Does the Pentagon have the right weapons to fight off an alien invasion?

As summer blockbuster season kicks into high gear, big-budget action movies like The Avengers, Battleship, and Prometheus remind us that there’s one thing that unites Americans: Our shared fear of an alien attack. They also remind us that when the invading space fleet arrives, humanity is not going to surrender without a fight to our intergalactic invaders. Instead, we will band together to fight off their incredibly advanced weaponry with our … well, with what, exactly? Are we really ready to battle our would-be alien overlords?

Newly released "hazard reports" detailing encounters between US Navy aircraft and "unidentified aerial phenomena" reveal details about incidents that were thrust into the spotlight when the Pentagon officially declassified and released videos of three encounters late last month.

"The unknown aircraft appeared to be small in size, approximately the size of a suitcase, and silver in color," one report describing an incident from March 26, 2014, said.
During that encounter one of the Navy F/A-18 jets "passed within 1000' of the object, but was unable to positively determine the identity of the aircraft," the report added, saying the US Navy pilot "attempted to regain visual contact with the aircraft, but was unable."

Are we alone in the universe? Do alien life forms exist and are UFOs (Unidentified Flying Objects) real? These questions, often a theme in Hollywood films and for science fiction writers, may not seem as implausible now as they used to. 

“I’m not saying that it’s aliens. But it’s aliens.”

That’s the tagline of a famous internet meme based on Giorgio Tsoukalos’ History channel show, “Ancient Aliens.” But now it seems to be the official United States government line, too.

So many discussions of ships in science fiction fall into the same tired debates. Who goes faster, the Millennium Falcon or the USS Enterprise? How big of a planet would the Death Star blow up — and how much would that ship cost, anyway? This slideshow takes things a step further. We talk about the most creative ships of science fiction. Yes, you'll see some familiar names on here, but we hope there will be at least a couple of surprises.

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