The End of Voyager I May Mean the End of Us
Back in 1977, when I was 8 years old, I remember the excitement of Voyager I launching. It was going to Jupiter, Saturn, then to parts unknown.
In 2013, Voyager I became the first man-made object to leave the solar system. "NASA considered everything past Saturn a bonus." Voyager I really is an under reported American Success Story. At over 14.5 billion miles away, Voyager could keep drifting until it quietly powers down. Or-
What if Voyager I was attacked? It has no defenses, and, at the size of a decahedral bus, it would be a sitting duck for another armed space ship. I know NASA can't watch all of its spacecraft all at the same time, and I know that you cannot see Voyager, even with a sophisticated microscope, but what if NASA announced that they lost contact with the vessel on the same day they detected an alien radio signal near the coordinates of Voyager? Even if Voyager I was spectacularly shot from the sky, the explosion would not be detectable, we would have to use circumstantial evidence as to its demise.
You know how fast things would go from bad to worse on this planet?
How many citizens of Earth would be ready to capitulate at the first sniff of aliens? On the other hand, how many Earthlings would want to nuke the aliens "just in case." Can you imagine the debate as whether to kill the aliens between Russia, China, and the U.S at the United Nations? Ukraine may not be the spark for World War III, it may be alien life just beyond the outskirts of our solar system.
You have more faith in humanity than I do and believe that we'd pull together and greet the aliens like a classic Coca Cola commercial?
Nope. I don't believe that at all. Mass suicides, hysteria and war, that's what will happen. And don't forget about the New Alien Cult Religions that will spring up from nowhere.
Why so pessimistic today? I am telling you, there are aliens everywhere, we just can't see them. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, the farther away you look for aliens, the less likely you are to find them, because you not only have to overcome the obstacle of distance, but the problematic aspects of time. If you look for life a million light years away, you are looking a million years into the past. That same planet could be teaming with life NOW.
The aliens that could potentially knock out Voyager I will have the advantage of knowing where we are, while we are trying to figure out where they are.