Hollywood gets it wrong! What First Contact with Aliens would REALLY be like

Arvin Ash
22 Jan 202218:34

TLDRThe video script explores the scientific perspective on first contact with extraterrestrial life, contrasting it with common Hollywood depictions. It asserts that life likely exists elsewhere in the universe due to the presence of Earth-like chemical building blocks on exoplanets. The script suggests that first contact would likely occur through detection of biosignatures on exoplanets using instruments like the James Webb Space Telescope, followed by communication, intellectual exchange, and potentially physical contact. It emphasizes the importance of careful management of biological interactions to avoid cross-contamination and highlights the potential for profound scientific and philosophical implications of such contact.


  • 🎬 Hollywood often portrays aliens as either hostile monsters or divine beings, but these depictions may not reflect reality.
  • 🌌 Science suggests that life likely exists elsewhere in the universe, given the prevalence of Earth-like conditions and chemical building blocks.
  • 🌟 The elements that make up our bodies are among the most abundant in the universe, indicating a cosmic connection.
  • 🔍 First Contact with extraterrestrial life is more likely to involve detection of life on exoplanets, rather than direct physical interaction.
  • 🔭 The James Webb Space Telescope may be able to detect biosignatures in the atmospheres of exoplanets, hinting at life beyond Earth.
  • 🚀 Communication with extraterrestrial life, if it occurs, would likely be slow due to the vast distances and require learning an alien language.
  • 🌐 Intellectual exchange with an alien civilization could involve sharing our culture and scientific knowledge, and learning about theirs.
  • 🤝 Physical contact with aliens is possible but would need to be managed carefully to avoid biological contamination and potential harm.
  • 🌿 Earth's resources are not unique or particularly valuable on a cosmic scale, reducing the likelihood of an alien invasion for exploitation.
  • 🤔 The possibility of life elsewhere challenges human uniqueness and could lead to significant philosophical and religious reassessments.
  • ⏳ First Contact is inevitable with time and effort, and while it may not drastically change everyday life immediately, it holds profound implications for our understanding of the universe.

Q & A

  • What is the common portrayal of aliens in science fiction movies?

    -In science fiction movies, aliens are often depicted as either the antagonists who want to destroy Earth or as god-like beings with advanced knowledge and technology.

  • What is the scientific perspective on the existence of life in outer space?

    -From a scientific perspective, the existence of life in outer space is considered highly likely due to the presence of life on Earth and the chemical building blocks of life found in other solar systems.

  • What are the four different ways of First Contact with extraterrestrials mentioned in the script?

    -The four ways of First Contact mentioned are: 1. First Detection, 2. First Conversation or exchange of messages, 3. Intellectual First Contact, and 4. Physical/Biological First Contact.

  • How might the James Webb Space Telescope contribute to the detection of extraterrestrial life?

    -The James Webb Space Telescope, being more sensitive than the Hubble Space Telescope, could potentially detect biosignatures in the atmospheres of exoplanets, indicating the presence of life.

  • What is the significance of Glycine in the context of life in the universe?

    -Glycine is an amino acid that is important for life on Earth and has also been observed in vast molecular clouds in outer space, suggesting that the building blocks of life are widespread throughout the universe.

  • Why might the actual First Contact with aliens be different from what is portrayed in movies?

    -Actual First Contact is likely to be more scientific and less dramatic than movie portrayals. It could involve detecting biosignatures, exchanging messages, sharing knowledge, and possibly physical interaction, but not necessarily involving invasion or conflict.

  • What are some of the reasons that the search for extraterrestrial life focuses on the detection of certain gases in exoplanet atmospheres?

    -The detection of certain gases like ammonia, nitrous oxide, and oxygen, which are biosignature gases, can indicate the presence of life. These gases are typically produced by living organisms and can be evidence of life on exoplanets.

  • How might the process of intellectual First Contact between humans and extraterrestrials work?

    -Intellectual First Contact would involve the exchange of ideas, cultures, and scientific knowledge. This would likely be done through electromagnetic radiation like radio waves, which have infinite reach and are ubiquitous in the universe.

  • What are the potential risks associated with physical or biological First Contact with extraterrestrial life?

    -The potential risks include the possibility of cross-contamination with alien microbes, which could be harmful to both humans and the extraterrestrial lifeforms due to our immune systems not being adapted to fight such pathogens.

  • Why is it unlikely that extraterrestrials would be interested in Earth's natural resources?

    -It is unlikely because many of Earth's valued resources, such as water, oil, coal, forests, and iron, are abundant elsewhere in the universe. Extraterrestrials capable of interstellar travel would likely have access to these resources on other, less defended bodies.

  • How might the discovery of extraterrestrial life impact society and our understanding of the universe?

    -The discovery could lead to significant social and philosophical changes, challenging human uniqueness and anthropocentric views of the universe. It might also drive scientific advancements as we learn from the extraterrestrial lifeforms about their world and their scientific discoveries.



🌌 The Reality of Alien Life and First Contact

The video begins by acknowledging the sponsorship of RoboForm Password Manager and then delves into the common portrayal of aliens in science fiction as either malevolent or divine. It challenges the skepticism around these depictions and questions their basis in reality. The video asserts that life likely exists elsewhere in the universe, given the presence of Earth-like chemical building blocks in other solar systems. It emphasizes that Earth is not unique and that the same processes that led to life on Earth could have occurred elsewhere. The discussion also touches on the possibility of technologically intelligent extraterrestrial life and the scientific approach to such a discovery, dismissing UFO sightings as insufficient evidence. The video outlines four types of First Contact: Detection, Conversation, Intellectual exchange, and Physical/Biological interaction, with an emphasis on the scientific and methodical approach to finding extraterrestrial life.


🔭 Detecting Alien Life and the Role of James Webb Space Telescope

This paragraph focuses on the potential for the James Webb Space Telescope to detect biosignatures in exoplanets' atmospheres, which could indicate the presence of life. It discusses the challenges of detecting subtle chemical signatures and the differences between abiological and biological atmospheres. The video suggests that detecting biosignature gases or an unbalanced chemical equation in an exoplanet's atmosphere could signal life. It also explores the concept of sending messages to potential extraterrestrial civilizations, referencing an event where music was broadcast to Luyten’s Star. The narrative highlights the importance of intellectual contact through the exchange of ideas and culture, and the potential for such communication via electromagnetic radiation.


🛸 The Likelihood and Nature of Physical First Contact

The video addresses the prospect of physical or biological contact with extraterrestrial life, suggesting it's less likely that aliens would be interested in Earth's natural resources due to their abundance elsewhere in the universe. It counters common science fiction narratives, positing that if aliens visit, it would be out of interest in life and intellectual exchange rather than conquest or exploitation. The video also promotes a positive outlook on such contact, suggesting that advanced civilizations would not engage in harmful behavior. It points out the value of life itself as the primary reason for potential extraterrestrial interest in Earth and emphasizes the importance of careful management of any physical contact to avoid biological contamination and ensure mutual benefit.


🌟 The Impact and Precautions of First Contact

The final paragraph discusses the potential risks and societal implications of First Contact, particularly the threat of microbial contamination from extraterrestrial life. It references the immune system's reduced effectiveness against unfamiliar pathogens and the need for caution in physical interactions. The video draws a parallel to historical skepticism towards new discoveries and suggests that the confirmation of extraterrestrial life might not drastically change public perception immediately. It acknowledges the potential for social and philosophical shifts, as humanity's uniqueness could be challenged. The video concludes by reiterating the inevitability of First Contact and the current focus on the James Webb Space Telescope for detecting alien life, encouraging viewers to keep looking to the stars.



💡First Contact

First Contact refers to the initial communication or meeting between humans and extraterrestrial life. In the video, it is discussed that there could be multiple forms of First Contact, including detection of life, exchange of messages, intellectual exchange, and physical/biological contact. The concept is central to the video's exploration of how humans might interact with alien life.

💡Anthropomorphized creatures

Anthropomorphized creatures are characters or beings given human-like traits, which in the context of the video, refers to the portrayal of aliens in Hollywood movies. The video questions whether such depictions are accurate reflections of potential extraterrestrial life or simply a human-centric bias.

💡Exoplanetary systems

Exoplanetary systems are systems outside our solar system, consisting of planets that orbit stars other than our Sun. The video mentions a study of 18 exoplanetary systems, highlighting that the chemical building blocks found on Earth are also present in these systems, suggesting the possibility of life beyond Earth.

💡James Webb Space Telescope

The James Webb Space Telescope is a highly sensitive space observatory that is expected to detect biosignatures in the atmospheres of exoplanets. The video discusses how this technology might allow us to detect alien life through the observation of chemical imbalances or spikes indicative of biological activity.


Biosignatures are indicators of life, often chemical in nature, that can be detected remotely. In the video, the presence of biosignatures such as certain gases in the atmosphere of exoplanets is suggested as a potential method for detecting extraterrestrial life.

💡Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP)

UAP, as mentioned in the video, refers to UFO sightings or other unexplained aerial phenomena. The video argues that these do not constitute sufficient evidence for alien visitation and should not be the basis for claims of First Contact.

💡Interstellar communication

Interstellar communication in the video refers to the exchange of messages or signals between Earth and potential extraterrestrial civilizations. An example given is the broadcast of music to Luyten's Star, which could be a form of outreach and a precursor to First Contact.

💡Technologically intelligent life

Technologically intelligent life refers to extraterrestrial life forms that possess advanced technology, potentially capable of interstellar communication or travel. The video questions whether such life exists and how it might differ from human civilization.

💡Amino acids

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and are essential for life as we know it. The video mentions glycine, an amino acid found in humans and other animals, and also detected in outer space, suggesting a commonality between life on Earth and potential life elsewhere.


Cross-contamination is the unintentional transfer of microbes, biological materials, or other substances from one place to another, which could be harmful if it occurs between Earth and an alien life form. The video discusses the need for caution to prevent such an event during potential physical contact with extraterrestrial life.

💡Dark matter and dark energy

Dark matter and dark energy are mysterious components of the universe that are not directly observable but are inferred from their gravitational effects on visible matter. The video speculates that an advanced alien civilization might have solved the mysteries surrounding these phenomena.


Sci-fi movies often depict aliens as either hostile monsters or divine beings, but these portrayals may not reflect reality.

The existence of life in outer space is highly probable, as Earth itself is in outer space and not unique in the universe.

A 2018 study found that Earth's chemical building blocks are present in other solar systems, indicating potential for extraterrestrial life.

Glycine, an amino acid crucial for life on Earth, has been detected in molecular clouds in outer space.

Elements found in the human body are among the most abundant in the universe, suggesting a universal composition for life.

The possibility of life emerging elsewhere in the universe is supported by the same processes that occurred on Earth.

Most scientists believe in the existence of extraterrestrial life, with the key question being the presence of technologically intelligent life.

UFO sightings and military videos are not sufficient evidence for alien visitations; extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

First Contact with extraterrestrial life is likely to occur in multiple stages, including detection, conversation, intellectual exchange, and physical/biological contact.

The James Webb Space Telescope may be able to detect biosignatures in the atmospheres of exoplanets, hinting at life beyond Earth.

Imbalances in atmospheric chemistry or complex chemical activity unexplainable by natural processes could suggest the presence of life on exoplanets.

Biosignature gases like ammonia, nitrous oxide, and oxygen are key indicators of life on exoplanets.

Interstellar communication might have already begun, with messages from Earth, like those sent during the Sonar music festival, traveling to nearby stars.

Intellectual First Contact would involve exchanging cultural and scientific knowledge with extraterrestrial civilizations.

Physical/biological First Contact is likely to be the last to occur and should be managed carefully to avoid cross-contamination.

Aliens would likely be more interested in understanding life on Earth rather than exploiting our natural resources.

The real threat from alien life could be microbial, as Earth's immune system might struggle with pathogens from another planet.

First Contact may not drastically change everything; societal and philosophical adjustments would be necessary to incorporate the existence of extraterrestrial life.

The James Webb Space Telescope represents our best current opportunity to detect alien life, continuing our search for life among the stars.