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Bob McDonald

September 27, 2017 by Speakers' Spotlight

If (or When) We Meet Aliens It Won’t Be Like Star Trek

Quirks and Quarks host Bob McDonald has brought science to Canadians in an approachable and entertaining way for over 40 years. It’s not quite the span of all the Star Trek franchises, but enough for McDonald to see that alien life as depicted on the show is not going to be what we encounter.

 

In a post for CBC—some of which is excerpted below—he outlines why, despite seeing other Trek fantasies like tricorders and wireless communicators come true, we shouldn’t expect alien first contact to be with anything resembling Klingons, Romulans or Vulcans:

So most intelligent alien creatures in Star Trek, whether they be Vulcan, Romulan, Klingon, Cardassian, Ferengi or Borg, look like us, with one head, two arms and two legs. And they all speak English!

You might also notice that whenever the crew beams down to the surface of an alien planet, the weather is always really nice. The sky may be a different colour, but the temperature is always warm, winds are calm and no one wears as much as a sweater.

This is not what the universe is like.

Planets we have explored in our solar system, as well as those found orbiting other stars, are all very different from Earth. They are either searing hot like Venus, giant balls of poisonous gas like Jupiter, or as we’ve discovered outside our solar system, there are planets so close to their star one side is permanently baked while the other is permanently frozen.

The hunt for an “Earth-like” planet is on, but even when we find one with liquid water and comfortable temperatures, it will still not be exactly like Earth. And that means any life that has evolved there will not be exactly like life on our planet.

Read the full story here.