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What If Aliens Lived on the Moon? | Unveiled

VOICE OVER: Noah Baum WRITTEN BY: Dylan Musselman
One of humanity's greatest goals is to find evidence of extraterrestrial life in the cosmos. In our quest, we often look to distant planets and far-off star systems… but what if what we're searching for is lurking much closer than we think? In this video, Unveiled imagines how life on Earth would change if aliens were discovered on the moon!
Transcript

What If Aliens Lived on the Moon?


One of humanity’s greatest goals is to find evidence of extraterrestrial life in the cosmos. In our quest, we often look to distant planets and far-off star systems, studying the atmospheric composition of alien worlds to determine the possibility that life could exist there… but what if what we’re searching for is lurking much closer than we think?

This is Unveiled and today we’re answering the extraordinary question; What if aliens lived on the moon?

The apparent absence of any form of alien life is often seen as one of the greatest mysteries going. On the one hand, the universe is inconceivably large; on the other, life on Earth is the only life we know to exist. But then, our understanding of the universe is as limited as the universe itself is limitless, so life could be a frequent occurrence without us knowing about it.

Our prospects for space travel are limited by our lifespans as there’s only so far we can feasibly journey during the time that we’re alive. But it’s not the same for information, which can be beamed in all directions at a much faster rate. For some, if even one intelligent civilization (anywhere in the universe) had (or has) devised a way to amplify their signals to send messages across interstellar space, then we should be able to hear them. But, so far… nothing. We’re in what some scientists refer to as “The Great Silence”, where alien life either doesn’t exist or doesn’t want to be found.

Say that second option proves true - that aliens are deliberately concealing themselves - then the situation changes, and the moon could arguably be seen as an ideal place for otherworldly beings to set up some sort of base. For one, its surface is rich in important elements like hydrogen, oxygen, and iron, which could (theoretically, and if prospective aliens value and need similar things to us) be mined for resources like water, but also used to build structures and machines. The moon also provides a mostly unobscured view out into space, thanks to its lack of atmosphere - another plus. But most significantly it’s right next to a planet - Earth - hosting the only lifeforms in the universe that we’re currently aware of - us. For all those reasons, plus the fact that tidal locking creates a doubly mysterious “dark side” to our closest satellite, the “aliens on the moon” idea has long been a favourite for conspiracy theorists.

Scientifically speaking, there aren’t many leads to support any suggestion that aliens really are on the moon. Even the “dark side” idea is often misrepresented as though the moon plays host to two totally different worlds - one where aliens don’t exist and one where they could do. But, in reality, both sides of the moon receive sunlight, so there isn’t actually a “dark side” at all… More accurately, there’s a visible and non­-visible side only from our perspective on Earth. If aliens lived on the visible side then we’d almost certainly know about it, with the lunar surface giving away their presence like Earth does ours. If they lived on the non-visible side only, they’d naturally be more difficult to detect, but we’d likely have discovered them by now… quite why they’d have seemingly been trying to avoid detection would no doubt be the first major talking point between us and them, though.

More recently, theories on lunar aliens have evolved to include the possibility that they’d be hiding underground… probably, again, on the moon’s non-visible side. In 2019, researchers detected a mysterious mass on the dark side of the moon some five times the size of Hawaii and rich in metal. The scientific consensus was that it’s most likely a millennia-old asteroid, but the case does show how even the moon - the only place other than Earth we’ve ever been to - can serve up major surprises.

For alien enthusiasts, the underground something would also be a great place to build a base, however. After all, in a hypothetical world where aliens exist and they’re stationed on the moon, were they to head underground then they’d simply be showing similar terraforming tactics to our own. While the moon’s lack of atmosphere is great for viewing space, it’s terrible for most of life as we currently understand it, causing an onslaught of radiation, extreme temperatures and increasing the likelihood of asteroid strikes - amongst other things. If humans were to live on the moon, then one plan is that we’d dig out underground caverns and tunnels to establish a more secure, subsurface colony. So, if aliens were to live on the moon, perhaps they’d try the same thing.

The location of the moon specifically would still be key, though. There are seven other planets in our solar system besides Earth, plus plenty more moons to consider, so why ours? In many respects, Mars is much more habitable than the moon, for example... But Mars doesn’t have humanity within a three-day commute (by our own achievable speeds). In much the same way as we’re constantly peering out from our planet in search of other beings, if life in the cosmos is rare but a moon-based alien race knows that we exist (but also that we don’t pose much of a long-distance threat), then it’d make a lot of sense to get as close to us as possible.

In this way, if aliens lived on the moon, then Earth is their petri dish. The “Zoo Hypothesis” was first pitched in the 1970s, but it’s crucial in this particular line of thinking. It argues that Earth could be under observation; watched over by an alien race of galactic zookeepers who, by purposefully avoiding detection, can study life on Earth in its natural habitat - to understand the behaviours and habits, the positives and negatives of all the species on this planet. It’s the sobering if not frightening thought that we, supposedly advanced human beings, are little more than one part of an active exhibit to another, higher power. Or maybe we’re not even a science project at all, but instead a form of entertainment - something contrived to keep aliens anywhere (but in this case, on the moon) from getting bored. In this reality, whenever we watch reality TV in our own lives, we’re actually part of just one moment in one scene of the ultimate reality show; one that we ourselves will never understand.

Of course, there is another way that this hypothetical plays out; aliens live on the moon and we know they’re there, and it’s fine. In this case, no matter how or why extraterrestrial life exists so close to us, our own understanding of life and the rest of the universe is fundamentally different. Now, there would be no “search” for alien life, because it would be an accepted fact that it did exist; that we weren’t alone.

In the event that there were creatures on the moon as advanced (or more advanced) than human beings, then there’d be an opportunity to form an intelligent and ambitious alliance. If aliens lived on the moon and they were friendly, then getting to the moon would suddenly be a lot simpler, for example. And staying there would be a lot more achievable, too. Were the moon creatures to be less advanced than us, then their discovery would no doubt be one of the biggest breakthroughs in modern science - granting us the chance to study genuine life that doesn’t rely on Earth to survive.

On the other hand, it’s a hypothetical which could play out very badly… Where aliens live on the moon, we know about it, and it isn’t fine. Here, the relationship we have with known and accepted aliens isn’t good; they pose a threat to us, and we pose a threat to them… and suddenly to look at the night sky is to glimpse the moon and be constantly reminded of the potential for danger. There’d be tension all across the globe, with Earth as a whole united in fear of an unseen but now undeniable foe.

Clearly, this one is an alternate reality which could play out in a variety of ways. Aliens on the moon could mean a hidden, omniscient power with Earth totally under its control; or some kind of advanced species which has the tech to travel here, but doesn’t want us to know about it; or an accepted alien race which is an ally to Earth; or an accepted alien race which isn’t. In all eventualities, though, it would completely alter our perspective on Earth. And that’s what would happen if aliens lived on the moon.
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