Ancient Aliens s14e19 Episode Script

Human Hieroglyphs

1 NARRATOR: Sacred tattoos.
These are primeval symbols that speak to something in us that's very deep-seated and very universal.
NARRATOR: Severe body modifications.
BILL BIRNES: The tribespeople sharpen the edges of their teeth to look like serpents.
NARRATOR: Extreme adornments.
JONATHAN YOUNG: Girls in the Kayan culture stretched out their necks with brass rings to emulate their sacred ancestor.
NARRATOR: Could these metamorphic alterations of the flesh represent more than mere self-expression or even acts of religious tribute? Might they contain a message critical to the future of mankind? GIORGIO A.
TSOUKALOS: The reason why they did this to their bodies is in order to gain the strength of the gods that they tried to imitate.
WILLIAM HENRY: We now have technology that is equal to what we see the gods using in these ancient stories.
Maybe now we're gonna be able to turn ourselves into a species just like the gods.
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.
Tattooed and pierced Italian fashion model Cristian Mignemi makes a bold and permanent decision to transform the sclera, or whites of his eyes, into black.
He claims he wants to appear more otherworldly.
Cristian Mignemi is a very forward-thinking person in fashion, by choosing to go to the extreme of coloring his eyes completely black, looking almost alien-like.
This is a trend happening across the board.
Body modifications, tattooing, piercing, all types of adornments to change the physical appearance of our bodies.
It's almost as if humanity, in a fashion sense, is gearing themselves to look more alien.
MITCH HOROWITZ: People feel liberated by the idea that they can appear extrahuman in some way.
They can look like something extraterrestrial or they can look like something primeval.
There's something self-dramatizing and empowering about it.
(buzzing) NARRATOR: Today, tattoos and piercings account for a nearly $1 billion industry.
Trending modification practices like ear elongation and branding the skin are all on the rise.
But what could motivate someone to alter their body in such a way? The way we adorn our bodies is essentially telling a story and sending messages.
The fact that more and more people are expressing themselves through body art, it tells a bigger story on a cultural level.
Now that we're so connected through the Internet, it's easy to find inspiration from others and what other people are doing in body art practices.
Symbols communicate things that we're not quite able to put into words.
It goes beyond just wanting to make a statement about one's individuality.
It demonstrates what you believe in.
NARRATOR: While tattoos, piercings and body modification are modern forms of personal expression, they also hearken back to humanity's ancient past and mirror the practices of many so-called primitive tribes that exist around the world today.
A lot of what we do finds inspiration in ancient roots from all over the world.
These are things that we've seen on, say, like, National Geographic and books and on TV over the years.
And they've inspired newer forms of body modification and body art expression.
NARRATOR: Rites of passage, like skin stretching, have been seen throughout history in different parts of the world.
The revered Buddha, the Dayak of Borneo, the ancient Rapa Nui of Easter Island and the modern Fulani tribe of West Africa all have colorful histories of ritual ear stretching.
The contemporary Mursi women of Ethiopia, tribes of the Amazon and the earlier Botocudo people of coastal Brazil all share a history of skin stretching for decorative lip plates.
But are these practices being adopted by mainstream society simply as a fashion trend, a bold form of self-expression? Or could it be motivated by a profound link to our ancient past? TSOUKALOS: When people have tattoos, it's something meaningful.
And so my question is not, today, why do we tattoo ourselves? I ask the question, when did we first tattoo ourselves, and then why? (wind blowing) NARRATOR: September 9, 1991.
11,000 feet high in the Otztal Alps.
Two German climbers near the Austrian-Italian border happen upon a frozen corpse.
Scientists call him the Tyrolean Iceman, or Otzi, and place his time of death between 3400 and 3100 BC.
What we find so amazing about Otzi, he's very well preserved.
So well preserved that scientists and anthropologists can even tell that he had a lot of medical conditions.
And that leads us to Otzi's tattoos.
NARRATOR: In 2015, more than two decades after the initial discovery, scientists were able to make a more detailed scan of the Iceman's epidermis.
The results were extraordinary.
ANDREW COLLINS: Under examination, it was found that Otzi the Iceman had, in fact, 61 different tattoos over his body, and almost all of these took the form of parallel lines, either two together, three together.
In one case, seven together.
BARRETTA: These tattoos, it's amazing.
They are actually located on acupuncture points throughout the body.
Most of them are on the joints, the lower back, the thoracic area, the chest.
And what that tells us is he had some knowledge of healing.
NARRATOR: Acupuncture is a traditional form of Chinese medicine involving the pricking of the skin with needles along the body's neurohormonal meridians to alleviate pain and treat various medical conditions.
Traditional historians place the origin of acupuncture in China at approximately 100 BC.
Acupuncture did not exist as a formal system of therapeutic treatment in China, uh, at the time that Otzi received his tattoos on the other side of the globe.
HENRY: So, where did Otzi get these tattoos that were made with the knowledge of acupuncture points on the body? DAVID CHILDRESS: We think acupuncture's from China, but here's something even older and from the Alps.
CAROLINE CORY: The fact that we find these tattoos at specific meridian points tells us that this civilization knew of the meridians in the body, understood how energy runs in the body, which is quite an advanced process for that time.
So, where did this knowledge come from? Is it possible that it came from some kind of higher source, downloaded into the healers of the time? Is it possible that acupuncture is really coming from extraterrestrials? NARRATOR: Could the Tyrolean Iceman point to the possibility that tattooing originated as a result of contact with extraterrestrial visitors? While it may sound far-fetched, ancient astronaut theorists suggest that some of the most popular tattoos found in both the ancient and modern world contain symbolism connected to the cosmos.
HOROWITZ: Some of the earliest yearnings of our ancient ancestors was to recognize and connect themselves to the cosmos, to the movement of celestial objects, to the cycles of the seasons.
In modern tattoo art, we're not only seeing a proliferation of celestial images, whether the Sun, the stars, the phases of the Moon, astrological symbols, but we're also starting to see E.
T.
images.
These are primeval symbols that speak to something in us that's very deep-seated and very universal.
Tattooing or body modification can be a way of remembering one's ancestors, remembering one's connection with the cosmos.
NARRATOR: A yearning to connect with the cosmos is perhaps as old as civilization itself.
And ancient astronaut theorists suggest that tattoos represent far more than merely a symbolic representation of this.
They believe that the desire to alter the flesh through tattooing and other means may be embedded deep in the subconscious mind and that perhaps the origin of this human need can be found encoded in the well-preserved skin of Egypt's mummies.
NARRATOR: Deir el-Medina, Egypt.
Using modern imaging equipment, Dr.
Anne Austin scans the body of a female mummy dating back as far as 1300 BC.
What she finds is unexpected and contradicts long-held beliefs regarding female roles in ancient Egyptian society.
One particular torso was a human female who had the image of Hathor tattooed onto her body.
In ancient Egypt, having the tattoo of Hathor on your body would clearly be an indication of your status as a priestess of Hathor and as a person who's not just a representative of Hathor but maybe in direct contact with the goddess, as well.
BARRETTA: Prior to finding these mummies, it was believed that women in Egypt were only tattooed if they were prostitutes or dancers.
We see that, no, these were most likely, you know, priestesses.
The tattoos relate to a deity, to a sky god, Hathor.
The symbol for Hathor would sometimes be the head of a cow, horns, a disc in the center.
The Egyptian tattoos are very symbolic of their close association with the cosmos.
They were very in tune with their gods.
They felt, through these symbols, they were communicating with the gods.
NARRATOR: The Egyptian goddess Hathor is an earlier incarnation of Isis, considered the primeval goddess from whom all others were derived.
In the Temple of Hathor in Dendera, the goddess is depicted sailing in a ship of eternity along the night waters Not of the Nile but of the Milky Way.
TSOUKALOS: Dendera is one of the most important ancient Egyptian sites.
It clearly depicts travel through the sky with the so-called sun barges.
And our ancestors knew that ships do not fly across the sky or across the Sun.
So why would they describe barges that came down from the sky? What is depicted in Dendera are the extraterrestrials as they're traveling across the sky.
NARRATOR: Is it possible that the mummy found at Deir el-Medina was tattooed with symbols representing extraterrestrial visitors to Earth? TSOUKALOS: My idea is that the ancient Egyptians worshipped those symbols because not only did they have to illustrate that they were of the ruling class but also that they had a direct connection, or so they thought, to Hathor.
The reason why they put that on their bodies is in order to gain the strength of the gods that they tried to imitate.
And these gods were flesh-and-blood extraterrestrials.
NARRATOR: Do the tattoos found on the mummies at Deir el-Medina reveal attempts to connect with the power of a god or an extraterrestrial being? And did the ancient Egyptians permanently mark their flesh in order to honor divine beings or leave a lasting commemoration of contact with otherworldly visitors? HOROWITZ: Humanity has always used symbols and sigils and cryptography to convey messages.
BARRETTA: The Egyptians realized there was a lot of power in symbols, and they knew how to use these symbols when they would tattoo.
We have to wonder, was it to communicate with the gods through their tattoos? To emulate the gods? To embody the gods? NARRATOR: The cow and disc representing Hathor was not the only tattoo discovered on the mummies at Deir el-Medina.
One of the bodies also bore another powerful symbol.
BARRETTA: She had the Eye of Horus.
And they say the Eye of Horus is composed of six parts which relate to our six senses.
Not the five we think we have.
We have six.
Sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch and thought.
But what is thought? Is that extrasensory thought? Is that the way we communicate nonverbally? So, the Eye of Horus also has a very magical type of element to it.
HOROWITZ: The all-seeing eye or the Eye of Horus as it was depicted in ancient Egypt was one of the holiest of symbols.
It served to remind the individual that human life is incomplete without some sort of higher vision or without the awareness of providence of a higher world.
That was a central idea, uh, to the ancient Egyptians.
CHILDRESS: The Eye of Horus is the eye of God that sees everything.
We're talking about an Egyptian god who's quite possibly an extraterrestrial.
NARRATOR: Many of the symbols found on ancient mummies, like the Eye of Horus, have been used as tattoo designs for centuries and are still popular with tattoo enthusiasts today.
But why do they endure? Is it possible that a simple but iconic image of an eye devised more than 3,000 years ago still speaks to humans today because we intuitively understand the power behind it? HOROWITZ: People adorn themselves with bodily art, tattoos or body modification without knowing why that pentagram or why that obelisk or why that pyramid speaks so deeply to them.
If you ask them, they might not be able to give you a very clear answer, but their experience of that symbol is answer enough.
It inspires awe.
It tells us that we come from something larger.
NARRATOR: Could the tattoos of our ancestors contain a record of humanity's past and messages meant for us to decode today? Perhaps the answer can be found by examining not just tattoos but far more extreme body modifications.
NARRATOR: Tanna Island.
Every year on February 15, residents of the Pacific island chain of Vanuatu gather together here for a military-style parade with "U.
S.
A.
" painted and sometimes even tattooed on their chests.
It is a tradition that began more than 60 years ago and is inspired by events that took place during World War II, when American forces descended upon the remote island chain with modern machinery and supplies.
During the Second World War, when the Americans reached the Pacific, um, and took over many of the islands, supplies would be dropped from aircraft or brought in on landing strips.
And this brought many new things to these local populations, everything from canned foods to manufactured clothing to other items they'd never seen before.
NARRATOR: The native people, who had never encountered this type of modern civilization, were awed by these visitors from the sky, who brang with them food and gifts.
All the aboriginals were fascinated.
They'd light up a cigarette.
Hold out a voice recorder, record their voice.
The aboriginals thought this was all magic.
YOUNG: They had never seen great ships and the goods, the-the weapons.
Arthur C.
Clarke's third law is: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
" NARRATOR: After the war in the Pacific concluded, the U.
S.
soldiers left the islands, and overnight, the bounty of technology and modern luxuries was gone.
In memory of the American soldiers and in the hope that it would bring about their return, the natives formed a cult devoted to the people who had visited them from the sky.
The people would try and recreate the circumstances that brought this cargo to them.
They started to create replica items associated with the Americans and their presence, even rifles.
MARTELL: They would scrape away runways and make straw models of the planes that landed to try and lure the soldiers to once again land and bring all their amazing technology.
Every religious experience begins with the miraculous.
Some individual or group will have an experience where they feel they have witnessed something or undergone something that is outside of the ordinary.
And they will create monuments to that experience, whether it is the statue of a deity, whether it is a pyramid, whether it is a cathedral.
We see this across history and all over the world to this very day.
NARRATOR: Is it possible that, much like the so-called cargo cults in the South Pacific, ancient people also constructed monuments and even entire religions based on interactions with visitors from the sky? MARTELL: The term "cargo cult" is very interesting when applied to the ancient astronaut theory, because we can see that even in modern times how man has interacted with things coming from the sky or other technology they didn't understand.
This has been playing out for thousands of years here on Earth.
NARRATOR: If extraterrestrial visitation inspired the ancient people to build temples in a certain fashion and attempt to reproduce misunderstood technology, could it also have motivated them to tattoo and otherwise modify their bodies similar to how the people of Vanuatu adorn their chests with the letters "U.
S.
A.
," continuing to imitate the soldiers who visited before most of the islanders were even born? Ancient astronaut theorists suggest additional evidence that cargo cult practices include body modifications can be found by examining numerous other cultures throughout the world that also undergo extreme body alterations.
In Brazil, the Kayapo worship a god they call Bep Kororoti, who they depict in ceremonies with a straw suit that is eerily reminiscent of a modern-day spacesuit.
Their traditions include intricate body painting, face tattooing, lip stretching and peculiar haircuts, all to harness the power of this otherworldly being.
And perhaps the most extreme body modification of all is practiced by the Kayan people of Burma.
COLLINS: There is a tradition amongst the Kayan people of the women wearing these spiraling brass rings in their neck.
And they wear these throughout their life, and it can take many, many hours to actually put these coils in place.
There is a tradition that this female dragon had begun the dynasty of the Kayan people, and that the reason they do this is to resemble this dragon.
STEAVU: In Kayan foundational mythology, dragons play a very prominent role, that act as messengers between the world of the divine and the world of humans.
They are very powerful, magical creatures as well, and they're associated with ultimate knowledge.
Is it possible that this creature actually came from the sky world and was seen to be the influence behind the foundation of these people, a memory which they never forgot? NARRATOR: Could it be that there are cultures around the world today keeping alive an ancient story of alien visitation by altering their flesh? And is it possible that the growing trend of body modification in the modern world is due to a deep-seated memory of our extraterrestrial origins? Perhaps further clues can be found by examining one of the most peculiar practices of the ancient world: Head binding.
NARRATOR: Viacha, Bolivia.
November 2018.
Just 30 miles east of the mysterious ancient site of Puma Punku, archaeologists uncover 500-year-old tombs believed to have been built by a pre-Incan civilization called the Pacajes.
The remains of more than 100 people are discovered within, and a number of the skulls are found to have a very bizarre abnormality.
They appear dramatically elongated.
According to archaeologists, these specimens display evidence of a body modification practice called head binding.
The head can be changed in its shape.
Generally, it's elongated.
And this is done when a child is perhaps six months old through to the age of three.
And their heads are bound up, and this pushes the skull upwards and creates these bizarre shapes.
Just by gazing upon them, you can't help think alien, because that's what they truly look like.
NARRATOR: Curiously, this extreme form of body modification was widespread throughout the ancient world, occurring on nearly every continent and practiced by many cultures that are believed to have had no contact with one another.
This is a process that has been going on at least for the last 10,000 years and is found in every part of the world, from the Pacific islands to Australia, to the Near East, to the Americas.
And the strangest are those of Paracas in Peru.
Everywhere, we find this same process.
It seems as if it was mimicking people who originally existed that had long heads in the first place.
CHILDRESS: In Vanuatu, anthropologists asked the people who were still doing head binding up until the 1960s, and they asked them why they did that, and they said, "This is what the gods look like with these elongated heads.
" And if that is the explanation for head binding around the world, then who are these gods? They're apparently extraterrestrials who have a naturally elongated head that's just part of their DNA, and humans want to look like them.
NARRATOR: If ancient people did encounter extraterrestrials and perhaps even coexisted with them, might there have been something more profound at play than mere deification and imitation? Some ancient astronaut theorists believe that it may, in fact, be programmed into human DNA to want to become more like our alien ancestors.
And that ancient traditions of body modification and tattooing represent practice runs, preparing for the day when we could alter ourselves to actually become like the aliens.
Vancouver, British Columbia.
August 13, 2019.
Ancient astronaut theorist William Henry visits self-described transhumanist Russ Foxx - Yeah, he's in his room right there.
- Oh, thank you.
NARRATOR: To get a firsthand look at technology that proposes to transform the human race.
- FOXX: Hi, William.
- Hi.
How are you? I'm William Henry.
Pleasure to meet you.
Good to meet you.
Grab a seat.
- Thank you very much.
- This is Eric.
- Hi, Eric.
How are you? - Hi.
Nice to meet you.
Pleasure to meet you as well.
NARRATOR: In his 2015 book, The Skingularity Is Near, William Henry proposed that humankind is reaching a point where the body will be radically transformed.
Well, you came at a perfect time Eric is going to have an NFC chip installed today.
Fantastic.
I will begin by cleaning your hand.
NARRATOR: He is eager to investigate how this is already beginning to happen.
Russ prepares to implant Eric with a biocompatible glass tube FOXX: So we are ready to install the chip.
NARRATOR: Containing an NFC microchip.
FOXX: So the implant itself was pre-sterilized and loaded into a syringe, so it will be literally injected under the skin.
You now have a chip.
NARRATOR: NFC stands for "near-field communication," and it allows phones, tablets, laptops and other devices to easily share data with other NFC-equipped devices.
So, Russ, what-what technologies have you got implanted? I personally have a number of different chips in both of my hands, as well as a magnetic vision implant, an RFID and an NFC in either side - with different purposes.
- Mm-hmm.
This NFC chip has all of my business links and web URLs.
And this is a built-in business card.
So I can actually scan it with your phone and give you my contact info.
Just like that, and it brings up my contact info - and saves it in your phone.
- Wow.
Look at that.
So I've got your phone number.
I've got your contact details.
So, all of these things, you use it to start your motorcycle, get in your home I replaced my keys with these chips, so that way, I don't have to deal with losing or having keys stolen.
So these chips interact with a lot of different devices in my life.
I could bring you to my house and show you some of them.
- I'd love that.
- Let's go for a trip.
- Right on.
- Okay.
HENRY: Humanity has a long history of interaction with extraterrestrial beings who came here with technology.
And humans have long tried to imitate or be like the gods.
So I will wake up the bike with my RFID chip.
- I introduce it to the sensor.
- HENRY: Okay.
FOXX: And the bike is awake.
- Awesome.
Okay.
- Just like that.
HENRY: And now today, we have transhuman technology where we're augmenting the physical body in an effort to duplicate many of the capacities that we attribute to the ancient gods.
So, to access my home, - I scan my chip - Ah.
- And the door's unlocked.
We can enter.
- Very nice.
- After you.
- Thank you.
HENRY: What I'm hoping to see here by coming to Russ's home is to see the future.
Where is Russ going to go with this? What has he got access to in his own home, and-and how is that gonna change him? - So this is my dining room table.
- Okay.
Which doubles as an RFID-operated safe.
- Ah.
- What I do is I scan my RFID chip on top.
(lock clicks) A slip hinge and there's my drawer.
Ah, very nice.
Beautiful.
So these devices in here - are implantable technology pieces I have.
- Mm-hmm.
- And I will show you what they are.
- Fantastic.
So, this first device, this is called a North Sense.
This device is mounted to the body with piercings.
This device will vibrate whenever it faces magnetic north, essentially turning you into a human compass.
And here we have some magnet implants.
So, this is a small chip that encases tritium gas, and it will glow right through your skin.
And because it is, uh, radioactive material, it's not, um, battery powered.
It will constantly glow, and it has - a 12-year half-life.
- Wow.
At what point do we become more than human in the transhuman process? I think that we're-we're always going to be building on to our existing humanity, but it's important to appreciate our existing humanity.
We don't want to lose touch with that.
HENRY: When I look at Russ, I see someone who's on the cutting edge of our technology, but he's just the beginning of where we potentially can go with this.
We're talking about transforming humans into super beings.
NARRATOR: With the emergence of technology that can be implanted within the flesh, is humankind on the brink of possessing abilities similar to those described by ancient people in reference to their gods? Has body modification all been a preparation for this evolution? Perhaps further clues can be found by examining plans to merge tattoos with technology.
NARRATOR: Boulder, Colorado.
At the University of Colorado, Dr.
Carson Bruns and a team of scientists begins work on developing a new technology that promises to transform what it means to get ink "smart tattoos.
" BRUNS: We're trying to engineer new tattoo inks that will add new function to your skin.
The first one that we invented is a UV-sensitive tattoo ink.
It's basically invisible under normal lighting conditions, but when you go outside in intense sunshine and it gets exposed to the UV lights That high-energy part of sunshine that causes skin cancer and sunburn It turns blue and acts like an indicator that shows you that your skin is dangerously exposed to high levels of dangerous radiation.
NARRATOR: Dr.
Bruns has also created tattoo inks that change color as the body's temperature changes, essentially creating a human on board thermometer accessible at any time.
BRUNS: We can use nanotechnology to engineer tattoo particles so that they have special properties, like a thermal battery or a thermal storage type of mechanism.
And so one thing that you can imagine doing with a tattoo would be covering your entire body with a sort of thermal storage material that would keep your body at a comfortable temperature when you went out into the extreme heat or the extreme cold.
NARRATOR: Smart tattoos are even being engineered to monitor and treat health conditions.
BRUNS: If we have a chronic condition that needs drugs, we can envision a tattoo ink that slowly releases a drug or a hormone into your body that helps regulate either your blood chemistry or your mood.
I also envision tattoos that can really strengthen our skin, make our skin stronger to forces and-and damage.
The military may have a lot of use for full-body tattoos that can help protect soldiers, for example, from certain types of skin damage.
HENRY: Carson Bruns is doing fascinating work on the human skin.
He believes that we can change the nature of skin altogether, using skin as a new platform for technological development.
Humans have always tried to imitate the gods, and perhaps tattoos are a reflection of this.
In ancient times, they might have seen the gods wearing something like tattoos, and they started tattooing their own bodies in imitation of what the gods were wearing.
But today, we now have technology that is equal to what we see the gods using in these ancient stories.
Maybe now we're going to be able to turn ourselves into a species just like the gods.
NARRATOR: Is it possible that ancient people came into contact with more advanced beings that had smart tattoos much like those that are being developed today? Could these otherworldly visitors have had technology hidden within their skin, appearing as artwork? Conducting tattoos that we're working on are black right now, so it looks like an ordinary black tattoo pigment.
But you could even merge the technology with the art so that you could have a tattoo that looks like a normal artistic tattoo but has this hidden function as some kind of electronic or detecting device.
NARRATOR: As far as ancient astronaut theorists are concerned, with such technology, extraterrestrials could truly have appeared to be gods to ancient people.
And they believe humanity is very close to becoming like these alien ancestors.
Silicon Valley.
Futurist Elon Musk introduces a new technology venture aimed at what is known as "self-directed evolution.
" He calls it "Neuralink.
" By means of a special hypodermic needle, the company intends to inject an ultra thin mesh, called a "neuro lace," within the neocortex, forming a body of electrodes that are able to monitor brain function.
A neural lace uses microelectrodes they place inside of the brain that can actually read and write onto neurons.
It's a bidirectional informational exchange.
And it eventually will allow you to receive information from the Internet.
FOXX: Through the use of Neuralinking, we can connect brains through the Internet or through technology.
When this is the case, we can send thoughts to one another.
BRUNS: Another thing you could do, if you were able to read brain activity, would be to control devices remotely with your mind.
So, it would give us telekinesis in principle, as well.
NARRATOR: The technology that Elon Musk is developing could potentially also be applied to the human body in the form of tattoos.
Nanotechnology is allowing us to make electronics small enough so when tattooable electronics come online, you can do things like a scalp tattoo.
If we're able to read brain activity from this sort of seamless and permanent interface in our skin, you could imagine a new form of communication, almost sort of a technological telepathy.
NARRATOR: Is humanity nearing a time when we will no longer be a cargo cult Unknowingly mimicking a far more advanced civilization that once visited Earth But will, in fact, become just like these extraterrestrial visitors? Have we evolved from imitation to replication? Perhaps further clues can be found by examining new developments in body modification designed to facilitate space travel.
ATOR: In the 21st century, tattoos and body modifications are no longer fringe and no longer merely decorative.
Technology implanted within the flesh can facilitate superhuman abilities.
But of greatest interest to ancient astronaut theorists is the role that smart tattoos could potentially play in space travel.
BRUNS: The next generation of space suits are gonna be embedded with a lot more technologies, and it's possible to make tattoos that can interact with the space suit.
You can imagine even a space suit that would be able to read out information that those tattoos are providing and send them back to mission control.
NARRATOR: Scientists are even beginning to develop technology that could make space suits obsolete.
We can use nanotechnology to engineer tattoo particles so that they have special properties covering your entire body.
Super skin, E-skin, I-skin is skin that is enhanced or laced with technology.
Since 2002, the U.
S.
military has been very interested in creating a new skin for the military.
This augmentation will transform us from humans into the next level of evolution, augmenting the body to make us smarter, to make us stronger.
BRUNS: We're gonna keep improving the technologies, and we're gonna keep embedding them more and more intimately with our bodies to improve our abilities as humans and ultimately give us more power.
NARRATOR: But if the first humans to apply tattoos to their flesh and perform other body modifications, such as head binding, were attempting to imitate extraterrestrials, are the technological enhancements we're making to our bodies today part of our destiny? And if so, where does it lead? HENRY: Through nanotechnology, we can augment the skin to make it more adaptable to living in space.
To make us smarter, to make us stronger, to make us more resilient.
We're able to become like the gods through the implantation of this technology.
BARRETTA: When you take it right back to its roots, tattooing is very transformative and has a lot of roots in what we would call magic.
And our ancient ancestors were very much in tune with the cosmos.
And what we're doing right now, we're bringing this back to the magical modality that it is.
This adornment now Is this making us more extraterrestrial-like? SCOTT: Any advanced alien species that makes it across the galaxy is going to have learned how to self-direct their evolution.
We are augmenting our bodies and moving forward with our evolution.
NARRATOR: Is there a message about humanity's future encoded in our very flesh and our attempts to alter it? Could it be that tattoos, piercings and body modifications are inspired by extraterrestrial visitors from the past? Perhaps we are just now arriving at a destiny that has been foretold through human hieroglyphs.
One in which we will become the equals of our alien ancestors.