Einstein Friendly Alien Machines

Einstein’s theories have done a great deal to propel humanity forward since he was first recognized for his theories of gravity, space, time, and the very fabric of our universe.  But contrary to popular belief, Einstein’s theories did not suggest a universe completely devoid of intelligent life.  Quite the contrary, in fact, the cutting edge of physics has not held the opinion that life on other planets is impossible.  Even acclaimed physicist Stephen Hawking has suggested the possibility.  But if aliens did find a way to reach Earth, what might military officials find when they finally cracked open the hull of their crashed ship?

Speculation on alien races is always difficult, but one theory that often arises in the world of hard science when looking at the possibility of aliens is the idea of the Von Neumann Probe.  The probe would be sent out on a vessel capable of mining raw materials from planets and asteroids that it encountered and then replicating more copies of itself out into the galaxy.  But in addition to its own components, the probe may have been designed with occupants capable of making decisions while it was out on its billion year journey around the stars.  These robotic beings would be far more capable of withstanding the vast gravitational differences between planets that they visited and would be tailored to adapt to changing conditions as they arrived on different worlds.

But the crafters of these ancient astronauts might also bear in mind the potential corrupting influence a highly advanced craft might have on the residents of a small planet like Earth, and therefore put in a safety mechanism that programmed them to avoid contact with humans altogether as they observed from afar.  One thing the probes might not take into account, however, would be the effect a crashed probe might have on the planet.  Inevitably, the probes would be designed with material gathered from local environments, meaning some environments would yield far less resilient probe copies than others.  Some may even be fragile enough to be downed by weapons we now possess today.

The robotic bodies of the occupants of the craft could easily quarantine a given planet from other probes using a series of countermeasures designed to preserve life and possibly, when the time was right, reveal their existence.  But if they were simply the machinations of a vastly superior alien race, this revelation may be a simple one indeed – stating that their primary technology lay in the fields of computers, gravitational repulsion, and robotics – and that the beings on-board were far from the organic creatures we had been expecting, but were in fact merely machines designed to spread and observe for reasons not entirely understood even by them.

This could be an answer to the Fermi Paradox which begs the question, why have we not seen more diverse UFOs and where are all the alien visitors?  If such a craft were designed to preserve life on our planet, it could very well go on for decades with only those in the highest ranks of the military fully understanding the whole story.  And they would be able to do so without breaking any known conventional laws of physics.