As summer blockbuster season kicks into high gear, big-budget action movies like The Avengers, Battleship, and Prometheus remind us that there’s one thing that unites Americans: Our shared fear of an alien attack. They also remind us that when the invading space fleet arrives, humanity is not going to surrender without a fight to our intergalactic invaders. Instead, we will band together to fight off their incredibly advanced weaponry with our … well, with what, exactly? Are we really ready to battle our would-be alien overlords?
Luckily, the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, better known as DARPA, as well as some of the world’s largest weapons manufacturers, are dreaming up the weapons of the future today. With the help of everything from lasers on jets to hypersonic planes to invisibility cloaks, we just might be able to make the battle for Earth a fair fight. You may think we’re joking, but why else would NASA be uploading The Avengers to the International Space Station if not as a training manual? Here’s a look at some of the most space-worthy inventions being cooked up now.
This was a really fun article, but I’m going to go ahead and note that if an alien species is able to get here from another star and wants to wipe us out (I’m thinking Independence Day- or Halo-style style aliens), most of this tech would be useless – they’ll just glass our planet with nukes or giant-fuckin’-lasers and be done with it. Now, if it’s Simpsons-style enslavement they’re after, I’m glad DARPA has the following in development:
Fighter jet-sized lasers – If aliens are coming to round us up and do labor for them (I don’t know, for farming maybe?), they’re going to come with enough of a force to take on 7+ billion people. They’ll probably come with massive fleet of vehicles – most of which would probably make even our fifth-generation fighters look like something the Wright Brothers cooked up. Our weapons-grade lasers are designed to take on multiple targets at once – which is pretty useful when you consider the fact that a sizable portion of our air forces will probably be wiped out in a surprise attack.
Hypersonic aircraft – If aliens attack where I live, I’m going to want the military responding as soon as possible. Having planes that can reach Mach-20 – that’s 13,000 miles per hour for those of you at home – would mean that we could respond to threats anywhere in the world in minutes.
Guided bullets – Would you rather confront an alien from within their line of site or from around a corner? Yeah, that’s what I thought.
CROSSHAIRS – Our ground troops roll up in a humvee equipped with one of these detection systems and automatically know where all the baddies are located. Assuming they don’t have invisibility cloaking. Then we’re kind of screwed.
Adaptive armor – Speaking of cloaking, having tanks that can hide their heat signatures would be pretty useful for engaging in guerrilla warfare against a greater alien force.