$ \def\Vec#1{\mathbf{#1}} \def\vt#1{\Vec{v}_{#1}(t)} \def\v#1{\Vec{v}_{#1}} \def\vx#1{\Vec{x}_{#1}} \def\av{\bar{\Vec{v}}} \def\vdel{\Vec{\Delta}} $

Harald Kirsch

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Alien Contact

Many science fiction stories which include contact with aliens assume

Not only gets this boring. It is physically and logically unlikely and unsatisfactory.

Logically, because whatever the technology, there is a high chance that it is still an extreme effort to travel throught the vast emptyness of the universe. All this to kill and destroy what you find. That's what humans tend to do, and even we know by know it is idiotic. So once an alien race lived long enough to know how to travel around the universe, they probably overcame this behaviour.

Physically, because the physical laws, as far as we understand them, don't allow faster-than-light travel of either mass/energy or information — if there is a difference at all between the two. So the science fiction author usually assumes one of the following:

  1. The aliens are assumed really, really patient, long living creatures having no problem to visit places with traveling times in the several thousand years in between. Their personal experience of the travel time may be a bit shortened if they manage to accelerate their space ships to near light speed. Apart from the problem of taking along or harvest enough energy for the acceleration and deceleration phases, these phases alone make sure travel time is really long.
  2. They understand physics better than us and overcame faster-than-light travel restrictions for mass/energy.

What I am missing so far — and I may well just not be aware of it — is a story in which the contact is not physical, with the problems described above, but just via information exchange.

Thought's on Faster-Than-Light Information Exchange

What if, instead of transporting mass/energy faster-than-light, we find out that physics has a loophole which at least allows to send information faster-than-light, even instantaneous?

It would open the possibility of alien contact while pre-empting the idea that alien contact means war. Rather it could be an interesting story of how the scientific breakthrough happens and what ensues. Some notes:

Of course the ultimate question would be: what would we learn from them?