# Strategy to make extraterrestrials fear us

Its the year 2050, and extraterrestrials have popped up next to the Solar System. We know they are coming our way and we know they are most likely hostile.

As Steven hawking said:

Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonize whatever planets they could reach, If so, it makes sense for them to exploit each new planet for material to build more spaceships so they could move on. Who knows what the limits would be?

Leading strategists determine that war with such an advanced species will without doubt end humanity and perhaps all life on Earth.

Additionally, considering they reached us first, they are so advanced that they will without a doubt win no matter what weaponry we use.

So the global community comes up with a plan that could stop the seemingly given war and make the extraterrestrials change their course by making them fear us (irrationally perhaps).

How could we achieve this?

• Related That will scare them. Jul 15, 2016 at 8:39
• Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. Jul 16, 2016 at 19:15
• are we assuming the aliens know fear? Jul 16, 2016 at 22:08
• Ah! If they are so advanced, even the 1% explosion on the surface of the moon might seem like a joke. To make them fear us, we should know them first. Otherwise every attempt of ours will be futile. Jul 17, 2016 at 12:18
• One thing we don't even know: do they have emotions like fear? Maybe they're robots. Jul 17, 2016 at 21:25

Quickly ship all of our nuclear weapons up to the moon using all available space craft. Arrange the bombs on and beneath the surface to maximize their destructive affect. Then once the lunar base has been evacuated, detonate the entire arsenal. After the dust settles and the static clears, broadcast the following radio message...

"The 1% power-level test worked great! Start charging up to full power and let me know when that approaching alien fleet is at optimum range."

• Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. Jul 16, 2016 at 19:20
• One problem: the aliens do not speak our language. Jul 16, 2016 at 22:03
• That reminds me of the book Seveneves by Neil Stephenson, and after reading that, I don't think blowing up the moon would be a great thing to do to Earth. :( Jul 17, 2016 at 21:21

You might be too pessimistic. The defender has huge advantages in a setting. He sits right on the supply dump and factory, while the invader has to bring everything along.

• Cosmic buckshot. Fire a cloud of debris so that it will intersect with their course if they do not maneuver. Repeat until they are made to miss out system.
• Swarm attacks. Build lots of cheap, expendable attack ships. We have to get lucky once, they have to get lucky every time we attack.
• Convince them that we will use cobalt bombs to devastate Earth rather than surrender.
• I completely agree with your observation that the aliens in this case has a significant strategic disadvantage. However, this may mean that no amount of scare tactic, no matter how good, will disued them from an all out attack. After all, they set there course generations ago. They can't just change course - its far too expensive. They probably don't have resources to start another multigen trip. It's earth or bust.
– Jim
Jul 14, 2016 at 19:30
• @O.M. Assuming that the aliens are interested in killing us, and don't have any great interest in extant infrastructure, then they could easily wipe us out by dropping rocks onto us from the Oort cloud, or anywhere closer in. They'd have the advantage of being at the top of the solar gravitational well, for this. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinetic_bombardment Jul 14, 2016 at 20:12
• For the buckshot. The burn required to avoid this would be prohibitive to any "realistic" space propulsion. Jul 14, 2016 at 22:36
• "the invader has to bring everything along" -- unless they first mine the outer planets and asteroid belt, and are sufficiently manoeuvrable that our 2050 tech can't interfere much with that. It depends what resources there are on earth that these super-aliens need, that they can't get elsewhere in the solar system. Energy and minerals are available elsewhere. Maybe bio-diversity, although they could presumably harvest that reasonably non-destructively if they wanted (probes and cattle mutilations). We have easy water, but they can pick up Europa/Enceladus/comets en route. Jul 15, 2016 at 7:48
• @SteveJessop Easy water? I don't think lifting significant amounts of water from Earth's gravity well is exactly easy. They'll have plenty of much easier sources than that. Even scooping hydrogen and mixing it with oxygen would be easier :D Jul 15, 2016 at 9:12

Build large fleets of previously "destroyed" invasion fleets.

Hitler and Rommel built large groups of cardboard tanks to fool Allied spy-planes into thinking there were hundreds or even thousands of them, when there were sometimes less than ten at the given location.

Large floating half-complete "Death-Stars" with scorch marks from where the resilient humans "destroyed" them, could be intimidating. Making them all hollow means we can build them faster, and looks like we shot holes straight through them. Construction crews could be made to look like salvage fleets if we used brighter burning gas for the return trip (to look like the loads were being carried BACK to earth.)

one single nuke (NOT our entire arsenal) detonating a small asteroid on the outer side of the "attacking ship" would produce enough irradiated dust and debris to make it look like we had shot holes in the spacecraft outwards. Large enough conventional explosives might also suffice.

Disney, Lucasfilm, and Paramount could be used to create a "historical document" that could be broadcast, and left in portable video-playing devices, then scattered by probes to the outer reaches of our solar system by "accident" as to be found easily. (Especially if emitting small amounts of radiation). Plutonium batteries would keep them active for tens of thousands of years. Lidar range finders could activate the playback once someone or something got close enough to find them. Other players could be of "alien" origin and record a record of their defeat, and a warning to their reinforcements NOT to attack earth. They would have to be in an alien language, but not necessarily in Thermian.

Also... producing new versions of Independence Day would be helpful to transmit with alternate endings. The Aliens must believe humans are able to defeat invaders with our psyonic death rays, to keep them from trying to annihilate us for our technology.

And if all else fails, make them afraid to take anything from us out of fear they will be assimilated by Borg nano-probes.

• thats a cool concept. pretend like we are absolutely brutal alien killers scattering fake remains of our imaginary wars Jul 15, 2016 at 9:54
• Convincing them we can defeat them would verge on being impossible. They can see we can only travel within the Solar System, so we are clearly inferior. What we could realistically convince them is that they were looking for a Pyrrhic victory, taking so much damage that it would outweigh the benefits of what they could loot from the planet. We could make movies or historical documents accentuating that we are not afraid of obliterating ourselves if that's what it takes to deal as much damage to them as possible. Accentuate real historical events when such last stands happened.
– vsz
Jul 15, 2016 at 14:08
• This is a good (albeit expensive) idea, but I can't help but wonder how would these aliens know, from a glance, that those fake ships were other aliens that we destroyed versus our own space stations that took a hit during a previous conflict which we narrowly escaped/avoided/won. It's possible that upon interpreting these mock craft as belonging to earth, the aliens could decide to kick us while we're down. Jul 15, 2016 at 17:20
• I like this idea a lot, but it might give them the impression that Earth has something worth losing entire fleets for, making them more likely to attack. Jul 15, 2016 at 18:33
• The problem with this is that we would have to know a lot about their tech to FAKE IT. What can their sensors detect? What emissions would destroyed ships produce? With intimate knowledge the WW2 gambits worked because the Nazis knew how well we could see them and how to fake their own tech, a bit different if they were trying to fake a fleet of destroyed American tech they had only seen from a distance. Jul 15, 2016 at 18:39

Make them believe that we are going to blow ourselves up.

1. Step 1: disinformation. Show them how hopeless we are
2. Step 2: we'll take them down with us. Make them believe that we accept our doom but that we will do everything we can to make it as little profitable as possible for them. Because that's what humanity would do in this case anyway right? Note that there is no worse enemy than someone having nothing to lose. That's what we want them to believe we are.
3. Step 3: make noise. Now aim at their sensors and shoot as precisely and as much radiations as possible. If you can wait until some gravitational waves come from a way they might think (like 1% chance) we produced them, it's an instant win.
4. Step 4: evil laugh. Make them believe that we are ACTUALLY mad enough to blow ourselves up if it can prevent them from exploiting our planet. Do even more noise, don't stop even if it means to blow up some parts of the planet
5. Step 5: profit. Now they can approach us at their own risk. Sure we will hurt ourselves more than we will hurt them and they are very likely to get what they want, however, we might very well get lucky and blow them up with us. The chances are very low but the danger is very high. Don't forget that they probably don't know our exact tech level. we may be able to blow up our own planet as soon as they land. If they are not desperate they'll let us blow ourselves up alone and wait until the next habitable (and safer to colonize) planet.

Seriously as silly as he looks, would you approach this firecrackers armed guy:

Even if those toys are firecracker level explosives, even if the worse thing that can happen to me are some bad scorches and burns, even if he is probably going to kill himself trying to smoke one (because that's not how you use firecrackers), I personally don't want to get involved with him, never ever. Now let's take that a step further. What if you don't even know if those explosives are C4 or firecrackers? the only reasonable answer is GTFO of here.

Bonus: If you got your aligned, gravitational wave producing cosmic event they'll probably won't even TRY to check what's going on. Think the previous guy with a nuke.

• step 3 is interesting, may or may not to help, but definitely worth to give shot for that idea. Jul 15, 2016 at 0:16
• -1 Never threaten with things you are not going to do (as parents know)
– user3106
Jul 18, 2016 at 9:44

Fear might be the wrong way to do it. Fear can be overcome. I want a solution which makes the invasion a bad idea logically.

Assuming they're guaranteed to win an armed conflict, I'd figure out what they want and render that resource unusable or extraordinarily costly to get.

• They want our infrastructure and we can't stop them from beating us? Destroy the infrastructure. We at least keep our freedom and our lives.
• If they want us as meat engineer a change to make us taste terrible or toxic. (nature does this all the time)
• If they want our biosphere, destroy it (oh wow did I just discover why so many smart and capable people are cavalierly destroying our ecosystem?)

If you're fixated on fear, maybe figure out a way to make their young taste like bacon. So long as one human survives none of their young are safe. Humm maybe that simply makes them exterminate us.

Alternatively we could take a lesson from nature on earth. An injured predator is a dead predator. If a lion thinks lunch is going to be more trouble than it's worth it will back off. Showing that you have the ability and willingness to cripple them (even a minor injury to a lion's paw could mean it can't hunt anymore). Don't try to beat them, stand up a weapon system that makes us more trouble than we're worth.

• +1 for that beacon taste add spread as cockroaches in all directions - and that might lead to real threat after some time, not matter how advanced they are now. and for logical instead fear. Problem is OP do not know which resources aliens interested in - so infrastructures and so on - are not the resources. Jul 15, 2016 at 0:11
• Ahem. Say, how do you know humans don't taste terrible. Jul 15, 2016 at 13:15
• @TobiaTesan We're apes, and probably taste like other apes? Jul 16, 2016 at 10:29
• @wizzwizz4: I don't even wanna know how you know what apes taste like :P Jul 25, 2016 at 19:15
• @TobiaTesan For the record, I don't know what apes taste like. Jul 25, 2016 at 20:13
1. Say we have a black hole generator on a deadman's switch, which was gifted to us by another alien empire who assumed we would do as much damage as possible to the invading empire's expeditionary force out of spite.

2. Send out a distress call clearly directed at the approaching force begging them for assistance, promising anything they want, then have the beacon and all radio transmissions and artificial lights abruptly cease.

3. Offer payment if they clear the minefield that's kept us isolated for so long and to be careful because they're really hard to detect, for bonus points actually have a hard to detect mine in their flight path and warn them just before they encounter it.

• Really liked #2. Made me laugh. Jul 15, 2016 at 8:57
• Number 3 is genius. Jul 15, 2016 at 13:14

I would etch warnings into the rock of our moons and planets pictorially and in an invented language, to the effect that this system and its inhabitants are the property of a transcended AI von neumann swarm, the violation of which would result in swift superluminal retribution, ala Charles Stross' Singularity Sky.

• We'd have to not leave anything that could trace the writing back to us like DNA. Jul 16, 2016 at 20:27
• Yeah we could use a long range laser Jul 16, 2016 at 21:05
• Or, if we are allied with other extraterrestrials (or they are enemies with the exterrestials coming for us) then we can get them to etch it for us. Jul 16, 2016 at 21:07

So the global community comes up with a plan that could stop the seemingly given war and make the extraterrestrials change their course by making them fear us (irrationally perhaps).

How could we achieve this?

Why, we are way ahead of you.

Every day, Sky Cinema and regular TV channels beam into space countless accounts of alien invasions in which the aliens invariably get their green butts kicked.

In each and every one.

"But", you say, "those are fictional".

Well, if the aliens don't have the concept of "fiction" in their culture, which might very well be a prerogative of humans, they would have a hard time figuring that out.

• No, you'd make History Channel show tons of documentaries about it. Jul 16, 2016 at 0:57
• I like it @Peanut. "The real history of Independence Day" or "The Secret History of The War of The Worlds". Jul 16, 2016 at 18:50
• It would be like that movie galaxy quest all over again. Next thing you know, they hire earth to knock down tripods, and blow up death stars. Jul 16, 2016 at 22:02
• Wouldn't it be pity if the aliens' concept of fiction and drama was as advanced as their galaxy-spanning technology. They might find our alien invasion movies and mockumentaries so utterly repellent, as you know everyone's a critic, that they immediately vaporize planet Earth slowly and painfully. Jul 17, 2016 at 13:21
• Galaxy Quest did this. Jul 17, 2016 at 21:02

Its the year 2050, and extraterrestrials have popped up next to the Solar System. We know they are coming our way and we know they are most likely hostile.

Thinking of our history and how we theat each other through time:

• Jews to Filistines;
• Spanis inquisition to "witches";
• Catholics to Lutherans;
• European to African;
• "Americans" to native Americans (Indians);
• "Southern colonies" to now-called-afro-americans;
• Nazi to Jews;
• Japanese to Chinese (WW II);
• Humans to animals;...

I'm asking, do you mean "most likely more hostile than we already are"?

If they are not that much hostile, say seeking only for resources for building and own (passive) defence they will be scared of how we treat the different ones among us.

If they are that hostile remember that every invasion is assessed by equation revenues - costs.

If they doesn't have the main tactical advantage - they cannot outnumber us they will be freaked by the idea, that we will actually unite (for a while) and focus all our efort to them. Remeber how Britain conquered almost whole world - They sorted out the troubles with Scots and focus on the others (Spain, France, anyone else).

On the other hand, they can wait until we sort ourselves out for them. There most likely will be a traitor who will help them for a prize, say becoming an Earth governor for them...

• Remark: most of your examples doesn't citate the real historical events, but how they in the "common knowledge" exist. In the reality, most of these events happened as a part of a wider context, and factually significantly differently as we can remember them from the elementary school. Aug 2, 2016 at 20:50

Threaten whatever they are coming here to obtain, even if it means our suicide.

Say they want that nice oxygen/nitrogen atmosphere. We threaten to poison it with radioactive debris. This would destroy us, but that was going to happen anyway so by denying them the resource we would effectively deter them in the first place. This should at least open negotiations for a mutually beneficial arraignment.

• I'm so glad you are not running for President. Jul 15, 2016 at 13:13
• If we think they are going to wipe us out anyway, why not? Perhaps we could even strand them here (perhaps they really needed our biomass and now can't survive a trip to another inhabited system), for example) and save other civilizations from destruction later on. Jul 15, 2016 at 14:04
• "He who can destroy a thing, controls a thing." Jul 15, 2016 at 22:04
• @imallett What is the original source of that quote? (I searched on Google and found this but it may not be the original source) Jul 16, 2016 at 20:31
• @Peanut, I call it Frank Herbert's Dune. But might have beenn used anywhere else before. WRT the question however: How to threaten if you do not know what they're coming for. Furthermore they've mastered interstellar travel so they might know how to deal with radioactive debris. Jul 16, 2016 at 21:35
1. Convince the aliens that we have developed a secret super biological weapon. Even if it not true as long as the aliens believe it then they might chose to invade another planet that doesn't have biological weapons.

2. Make an alliance with other aliens, many Native American Tribes successfully fought off European invaders for a time, by make an alliance with a European power that was a rival to which ever one they happened to be fighting. We could try something similar.

• Upvoted for the alliance conjecture, NOT the bioweapon. Bioweapons have to rank among the least useful of all interstellar weapons, due to their effectiveness being constrained by the biology of their intended victims. E.g. - you can't target a bioweapon to an alien whose biology you don't understand. Jul 14, 2016 at 19:27
• Could, but it's highly unlikely. If you know the story War of the Worlds, then you know that ultimately the Martians die to an accidental susceptibility to the common cold. This is no weapon; it's just an accident. To deliberately create a biological weapon, you need to know how to attack the target biology. Jul 14, 2016 at 19:46
• @AdamWykes Or you could just do what nature does, only concentrated. Instead of a single biological weapon, throw all the germs we have at them. Develop a mechanism that will deliver the pathogens for everything from the common cold to smallpox to Ebola and AIDS, all at once, (not to mention 10,000 different flu strains,) and surely somewhere in there, something's going to "take". Jul 14, 2016 at 21:20
• Unlikely, since germs usually only work on vectors they know how to exploit. This is why humans cant get sick from a wide variety of animal diseases we are in constant contact with. Imagine the implications of that when the biology in question is literally from a 100% separate evolutionary path. They might not even have DNA - how would viruses do anything to such a being? Jul 14, 2016 at 21:22
• We only know about animal diseases because we see the animals getting sick. Otherwise, we would've never discovered animal diseases or their effect on us. A bio-bomb might go unnoticed, but perhaps the best idea is to use make-up and special effects to make all of us to look sick and perhaps zombified. The aliens would see us, and question whether our "disease" would affect them. Make the meat look rotten and unappealing. It's why eating green eggs and ham is kind of disturbing. The best part is that it's unlikely to backfire and kill us all accidentally. Jul 15, 2016 at 17:34

Fear = unpredictability, loss of control.

I don't think that simply shooting all of our nukes to them would be a good idea. In this case, maybe they will leave, maybe not. Most probable, they get away and they will come back after they've found a way to deal our next wave of nukes.

It will be a rational decision from their side and not a decision by fear.

If you want them to have fear, the destruction must happen on an unpredictable way:

1. You shouldn't allow to make them possible to understand your psychology.
2. You shouldn't allow for them to have control over the events. Let them possible the only way of control if they flee.

Allow them to get into the orbit Jupiter and here attack them from outward (from the direction of the orbit of the Saturn). Capture some of them, disembowel them and send them back. Next time do the same, but instead of finding the bodies of their coworkers, they should find an exploding nuke in the "package".

Send them an "I want to surrender" message and kill the responding team again.

Send them "collaborators" who are in the reality, suicide bombers (with nuke).

If you find cooperative people in the Humanity, make suicide bomber from them.

Never use all of your force against them. Never use the same methods against them.

Remark: only to make fear in them is groundless. Make fear in them for a goal. The goal in this case, to "help" them to understand, that conquering the Earth is a hopeless goal for them. It would mean that you only attack them if you think they want to conquer us. Or any similar. Although it will reduce the fear in them (it makes you predictable), this is what you want and not the fear itself.

I don't think you'll be able to scare them off by convincing them we are superior. Once they enter the solar system and there is no fleet to intercept them they'll know that we are not.

The only thing we can do is to deny them the spoils and hope that' enough to convince them fighting us is not worth it.

It's a desperate move akin to throwing the steering wheel out of the window in a game of chicken, but we can nuke the planet ourselves. Obviously billions will die but if the aliens are not able to land they might just move onto the next system.

• We don't have enough nuke for that, their power is a little bit overestimated (partially because the superpowers also won't destroy the Earth, they want to destroy each other), but hush-hush, it is secret. :-) Jul 16, 2016 at 3:05
• What makes you to think they are interested in your planet ? Or in it particular state at least? They probably do not know your civilization and value of its valuable items for them if any. It's not trowing wheel, it's just madness - nothing is happened yet. Some loosers hawks think they can play war game without being hurt - that's all atm. Jul 16, 2016 at 5:46

You can't, the most efficient way to destroy us would be sending relativistic projectiles raining down on the Earth from light years away. This strategy has no risk, save a counter strike. It would be very challenging to convince them we have the dyson-sphere scale energy supplies to launch a counter attack, further, the attack would likely originate far from the alien's true home and industrial centers.

If you may, I would like to debunk the marked answer. I would question you, IS NUCLEAR THE GREATEST WEAPON THE UNIVERSE HAVE?

We don't know what they are capable of, we don't know what their technology is and we don't even know if they know nuclear. We are limited to what we know is power, what we know is destructive, but they? In the year 2050 and some aliens reached us, could you even guess that they used nuclear to reach us? And for us to strike fear to them without us knowing what they are capable of is pure luck. What i know is, for you to be feared, you have to have something which anybody fears, what if the aliens could create black holes the size of the solar system and then turn if off again? could nuclear blast deal even significant damage to that kind of sheer force? again. We do not know their capability. And If they know ours, then, we don't have a chance for them to fear us, we fear them. That is the reality.

• it's just funny answer and it suggest decoy - that's usual tactics here on earth and it works sometimes. As u mention - so little known about situation. Jul 16, 2016 at 5:56
• I do think that many of those who answered this question using nuclear are Americans, they believe on using nuclear deterrents to pacify anything. (quoted on Tony Stark's remark in The Avengers 1 during their argument about the cube in the hellicarrier) Jul 16, 2016 at 6:58
• the strong nuclear force gives great yields for mass. we are literally creating miniature suns on command but i agree there are more fear inducing weaponry the aliens might have come up with Jul 16, 2016 at 13:07
• @joshuamagsino and russians - they also proud of their thermonuclear bombs. Jul 16, 2016 at 17:51
• Maybe the law of diminishing returns apply here: The thermonuclear bombs humans already own (and they may build more of course) are enough to turn the whole earth surface in a devastated battlefield. So there is no sense for alien invaders providing stronger weapons if they like to take any profit of earth. They may however provide smarter weapons, with capabilities like turning all humans into workers on their behalf. Jul 18, 2016 at 10:28

Aposematism is an anti-predator adaptation in which a warning signal is associated with the unprofitably of a prey to potential predators so they leave it alone permanently while Deimatic behavior is a startling effect, however it is most often used as a means for the prey to escape. Since there's no mention in the scenario as escape as a potential solution, I would defer to the former behavior.

Warning coloration is the most deployed form in nature, taking it a step further than color we could deploy unappealing/discordant patterns of electromagnetic signals at them as a deterrent. Predators might innately fear unfamiliar forms (neophobia) as they present unfamiliar challenges which could potentially harm them. Using creativity which is a rarity in the natural world as far as we know, we could come up with an endless variety of unfamiliar and unappealing forms.

If we show them that our planet is inhabited by beings which are at least advanced enough to take a bite out of them, they might just steer clear of earth and take the 'lower hanging fruit' of the resources on other planets.

I would say it depends on how they got here.

1. If they used some FTL drive, time to start learning the language of our new alien overlords, if they don't exterminate us that is (which is frankly the most logical move on their part).

2. If they used a sublight system that went above or near $.5c$, see 1.

3. If they are on a generation ship the size of the moon, or have multiple generation ships. We dismantled NASA so most likely, see answer 1. But if one of the stellar corporations has managed to live that long, we can launch nuclear missile satellites and scare them by nuking them. Or we could send a bunch of shuttles with ISIS soldiers on board and lots of C4 and see what happens. Or if Japan had made the space elevator by then (Japan had space elevator contests using weather balloons) they will probably be scared of us already, and we could possibly come up with a peaceful solution.

All of this assumes they do not stop at the asteroid belt, and exterminate us with an asteroid bombardment.

• Seeing as how an alien species possessing the technology to cross the universe to reach Earth is significantly more advanced than humans, why would any of these tactics cause the aliens to fear mankind? Jul 15, 2016 at 4:38
• Just thought of one other thought. How would we even comunicaye with them. Let us be real here. Any digital transmission of data would not wotk. Jul 15, 2016 at 21:11