Ancient Aliens s14e09 Episode Script

The Alien Infection

Meteors, bombarding the Earth from space.
Material from other bodies in our solar system is continually raining down on the planet Earth.
NARRATOR: And with that are billions of microscopic alien life-forms.
800 million viruses are falling from the skies every single day.
NARRATOR: Is our planet properly prepared for an extraterrestrial invasion of disease? BILL BIRNES: What if the terrible plagues that ravaged the Earth were the result of alien viruses that are constantly bombarding the planet? NARRATOR: But are these alien viruses meant to harm us or change us in ways we can hardly imagine? ANDREW COLLINS: Sometimes, viruses help human evolution.
TSOUKALOS: It is a deliberate artificial change of our DNA.
NARRATOR: There is a doorway in the universe.
Beyond it is the promise of truth.
It demands we question everything we have ever been taught.
The evidence is all around us.
The future is right before our eyes.
We are not alone.
We have never been alone.
NARRATOR: A Stanford University study published in the journal eLife, reveals a remarkable finding that dramatically changes our understanding of human evolution.
The study reports that since modern humans first emerged from earlier primates, roughly one third of their evolutionary adaptations have been caused not by means of natural selection, but by viruses.
KIRSTEN FISHER: We have genes in our own genome that were derived from a retrovirus at some point in our history.
And some actually have important functions for our development as humans.
This suggests that there has been some kind of symbiotic relationship with viruses since the beginning of life itself.
Sometimes, viruses help human evolution.
NARRATOR: According to another study, one important human adaptation that resulted from a virus is a special layer of the human placenta that prevents the fetus from being rejected by the mother's body.
The genes that create this tissue are called syncytins and they were not originally found in human ancestors.
FISHER: They were acquired at a couple different points in our history, about 25 and 40 million years ago.
And they're important for the connection between the mother and the fetus.
NARRATOR: Some scientists now believe that viral genes like this were as important for human evolution as natural selection.
HOOVER: I think that horizontal gene transfer being carried out by viruses or phages was probably the primary mechanism whereby changes in species and major changes within a species occurred.
NARRATOR: Was it by pure chance that viruses helped to create a species as sophisticated as humans? Or might this viral evolution have been intelligently directed by beings from outer space? Anthropologists are telling us that humans evolved Anthropologists are telling us that humans evolved over time out of Africa and that we had certain, uh, genetic leaps uh, became greater and so these genetic leaps throughout evolutionary history might have just been a natural thing, but they could have been engineered as well.
TSOUKALOS: There is no doubt in my mind that viruses that have originated from space somehow had to do with our development here on Earth.
However, it is very clear that the ancient astronaut theory proposes that the one reason why we became humans as we are today is not due to an accident by some natural virus from outer space, but a deliberate, artificial change of our DNA.
NARRATOR: Could humans be the subject of a bioengineering project by extraterrestrials who use viruses from space to alter our evolution? And if so, could those viruses have been delivered to Earth in comets? Ancient astronaut theorists point to a curious event in our evolutionary history: The moment humans almost went extinct.
Around 75,000 years ago, there was a bottleneck in human evolution.
It's suggested that the human population actually went down from millions down to just a few thousand.
This is certainly something that genetics backs up.
And we have to ask ourselves what was going on at this time.
PHILIP IMBROGNO: Originally, geologists believed that that bottleneck of humanity was caused by the supervolcano in, uh, Sumatra exploding.
Now, recent finds have indicated that's not the case and they're leaning more towards a virus, a plague, that was genetically programmed for early humans.
Wiped them out.
NARRATOR: One controversial theory is that the cause of this bottleneck event was not just a virus, but a virus that was brought to Earth on a comet.
According to this theory, a comet slammed into the planet with such devastating force, that it created a nuclear winter killing almost all human life on Earth.
Because those that could survive both the nuclear winter and the alien virus emerged as a profoundly altered and improved species.
It was immediately following this event that humans first began to leave evidence of symbolic thinking, art, music and advanced language.
Somehow, human beings reached another stage of evolution.
It was the transformation of the human brain.
Could it be, and we believe it did happen, that alien viruses infected Planet Earth at this inflection point of the extinction of the human species.
They implanted viruses in the human species that changed the brain.
NARRATOR: But could viruses really survive in the frozen vacuum of space? And if so, could they have come here not by accident, but as some kind of extraterrestrial invasion? Ancient astronaut theorists say yes and suggest further clues might be found by examining a controversial theory that comets, far from being lifeless, are brimming with alien microbes and they are headed our way.
NARRATOR: Boston, Massachusetts.
August 27, 1918.
Two sailors visit the sick bay at a seaside pier with frightening symptoms.
Their bodies are literally covered with dark splotches, they suffer from severe bleeding and they are foaming at the mouth.
The next day, eight more arrive with the same symptoms.
And, in just a few weeks, thousands die, as Boston falls into the grip of one of the deadliest viral outbreaks of all time, the Spanish flu.
FISHER: The 1918 Spanish flu epidemic is probably the worst epidemic in recorded human history.
Medical historians estimate that up to 20 million people, uh, died during that epidemic.
BIRNES: It didn't just focus on one group of people.
People from the very top echelon of society all the way to the working poor were struck down by the Spanish flu.
NARRATOR: Half a world away, the same influenza epidemic ravages populations across India.
Its starting point is traced back to the city of Bombay.
And there's a strange connection between these two outbreaks: They began on the same day.
One of the things that's not often discussed is that the great flu epidemic began on the same day in two different places: In Boston and on the other side of the world in Bombay.
Now, those are two spots on the Earth that are virtually on opposite ends and you have to wonder how that is possible because you can't travel, within a day, by ship from Boston to India.
And air travel, at the time, didn't exist.
IMBROGNO: How does an outbreak occur of the same virus on places so spread apart in 1918 in less than 24 hours? The answer is that the virus probably fell from space.
Perhaps the Earth was grazed by the tail of a comet and so that's why we had the outbreak of the epidemic on two sides of the planet.
NARRATOR: Until recently, it was believed that radiation, extreme temperatures and the vacuum of space That is to say, the absence of any oxygen Would kill any life-form.
- ASTRONAUT: Pressurization, go Atlas.
- ASTRONAUT 2: Go Centaur.
NARRATOR: But ever since humans first ventured into space, scientists have been finding evidence to the contrary.
NASA's unmanned Surveyor 3 lander touches down on the Moon and begins its mission collecting soil from the lunar surface.
Two years later, astronauts on the Apollo 12 mission recover parts of Surveyor 3 and return them to Earth.
To the astonishment of scientists, living strep bacteria is found on the probe.
But this is only the first of many cases of microorganisms surviving space travel.
HOOVER: There have been experiments in which microorganisms have been flown to the International Space Station and exposed to the hard vacuum and the radiation and the temperature changes of deep space.
And many of those organisms survived.
NARRATOR: Incredibly, several types of bacteria have thrived back on Earth after spending up to two years outside the International Space Station.
But even more surprisingly, this durability isn't reserved for single-celled organisms alone.
In September 2007, a Russian Soyuz rocket carried tiny animals called tardigrades into space to test their legendary ability to thrive in extreme environments.
HOOVER: Tardigrades are called water bears.
Uh, they're found in the polar regions on mosses and so forth, and they're beautiful little animals.
They have a very unusual life history, and there were experiments in which tardigrades were carried to the International Space Station, and they were found to survive exposure to the deep space environment.
And after they were brought back, there were several of the tardigrades that were still alive.
Now, in the last 20 years, it was shown beyond any doubt that microbes are essentially born space travelers.
They can survive almost any of the rigors that you can think of that would greet them in space.
High temperatures, high radiation, intense cooling and even intense heating.
It's also well established that microorganisms can very easily survive in bodies like comets and could well live in bodies like Europa and Enceladus because there is ice there, there is liquid water oceans underneath the icy crust.
NARRATOR: In recent years, astronomers are identifying more and more planets that could potentially harbor life.
Some believe that microbial life first evolved on one of these distant planets.
Eons later, meteor impacts blasted some of them into space, where they took root in comets.
But even if true, how could they descend to Earth and infect humans? HOOVER: We know for a fact that material from other bodies in our solar system is continually raining down on the surface of the planet Earth, and it could well be bringing with it dead and possibly even living microorganisms as it enters the Earth's atmosphere and then lands in oceans or lakes or streams of the planet.
NARRATOR: Could this explain many of the plagues that sickened and killed millions throughout history? In 2007, an international team of researchers set up a research facility in the Sierra Nevada mountains of Spain to collect data on microbes falling to Earth from the sky.
What they discovered remains controversial.
The total amount of viruses that were falling down on the Earth was something like 800 million individual viruses per square meter of the Earth.
The conclusion they came to, of course, was that this was essentially viruses that were lofted from the surface of the Earth, taken up to the clouds and brought back.
Now, I think some would have been recirculated in this way, but not all, and I feel that this is one of the most striking examples of science being essentially dishonest in its conclusions.
These 800 million viruses per square meter falling on the Earth must include viruses that are coming from outside.
NARRATOR: Although some scientists believe that life on Earth actually originated with microbes that rained down from comets, a theory known as panspermia, an even more controversial theory called directed panspermia proposes that these comets were sent here not by accident, but deliberately.
If I'm an alien species, and I want to start a colony on a different planet, think of what we're doing now.
We want to send human beings back to the Moon.
We want to send human beings to Mars.
What if that's not what they did? What if the ancient aliens didn't send complete life-forms, but sent submicroscopic life-forms? NARRATOR: Mainstream scientists remain skeptical that microbes can survive for thousands of years inside icy comets, much less that they might be sent to Earth deliberately to alter human evolution.
But others argue that the proof can be found right here on Earth, in the closest environment we have to comets: The icy depths of glaciers.
TSOUKALOS: April 17, 2019.
Ancient astronaut theorist Giorgio Tsoukalos and retired NASA scientist Dr.
Richard Hoover are about to board a helicopter bound for a massive ice cave in the Canadian wilderness.
All right, you ready for this? - Yes, absolutely.
- All right.
Hoover spent most of his career studying fossils for signs of extraterrestrial microscopic life, and is a leading proponent of panspermia, the idea that life on Earth originally rained down from comets in outer space.
He has invited Giorgio to accompany him while he investigates the Whistler ice cave I always love this.
NARRATOR: Where he is confident they will find the glacial ice teeming with microbial and perhaps even more sophisticated life-forms.
Life-forms that may be thousands of years old.
HOOVER: Oh, this is just - absolutely magnificent.
- It really is.
NARRATOR: If alien viruses are reaching Earth, Dr.
Hoover suggests that those that don't find a host could survive within such an environment for long periods of time.
Today, he'll examine the glacier for the perfect samples to analyze in his laboratory.
So, Richard, how excited are you to be here to conduct this experiment? (chuckles): Well, I'm tremendously excited.
- This-this is absolutely a-a marvelous opportunity - Yeah.
To do more studies of life in ice.
NARRATOR: After a 20-minute helicopter ride, the team arrives at the Whistler ice cave in the Pemberton glacier.
- This is incredible.
- HOOVER: Yeah, amazing.
HOOVER: Look at that.
There must be a thousand shades of blue in this ice cave.
Just absolutely fantastic.
And here we see all of these magnificent shades of blue, and up there you see big streaks of black.
Glaciers like to eat rocks, and as they eat rocks, the rocks gather inside, and when the sun shines through the ice and hits the rocks, it can cause it to melt and form nice little pools of water, and then when bacteria and algae grow in there and respire and produce their their photosynthetic products, they make their own atmosphere.
So, around every tiny rock in this glacier, there is a tiny planetary system with its own biology, its own atmosphere, its own soil, in effect.
And its own oceans.
NARRATOR: The ice here is tens of thousands of years old.
But Dr.
Hoover believes it is teeming with life.
I mean, this is, uh, spectacular.
So, you just described, basically, our environment - on a microscopic level.
- Exactly.
HOOVER: There is an enormous amount of biology above us and throughout this wonderful glacier.
What we're about to do is take a core sample of this beautiful blue ice.
TSOUKALOS: So, what are you looking for specifically - right now? - What I want to do first is chop away an outer layer and get into the inner ice.
We'll be looking inside of the ice for the ice microorganisms.
Now we know there can't possibly be any contamination, because this ice has been in the glacier and now is only freshly exposed.
And now we take the core.
Now we're into the ice.
I'll pull the ice core out.
- It's okay? - Mm-hmm.
And that's enough, right? - That's enough.
- Okay, great.
For that first sample.
- Yeah, cap that.
- Okay.
All the microorganisms that grow in ice typically grow very, very slowly.
So In fact, there are some microorganisms that only reproduce once every half a century, - or once a century.
- Mm-hmm.
So the microbes that are found in here, are they in suspended animation, or are they moving around? Probably both.
So, essentially, what you're saying is that this entire cave - is filled with life.
- Yes.
But not just that.
This entire ice cap is filled with life.
There is this enormous amount of microorganisms that live and thrive and love to live in these low temperatures of the of the ice cave that we have here, and ice caves and icy, uh, glaciers all over the planet Earth.
And probably all over icy regions within our entire solar system, and maybe maybe widely distributed throughout the entire universe.
Are we essentially inside the interior of a of a comet? - Is this what it looks like? - Well Yes.
Microorganisms can live in ice, and ice is the dominant component of comets.
Organisms can remain alive and protected by the icy material of the comet until it arrives into another solar system and blows off chunks of material that can find a planet that it can consider a wonderful home.
And so, this basically ties in to the whole idea of panspermia.
Water is a wonderful radiation shield.
And when you have a comet that is a few miles in diameter, on the inside of that cometary crust, there is all of this magnificent ice that has been frozen, and then reworked with material going in and out.
So comets are not just a magnificent place for panspermia.
I am convinced that comets are an absolutely wonderful place for the origin of life.
NARRATOR: Incredibly, Giorgio and Dr.
Hoover discover that the glacier isn't home to just microscopic life.
This is magnificent.
Look, these ice worms.
This one has just crawled out of the glacier.
- Oh, wow.
- He's deep in the ice.
Look at this.
Over here, two more ice worms.
They're all in here.
TSOUKALOS: He's clearly looking for something.
HOOVER: Yeah, he's hunting.
We discovered life in the most inhospitable of environments.
NARRATOR: Amazingly, Dr.
Hoover has found some of the rarest animals on Earth.
Ice worms only exist in a handful of locations in North America.
But how can animals live and thrive in frozen blocks of ice? So, how have these ice worms come about? HOOVER: This is an incredible evolutionary phenomenon.
They have apparently evolved to be able to live and grow and feed and reproduce inside of glacial ice and snow.
They are feeding on algae, cyanobacteria and other bacteria that live in the ice, and they can make burrows through the ice, just like an earthworm makes burrows through the soil.
And we may see similar kinds of organisms on the polar cap of Mars, or perhaps even in craters on the moon, or perhaps the icy moons of our solar system, like Europa and Enceladus.
You know, it's kind of incredible, because we came here in the hopes of finding microbial life, and here we are looking at ice worms, which are actual animals.
So this is more than what we'd hoped for.
It-it's incredible.
NARRATOR: As Giorgio and Dr.
Hoover take their samples to a lab to be analyzed, what kind of life-forms might they find within the Pemberton glacier? Could it support the theory that life on comets is more common than we ever thought possible? And if so, is it just the random byproduct of a universe that is teeming with various forms of life? Or is it part of a more strategic plan? A plan deliberately designed to alter human evolution? NARRATOR: Ancient astronaut theorist Giorgio Tsoukalos - TSOUKALOS: See anything? -HOOVER: Oh, yes, yes.
And retired NASA scientist Dr.
Richard Hoover have just collected deep ice core samples from the Pemberton glacier in Whistler, Canada.
First sample that we got.
NARRATOR: Now back in the lab, they are hoping to observe microorganisms that remain dormant within the glacial ice and are just now returning to life for the first time in thousands of years.
- See anything? - Oh, yes.
Oh, yes, yes.
We've got bacteria.
This is fantastic.
I mean, look at this one spinning right here.
This one just moved straight across the screen.
And this one is tumbling.
And notice there's a cell that has just undergone cell division.
Here's another one that's - just undergone cell division.
- Okay.
The quest for extraterrestrial life, to me, has been a lifelong one, as it has been with you.
So I've traveled around the world, climbing pyramids.
I've looked at statues, I've been to hundreds of museums.
I've read countless ancient texts.
And here, we are looking at something that shows extraterrestrial life that may have come here millions of years ago.
The fascinating thing is that a far more extraordinary hypothesis than the existence of extraterrestrial life is the hypothesis that life exists on the planet Earth and nowhere else in the universe.
If that were to turn out to be what really is the case, then we would be completely unique, and we would be different from everywhere else in the universe.
And that would be an amazing discovery.
Much more amazing than finding out that bacteria or ice worms are crawling around on the surface of Europa today.
This is incredibly fascinating, you know.
And it's also refreshing to hear an actual NASA scientist telling me these things.
NARRATOR: If, as Dr.
Hoover's research indicates, icy comets are ideal incubators for extraterrestrial life, and if microorganisms are incredibly common in the universe, is the Earth being regularly bombarded by tiny alien life-forms? Life-forms that could not only grow and mutate, but could also pose a deadly threat to mankind? Sussex, England, 1992.
Cattle are slaughtered by the thousands as government officials try to prevent the spread of the most frightening new disease on Earth called "mad cow disease.
" It is an entirely new kind of illness caused by bizarre proteins called prions.
FISHER: So, mad cow really sort of challenged our, uh, traditional concepts of disease causation in the sense that it wasn't a bacterium, wasn't a virus.
It's actually sort of like rogue proteins that don't fold correctly and sort of pass on that information to other proteins, and that sort of makes them dysfunctional as well.
NARRATOR: Some of the microbes found in cometary debris contain chemical structures very similar to prions.
HOOVER: They could have been introduced from space because of the fact that mad cow disease seemed to have appeared rather abruptly and been transferred rather widely.
NARRATOR: According to ancient astronaut theorists, the sudden appearance of mad cow disease raises an intriguing question.
Could many of history's worst epidemics have come from space? And if so, did they come here purely by chance, or were they sent here on purpose? BIRNES: What if the terrible plagues that ravaged the Earth were the result of alien viruses that are constantly bombarding the planet? NARRATOR: August 26, 1976.
The small village of Yambuku in Zaire is struck by a deadly disease that causes victims to ooze blood from every orifice.
The name of the disease: Ebola.
Ebola is a viral hemorrhagic fever of humans and other primates, so it causes, like, massive internal bleeding and often death in, like, over 50% of cases.
NARRATOR: Initially thought to be a new disease, alert historians recognized the symptoms of Ebola as being identical to those of an epidemic that ravaged the Roman Empire nearly 2,000 years ago.
In 250 AD, the Plague of Cyprian struck the city of Carthage in North Africa.
Incredibly contagious, it caused infected victims to ooze blood from every orifice, just like Ebola virus, and killed off half the population.
But just as quickly as it appeared, the plague seemed to disappear completely from the planet.
If Ebola is present on Earth in the third century, then disappears all the way through to the 1970s, if it isn't somewhere hiding on Earth, is it possible that it was out in space itself? Perhaps on a comet? And that this is the reason why it returned on a comet itself to rain down more misery on humanity? NARRATOR: Was the virus that we know as Ebola really dormant for nearly 20 centuries? Or was it deliberately sent to Earth not once but twice? As far as ancient astronaut theorists are concerned, the answer is obvious.
And as proof, they point to accounts concerning another of history's worst plagues: The Black Death.
TSOUKALOS: What's interesting about these accounts is that they seem to have originated after something strange was seen up in the sky.
For example, they saw this black shield travel across, and then it is also described that this black dust came off that particular object.
IMBROGNO: Also, in the wheat fields, they reported these strange figures holding some type of device, like a sickle.
Some people feel today these reports were some types of extraterrestrials causing the disease.
NARRATOR: Ironically, with half the population gone, those who survived the plague enjoyed twice the wealth and natural resources of the previous generation.
They also had much stronger immune systems.
So, could this have been part of some deliberate extraterrestrial plan? Ancient astronaut theorists believe that such an audacious notion is possible.
If you're an alien culture and you're seeing Earth overpopulating to the point where the planet can't sustain the population, - what do we do with animals in the wild? - (gunshot) We cull them.
What if these plagues were alien cultures culling us? BARA: Well, these could actually be designer viruses, designer bacteria that are sent here to kill people with specific genetic weaknesses and make the rest of the gene pool that much stronger.
NARRATOR: But if extraterrestrials are trying to cull our population or strengthen our genetic makeup through the introduction of microbes, why? Some ancient astronaut theorists suspect that the ultimate objective is to make us more like them.
July 2013.
Scientists announce the discovery of an entirely new class of extremely large microbes called Pandoraviruses.
Up to 94% of the Pandoravirus genome has nothing in common with any other life-form on Earth.
FISHER: These very large viruses, the Pandoraviruses, they have a very high frequency of genes that basically don't correspond to any other genes in-in other organisms that we know of.
NARRATOR: While seemingly alien, Pandoraviruses do share one thing in common with all life on Earth: DNA.
Those who endorse panspermia say that this supports a key part of their hypothesis.
Namely, that all life in the universe is based on DNA, and therefore, that life on Earth is closely related to life everywhere.
If DNA is present throughout space and we are a product of that DNA and the other species elsewhere in the galaxy are also the result of the same DNA, then very clearly there's some kind of symbiotic relationship between all of us.
NARRATOR: If all life in the universe is based on DNA, then aliens would be closely related to humans.
Is this why so many abductees report that their alien abductors are so interested in human genetic material? Many abductees have talked about how they were taken on board UFOs and subjected to medical experimentation.
Witnesses talk about blood, sperm, eggs being removed from their bodies.
IMBROGNO: It's very possible that an alien intelligence is tinkering with our DNA to try to make us more compatible to them.
And that perhaps one day, the two species will unite.
And they will no longer be our gods, but we will be their equals.
BARA: If aliens are using these microbes to make us more like them, then obviously we're gonna start to show signs of that sort of genetic physical evolution.
In other words, our testosterone levels should go down, we're going to become more frail, we're probably going to become more androgynous.
Our intelligence is gonna be spiked.
NARRATOR: Some point out that these changes are happening already.
BIRNES: There are trends in the evolution of human beings right now.
Sperm counts are going down.
Sperm counts are going down, by the way, as the world's population is crashing through eight billion to ten billion.
BARA: Maybe we'll become more like the aliens, and perhaps that means that we're actually more compatible with them genetically, if that path is the one that's laid out.
So, you could actually look at the development of higher intelligence as, again, kind of a genetic Trojan horse that eventually leads us to a point where it's far easier for us to be crossed genetically with alien species.
NARRATOR: Could human beings be the subjects of an ingenious bioengineering project conducted by extraterrestrials? Ancient astronaut theorists believe that not only is the answer yes, but that this process, while at times painful, will ultimately benefit humanity.
But they also warn that the extraterrestrials may have another agenda, one that doesn't benefit us, but them.
NARRATOR: The scientific journal Current Biology reports that biologists at the University of Rochester have solved the mystery of the pea aphid, a tiny sap-sucking insect that is normally wingless but periodically develops wings when it needs to seek out new plants to colonize.
What they found is that the genes that form the on/off switch for wings belong to a virus, the genome of which has become fully incorporated into that of its host.
The researchers suggest that while this is beneficial to the aphid, it is actually the virus that induces wing development in order to spread itself around.
NARRATOR: Similarly, it was also found in 2019 that many wasps carry a virus that increases their longevity, enabling the virus to be spread further.
FISHER: Viruses sort of straddle our concepts of living or nonliving because they require a host in order to reproduce themselves and also to carry out any life function.
So they can't metabolize or utilize their own energy.
They have to rely on a host cell to do that and to make copies of themselves as well.
NARRATOR: On its own, a virus is inert.
It only comes to life and is able to reproduce once it comes in contact with a host.
Like the viruses themselves, if extraterrestrials are altering humans, is it perhaps to further their own species? Are they slowly transforming us into new incarnations of themselves, not to advance humankind, but their own kind? Perhaps.
But some ancient astronaut theorists suggest that, as is the case with the aphid and also the wasp, this process might be mutually beneficial.
POPE: One theory is that these extraterrestrial visitors, they are a dying race, and that they are injecting new genetic material which will help save them.
Another related theory is Let's take human DNA, let's take alien DNA, and let's create something even better.
TSOUKALOS: I think that humankind has been part of a eternal experiment, something that's begun a long, long time ago, and I think that this is an ongoing process.
Now, figuring out what the change is, is your guess is as good as mine.
COLLINS: If we find that viruses do come from space, then we know that because there is a relationship between viruses and evolution, that this is something that must be universal.
It's something that connects us with every other possible life source everywhere out there in the universe.
NARRATOR: Is it possible that the history of disease on our planet is not only a human story, but an extraterrestrial one? As far as ancient astronaut theorists are concerned, the answer is a profound "yes.
" And if such a notion is true, they insist that these so-called "alien infections" are not meant to destroy us, but to serve as a kind of inoculation, a preparation for the day when mankind comes face-to-face with its alien relatives.

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