• Question: what kind of experiment would we do on dead aliens and what experiments would they do to us

    Asked by Rhys M to Ed, Kerrianne, Oli, yoyehudi on 15 Nov 2017.
    • Photo: Oli Wilson

      Oli Wilson answered on 15 Nov 2017:

      Interesting! From my point of view I’d love to look at their DNA (assuming they have some!) to figure out how their cells work – you can tell so much from an organism’s genes. It would also be cool to look at their cells under a microscope to see how similar and different they are to ours. Looking at the chemistry of the cells would also help us understand how the alien life evolved, and it would be *so cool*!
      But more than all of this, if we had a live, intelligent alien I would love to talk to them – just think what amazing new things they could tell us, about places we’ve never been or even tried to understand!
      I partly say all this because I could cope with an alien taking a cheek swab from me and having a chat – I’d hope their ideas for experiments wouldn’t be too much more extreme than mine..!

    • Photo: Kerrianne Harrington

      Kerrianne Harrington answered on 15 Nov 2017:

      There would be so many experiments people would want to do on dead aliens – x-rays, dissections, and, as Oli said looking at their DNA. There are loads of things people would want to find out. I think it would depend on who found them and who the dead aliens belonged to as to what experiments actually happened. The politics and red tape involved would probably be really complicated.

      As to what experiments they would do to us… Here’s hoping they’d have the same level of empathy as us to not do anything at all until I’m dead.

    • Photo: Yo Yehudi

      Yo Yehudi answered on 15 Nov 2017:

      Oli and Kerrianne described what I’d want to do pretty well, too – compare and contrast our biology. Just how similar to us *are* you, dear aliens? but there’s a good chance any alien that we’d encounter today has at least as good technology as we do – so maybe we should just ask them what they’re made of? They probably know already and won’t have to be mistreated to get there.

      Other experiments we could do on live aliens might involve studying their cultures and behaviours to compare to humanity. I bet there’d be a lot to learn! Do these aliens have gender roles? What about mealtimes – do they eat communally? Do they exercise and have popular sports the way we do? Do they have nuclear families, large families, are they loners? It could be fascinating!

    • Photo: Ed Bracey

      Ed Bracey answered on 16 Nov 2017:

      Depending on how fresh they were, it would be amazing the look at how their brains were wired up.
      First I’d try to understand what the bits of its body did – like figuring out which bits were muscles and what they moved, and which of its organs were what – if they work similarly to our hearts or lungs or kidneys and so on.
      Then I’d trace the nerves that controlled those parts back to the brain so I could take a guess at which parts of the brain were controlling them, and therefore what each part of the brain did. The part connected to the lungs might be involved with breathing, the part connected to the arms muscles would be for moving the arms and so on.
      Then I’d take the brain and try to image it with an electron microscope.
      This is a very special microscope that lets us take really zoomed in pictures!
      That would mean we could then get as much information about how the brain was wired up as possible.
      The problem with this, is the technique a long time just to image a tiny part of brain tissue, so it might take years!
      Here’s a 3D picture of a tiny piece of brain tissue that was taken using an electron microscope.
      You can see where all the brain cells go, which I think is super cool!
      It gives you the idea of how complicated the brain is – even this tiny speck of brain tissue is super intricate!