Wednesday, December 31, 2003
Profiles of the Future: Alien Beetles (Not the VW Kind)
"We can dismiss, therefore, those ingenious stories of midget (or even miroscopic [sic]) spaceships as pure fantasy. If you are ever persistently buzzed by a strange metallic object that looks like a beetle, it will be a beetle."
While I certainly agree that any object that flies around looking like a beetle is, if not an actual beetle, is still likely to be of terrestrial origin (see my earlier entry on Extraterrestrial Contact), I don't dismiss the fact that aliens won't visit us in beetle form (or the like).
Considering the vast reaches of space and the cost for even an advanced civilization to visit all of it, we might logically expect that aliens might send, instead of themselves, insect-like robots capable of observing us inconspicuously.
I am aided in coming to this conclusion, where Mr. Clarke was likely not, buy the intervening 40 years of movies, TV, and books which have further explored alien contact scenarios in more detail, and with better knowledge than was available to the writers during the time in which Mr. Clarke wrote these words.