill off 99% of all living things - apart from a small number of Doomsday Preppers running around shouting "Lock and Load" and "We told you so"...

Then the psychotic deranged Adama figure can harvest all raw materials they want...

  • $\begingroup$ Like the idea but Moon is big and can block only small part of planet during eclipse. I don't even imagine how big the shield should be $\endgroup$
    – light
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 12:54
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @light: I am guessing huge, like really really big...and maybe halfway to the Sun... that would stop us lowly primitive earthlings from interfering with it in the short time before the Earth dies... $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 16:25

I agree with o.m. that they can destroy whatever they want, but this doesn't mean that they have conquered the Earth. Big powers keep making that mistake, it seems nobody learns from history.

Another scenario:


They use their total aerial dominance to scout for poorly defended resources. They land surprise attacks with overwhelming force and steal whatever they need.

They should also spread their attacks all over Earth and immediately take responsibility for them. This is to avoid starting World War III as that would be bad for business.

North Korea

When time comes to land, the Captain publicly proclaims that they have surveyed the nations of the Earth and found the perfect nation. They want to land to learn the wisdom of the eternal leaders of Mankind, the Kims.

The Kim-in-power warmly welcomes them after being privately told that North Korea will be given a lot of technology for this.

The mayor powers are told that any attack on the landing site will result in Mutually Assured Destruction.

The Raptors stays on continuous missile intercept duty along the borders of North Korea, as well as a nuclear deterrent force. I don't think they would be able to intercept a full-scale attack by China, but they can stop single missiles that might be launched "by accident".

The Battlestar is repaired with the help of North Korean workers that are not so secretly spies that learn some technology.

It leaves before the major powers figure out how to get around the defenses.

Later on Chinese spies learn the new tech from North Korea and Russian and American spies learn it from China. Balance is restored.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ +1 Good call! (While I still maintain that nobody should want to land a frakking Battlestar or an imperial Stardestroyer for that matter.) $\endgroup$
    – Ghanima
    Commented Nov 13, 2015 at 12:40

The BS does not have a chance.

Their nuclear weapons are pointless without the words to back them up.

We already have fail-deadly (opposite of failsafe) systems that are remnants of the Cold War (currently turned off). The BS crew will know that if they launch a single nuclear weapon against any worthwhile target, the faildeadly system will automatically detect the explosion, and provoke the complete destruction of the world.

The world would be uninhaitable for 10,000 years plus, much more than the 180 days of water supply on the BS. It would also completely destroy any equipment capable of building a battlestar repair dock, as well as almost the entire electricity grid. Food and water would be virtually impossible to source, and radiation would kill the invaders off before they could rebuild society and repair their ship.

Sure, the threat of MAD would be enough that Earth would likely give the invaders enough raw materials to go away (although maybe not, as this would then count as negotiating with terrorists and lead to the ship returning with a larger fleet and demanding more.) But the invaders won't accept this diplomatic solution.

So they are left with a handful of things that are vaguely superior to our airforce, but vastly outnumbered.

Their only chance would be to land on an island somewhere out of the way, but with all the resources they need. They could leave their nukes aborad the BS or Raptors in orbit as their own faildeadly system and use the vipers to make retaking the island by the world's air force a costly endeavour. In some ways, this is simply gunboat diplomacy - essentially the invaders saying (without words) that "it is better to lend us Madagascar for 6 months than to start a fight with us"

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think you greatly overestimate the radiation impacts of a MAD scenario, especially for a insterstall race's ability to handle. $\endgroup$
    – NPSF3000
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 5:20
  • $\begingroup$ Up to 70% of the Earth's protective stratospheric ozone layer would be destroyed, allowing huge doses of ultraviolet light to reach the surface. This UV light would kill much of the marine life that forms the basis of the food chain, resulting in the collapse many fisheries and the starvation of the people and animals that depend it. The UV light would also blind huge numbers of animals, who would then wander sightlessly and starve. The cold and dust would create widespread crop failures and global famine, killing billions of people who did not die in the nuclear explosions. $\endgroup$
    – Scott
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 6:37
  • $\begingroup$ Above is from wunderground.com/resources/climate/nuke.asp $\endgroup$
    – Scott
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 6:38

First taking a look at the number of nukes, it would not be possible for the battlestar to destroy us completelly. They can certainly hurt us with all those nukes, but they cannot destroy us.

Also since the battlestar has to land, it will then be in a very tricky situation. Once landed it can easily be destroyed by a single well aimed nuke. The remaining raptors could do a lot of damage with nukes but afterwards they are done for.

Assuming the captain does not want to take this all nuclear, but still wants to use force his fleet is certainly not strong enough to win a war against all armed forces on earth combined.

As a captain I would see this and would probably want to reduce the enemies I make. So as a captain I would target just one country on earth and leave the rest of the world in peace. So I pick an isolated country with a lot of industry and no nukes and try to bully that country into giving me what I need. (In terms of country Japan, Taiwan or Ireland come to mind.)

We can assume that the rest of the world is not interested in making an enemy, they will let the targeted country deal with this crisis itself.

Now the battlestar is defendable even on the ground. The raptors plus marines will at least be a match for the armed forces of one country. And this country does not have any nukes to destroy the battlestar being repaired. Also while it might not be possible to destroy earth completely. The nuclear deterent against a single country works perfectly well.

Once repairs have been finished the battlestar can simply leave or the crew can decide to stay and take over the government of their chosen country.


Water: 180 days.

This is the prime constraint and their doom. With non-working FTL drive they are in a serious pickle. The only way their going to get in range without the FTL drives is a minimum-path trajectory, and the only way to get enough delta-v to fly it is to use up most of their nukes.

The battlestar cannot win because the time constraint is too great. But he can bargain. He can get what he wants easily by buying it with two of the raptors.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Despite the way the question is phrased, there is no good reason to assume that a space vessel this size has no means to recycle water. After all it's a darn closed system you cannot just loose your water... $\endgroup$
    – Ghanima
    Commented Nov 13, 2015 at 10:24
  • $\begingroup$ The primary water loss on spacecraft is not human consumption at all but rather thermal control. This thing is big, the square cube law is against it having the ability to use passive cooling to provide all of its cooling needs. $\endgroup$
    – Joshua
    Commented Nov 13, 2015 at 16:14
  • $\begingroup$ I have never heard of the use of evaporation of water as a means of cooling in real life or SF. Citation needed ^^ $\endgroup$
    – Ghanima
    Commented Nov 13, 2015 at 20:52
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Jim Lovell, Lost Moon, 1994, 0-395-67029-2 $\endgroup$
    – Joshua
    Commented Nov 13, 2015 at 21:52
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Yeah. Probably only while it's working though. $\endgroup$
    – Joshua
    Commented Nov 13, 2015 at 22:12

They could wreck Earth. Couldn't possibly hold it.

Air forces cannot occupy land. For that you need a standing army. And they don't have one.

This is what th Swiss leveraged so effectively during WWII. They couldn't top the Nazi war machine from steamrollering across their valleys. Their war plan was to make their country so costly to hold that the action would be a net loss. And that worked. Likewise, the US Air Force in 1991 did a fantastic job of monkeywrenching Iraqi infrastructure and the economy using airstrikes and naval artillery. But in 2003 when we actually tried to land boots on the ground to take the country, it became a 15 year fiasco that went as sideways as a thong could possibly go.

Now imagine you were the Air Force trying to invade Iraq, take and hold it, and turn their economy to your purposes. And you have 400 ground troops.. And they are just peacekeeper style MP's who keep out base trespassers and arrest rapists, not trained as frontline troops to fight insurgents**. That's a situation analogous to the battlestar's. Obviously, that is not going to happen. If you insist on trying, your ground troops will be harassed endlessly, every citizen a potential assassin, every parked car a potential IED, and they will be ground to hamburger in short order.

Now it comes to threatening

Hi there, we're the big bad battlestar in orbit. Submit to us or we'll nuke you back to the stone age.

Yeah, Earth doesn't work that way. Here's a box-set of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Watch it, and we'll give you a mulligan on that first contact.

Open commerce or stealth, then

Within a 20 mile radius of Warren, Michigan, someone will make you mall or large quantities of anythinf that is manufacturable on earth. So they would just need a small landing site nearby that is totally deserted and unlikely to ever be visited by terrestrials, such as the Detroit Lions trophy room. Bring down precious metals they mined out of the asteroids, and trade them for whatever equipment they need for repairs. The government need not even know.


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