I need to land about a thousand heavy troop transports and some supporting spacecrafts, somewhere remote and preferably underpopulated. I've watched your television broadcasts and seen how previous invasions have been undermined by nosy kids and TV-repair men. So I know I need to stay away from your cities and Midwestern towns.

Getting past your radar and other primitive sky defenses is no problem, but once on the ground, I will need about a month to get my base's anti-nuke defenses in place and to get my forces organized. So my main criteria is obscurity. Being noticed seems to be the big mistake that all of my predecessors have made.

I don't need much else. We are bringing our own food, water and energy. We can handle any of your planet's climates, and we are planning to take the whole planet, so it doesn't really matter where we start.

Seems like there are a lot of good options on your planet, so I can afford to be a little more particular. I've notices that your governments have wisely surrounded your planet with a fleet of satellites, most probably to keep an eye on each other and you. Evading them for a landing is easy enough, but I assume that they will notice our base construction efforts during subsequent fly overs.
So, assuming that I will be seen a day or two after landing, which location would offer me the most setup time before investigative and/or assault forces can reach me from their current locations?

Any help that you can provide will be rewarded greatly following our conquest. The lives of Slave-Managers are much more comfortable than those of Slaves.

  • TLDR: What are the most un-populated, un-patrolled, obscure places in the world, where an alien invasion fleet could land and get organized?
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    $\begingroup$ What about the dark-side of the moon or in the middle of an ocean ? Does your base need to be on land ? $\endgroup$
    – Kii
    Commented Nov 22, 2015 at 16:59
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    $\begingroup$ Antarctica, central Australia, Greenland, Siberia to name but a few. However, I can't see how "a thousand heavy troop transports" are going to be unnoticed even if they do have 'stealth' capabilities. $\endgroup$
    – Steve Bird
    Commented Nov 22, 2015 at 17:06
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    $\begingroup$ @SteveBird Siberia is a bad choice, the best landing location may well turn out to be an underground Soviet nuclear base which is currently inhabited by a bunch of old believers. $\endgroup$
    – Dallaylaen
    Commented Nov 22, 2015 at 18:05
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    $\begingroup$ Is this an actual ploy by hostile aliens to crowdsource their attack strategy on Earth? $\endgroup$
    – geotheory
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 12:41
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    $\begingroup$ So... you have space travel. You have the tech to evade radar and whatnot, you can master the atmospheric entry without being visible to the naked eye. But you can't get your hands on camo nets? Well, in this case i would say your operation is doomed. But i would be interested in the rights to make a movie about your failure! $\endgroup$
    – Burki
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 15:50

6 Answers 6


If you assume you will be detected anyway, hiding is pointless. Indeed counter-productive since it makes you and your intentions seem suspicious and thus effective countermeasures more likely.

Instead you should land your fleet as close to Beijing as you can without causing significant collateral damage during landing and base construction. No reason to be inconsiderate. It is probably better to use five or six locations surrounding the city as that causes less interruption and makes nuclear counter-attacks less practical. The fallout will contaminate Beijing regardless of wind direction.

Simply inform the Chinese that you have come on a diplomatic mission to connect Earth to the interstellar political and economic community. (Annex humanity to your empire. That is the goal, right?) And that you chose the location since Beijing is the capital of the most significant native government and as such makes the best location for the process. (Butter them up.) Apologize for the inconvenience and offer to pay for the use of their territory and extra-territorial status needed for the proper diplomatic status with a technology transfer process and preferred trade status. (Bribe them.)

Note that since you have the technology to make large areas secure from nuclear and aerial attacks, you can protect all their cities from such high tech threats if they are willing to provide the manpower to protect your enclaves against low-tech threats such curious ufologists or American spies. This could be formalized as a mutual defense treaty or if they feel there is a need as a full military and political alliance. Which would make China the most powerful Human power by a large margin. (Get yourself a nice client-state that can provide the slave management services in bulk!)

After you are secure, you can admit that there is no real need to negotiate with more than Human government when you can simply make all the Human nations subject to the entirely reasonable and adequate government you already have good relationship with. I really doubt the Chinese would object to a worldwide Chinese empire, especially if it was gained by the demonstrated technological superiority of your forces instead of fighting of the Chinese soldiers.

Expanded explanation of the rationale for picking the Chinese, can skip

For the political approach the choice should almost certainly be Beijing. It combines the second best economic and diplomatic power base in the World with a political situation and cultural values where they'd have no real reason not to side with you as long as you treat them with respect and generosity.

The US has even better power base, but comes with a complex network of pre-existing commitments, relationships, and attitudes incompatible with being your primary ally and first landing spot. You also wouldn't be able to bribe them by lifting them to the status of most important nation since they already think they are. The Chinese also think they are, but feel that they are being denied proper recognition and would totally love alien confirmation of their superior status.

The Russians also have resentment of the lack of proper recognition of the status they think they deserve and the politics are favourable, so they could be turned IMHO. But their power base is at the moment weak and already committed to ongoing conflicts of no value to invaders. Note that Russians are not really weak, much of their current power just happens to be in form of military hardware and technology the arrival of advanced aliens would instantly render obsolete.

Alternate approach not using the Chinese that might work

One alternate landing spot that might work would be Mecca. Anyone trying to nuke Mecca without you providing a very strong reason why it absolutely must be done would trigger... letting the aliens get settled would probably be seen as the better option unless you flat out declare your intent to conquer the planet.

Additionally, if you inform that you have heard of Islam, feel it is the truth, and have have come to learn more and commit pilgrimage as required of Muslims capable of it, the local governments would actually pretty much have to give you the benefit of the doubt. There would be a valid (I think, not theologian) argument that you are demons, just pretending to be Muslim converts, but it would be very difficult to make that decision fast enough to prevent you from digging in.

And if you could actually convince people that you are really Muslims and are here for religious reasons, it would make annexing and assimilating the planet much easier. Islam already provides a model uniting the entire humanity under a single Islamic state you could use. Given your technological superiority and a consistent strategy, it might even be relatively peaceful. Islam really does have universal appeal even if the current forms tend to be too conservative and dogmatic to really show it off.

  • $\begingroup$ Brilliant. And Beijing is protected against nuclear attack to begin with. $\endgroup$
    – Dallaylaen
    Commented Nov 22, 2015 at 22:10
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    $\begingroup$ Fabulous Answer! Love the duplicity and political strategy! Also like the idea of spreading out the landings all around Beijing to to lessen the threat of nuclear attack. I will use that on the next planet that I invade. Out of Character : I would have chosen your answer if I knew more about China and could write believable scenes in that setting. But as a lazy author, I will forgo the many hours of research needed to do justice to that massive, complex country and go with the barren ice field instead. Thanks for your answer! $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 1:28
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    $\begingroup$ Of course the Chinese are pretty xenophobic, and won't trust you as far as they can throw one of your landing craft, so maybe blow the dust off of that mind-control technology before you kick this lovely little plan off. $\endgroup$
    – AndreiROM
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 3:46
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    $\begingroup$ @AndreiROM I know that, why do you think the plan has the invasion fleet first land around their capital and then talk nice. And they do not need to like you as long as they like the Americans, Russians and the rest even less and any loss of the face to you is offset with more gained in comparison to those others. Much easier task than getting anyone to trust you. Essentially the plan is not to actually deceive them, just be nice enough that they go along with it. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 4:19
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    $\begingroup$ Some vibes of Earth: Final Conflict going on here $\endgroup$
    – Daenyth
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 17:52

Given your obvious technical advantage, I would recommend under the ocean.

This has several benefits:

  • Immune to satellite imagery. As long as you get down successfully, you're pretty much set on the undetected front.
  • Due to human biological limitations, the ocean is largely unexplored. We have imaged most of it, but not necessarily with great detail or very often. You could easily go undiscovered for years, if not decades. A month would be no problem - it would probably take that long just to get things organized out there to even look for you, assuming we knew you were there in the first place.
  • The ocean effectively provides a strong anti-nuke defense all by itself. Very few of our nuclear weapons are designed for significant depth.

Any help that you can provide will be rewarded greatly following our conquest. The lives of Slave-Managers are much more comfortable than those of Slaves. Thanks in advance!

While the offer is appreciated, I wonder if alternatives would be possible? Perhaps a larger portion of galactic internet bandwidth, or extra chocolate rations?

  • $\begingroup$ The oceans are tempting, but whereever we land, your militaries will undoubtedly attempt to nuke us, and I hate to see all that beautiful water contaminated. Thanks for the suggestion. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 1:25
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    $\begingroup$ Water is surprisingly good at containing radiation: what-if.xkcd.com/29 $\endgroup$
    – csiz
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 12:13
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    $\begingroup$ This is definitely the most ideal tactic. The ocean will provide everything you need for protection from modern-day countries at the cost of engineering challenges that a sufficiently advanced culture probably already solved. With some sort of torpedo point defense towers or some other under-water turrent, you're pretty much invulnerable. $\endgroup$
    – Ellesedil
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 19:27
  • $\begingroup$ Perfect place for such underwater base is Saya de Malha Bank. Remote, shallow enough so big ships avoid it, but not too deep. 40,808 km2 with depth between 17m on the rim to 73m deep in the center. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 23:07
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    $\begingroup$ This is obviously a setup by a human subversive. Create bases in a location that has an obvious flaw defensively => Classic alien invader mistake, set up bases underwater, we send a small team of heros to puncture your shields and then the water comes flooding in, blah blah blah, worldwide human celebration in boats over the bases, blah blah blah. $\endgroup$
    – Kzqai
    Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 15:14

Edit: I fixed a large error in my math, in which I had aircraft carriers larger than golf courses! I've tried to change my answer as little as possible while correcting the math. Unfortunately, the magnitude of my error meant islands weren't big enough to accommodate the fleet, but in actuality, there are many islands large enough to host the invasion force. My answer (with more detail) follows.

I don't know exactly how big your heavy troop transports are, but a typical large aircraft carrier is on the order of $10,000~m^2$ ($0.01~km^2$), so why don't we go with that. You need to land 1000 of these, plus "some supporting spacecraft". Assuming the troop carriers dominate your landing area requirements, you'd need about $10~km^2$ of land. Let's assume you need to spread out a bit, stretch your legs, set up camp, so we'll double that number to $20~km^2$. Now, where on Earth could you go?

There are many uninhabited islands that might suit your needs.

Another option is to find an uninhabited region on another continent. The most sparsely populated continent is Antarctica, with a total area of $14,000,000~km^2$, which would provide you with ample room to arrive and spread out, especially if you land during heavy snowstorm season.

Others of my species have compiled this list of uninhabited regions, which might be useful in considering alternate landing sites or staging areas for a multi-pronged attack.

Any help that you can provide will be rewarded greatly following our conquest. The lives of Slave-Managers are much more comfortable than those of Slaves. Thanks in advance!

Great! I already have managerial experience, so I feel I would make a great addition to your Slave-Manager team.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ What do you mean by an aircraft carrier is 10 km^2? $\endgroup$
    – Ghanima
    Commented Nov 22, 2015 at 20:07
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    $\begingroup$ That means I made a huge mistake in my math. I will update my answer. Thanks! $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 22, 2015 at 20:14
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    $\begingroup$ Antarctica has at least one other major advantage. Optical spy satellites tend to be placed in "sun synchronous" orbits. None of these orbits go above a latitude of about 83 degrees. That means there are regions at the poles NOT over flown by optical spy satellites (I do not know the side-look capability of these satellites though so the poles might be visible - just not as clearly). This might give your invasion some extra time prior humanity's discovery of your base. $\endgroup$
    – Jim2B
    Commented Nov 22, 2015 at 22:08
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    $\begingroup$ The uninhabited islands are interesting, but Antartica seems like a perfect solution. Unpopulated and free from spying eyes. See you soon. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 1:23
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    $\begingroup$ @type_outcast: and that's why you should be part of slave mgmt. $\endgroup$
    – coblr
    Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 6:04

I'd choose somewhere in Antarctica. But I'd wait a few months until the next winter.

The satellite coverage is not optimal, and you can easily hide on the featureless surface by painting your buildings white. Frequent storms will help you burying your buildings with snow. Even in the unlikely event of anyone noticing something odd going on, they won't be able to send eyes to investigate. Ships cannot get close, scientific bases are not equipped for long range expeditions, and nothing can fly in or out. And the public won't accept nuking the poor penguins without good evidence of invasion.

There is always the possibility of being discovered by spy satellites. You never know when or where they may be pointing at your location, but you can be almost certain that no intelligence agency will be paying too much attention to what happens there, because no other human organisation can reach.

On the other hand, I'd avoid the sand deserts, because if anyone were to see something odd, it is possible for them to send eyes to investigate in a few hours or weeks. Intelligence organisations may be surveying inhabitable islands, as they can be used by enemy governments as an attack platform, so you should avoid these too.

  • $\begingroup$ also sand gets everywhere... $\endgroup$
    – Mr.Mindor
    Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 18:54

Instead of trying to hide, your strategy should be to openly not draw attention. If your plan is world domination you shouldn't have much difficulty quickly suppressing a single nation. So quickly suppress North Korea and you'll find an excellent space to get set up. You can probably persuade the poor inhabitants of that country - generally unaccustomed to hearing anything from their leaders that could be confused with the truth - that you are in fact Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, who's latest whim has been turn green and sprout some antennae.

Other nations initially won't believe the crazy reports because they already don't believe most of what trickles out of NK. And as a nuclear power they'll be reluctant to deploy nukes against it until they have no other choice. NK's extensive existing underground facilities will offer both security and obscurity, and their heavy militarisation provides convenient cover for your top-side hardware. Lastly, Monsignor Kim Jong-un has some pretty sumptuous palaces to kick back in while you're waiting to relocate to more tropical paradises.

Best of luck.


What about Area 51? It's already incredibly secretive and mysterious, so no one would blink an eye if strange things are going on there. It's isolated and very secure. US spy satellites are not looking for anything there. Other nations are looking, but hey, it's Area 51! They expect to find strange stuff going on there. Plus, if the US finds out, it's not likely that the US will nuke itself. If the US won't do it, it's not likely that any other country will either.

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    $\begingroup$ Considering that Area 51 is intentionally located in a sparsely populated area of the US, I don't think the US nuking it themselves is out of the question. There's certainly a lot of risk to do so, but if the threat is large enough, the US would certainly use some smaller bombs if that was the only efficient recourse. $\endgroup$
    – Ellesedil
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 19:22
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    $\begingroup$ In fact, the US has a long history of nuking territory near Area 51. While they have stopped for environmental reasons, I don't think anyone would be too squeamish about one or two more bombs. $\endgroup$
    – Deolater
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 23:04

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