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What If Aliens Live At The Centre Of The Earth?

VO: Ashley Bowman WRITTEN BY: Benjamin Welton
Written by Benjamin Welton In our search for extra-terrestrial alien life forms, we usually look to the skies, out into the stars and space. But what if aliens already exist a little closer to home? What would happen if there were aliens living at the centre of the Earth?

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What if Aliens Lived at the Centre of the Earth?

The science fiction genre has long been interested in exploring “what if” scenarios. What if life exists on other planets? What if civilizations exist in other galaxies? What if the centre of the Earth contains untold life-forms, some of which could be classified as “intelligent”? The latter question was arguably popularized in fiction way back in 1864. In that year, French author Jules Verne published Journey to the Centre of the Earth. This popular novel sees a German professor named Otto Lidenbrock and his nephew Axel discover a Latin manuscript written by the 13th century Icelandic historian Snorri Sturluson. The text leads the eccentric professor to a dormant volcano in Iceland. Here, following a massive excavation, the pair uncovers a hidden world of underground oceans, gigantic fauna, giant skulls, and plenty of dinosaurs.

Journey to the Centre of the Earth was hugely influential, and it helped to further inspire an entire subgenre of sci-fi dealing with subterranean exploration. Edgar Rice Burroughs, the creator of Tarzan, crafted the Pellucidar series of novels around the idea that, at the centre of the Earth, dinosaurs and cave men exist in a primordial civilization.

Such pulp fiction has had a surprisingly long shelf-life. Several conspiracy theories exist that suggest the possibility of extraterrestrial life at the Earth’s core. Chief among these theories is the so-called “Hollow Earth” theory. This idea states that our Earth is actually, well, hollow. Despite what a majority of accepted science says (that the Earth consists of layers of rock, crust, and liquid magma around a burning hot core), the Hollow Earth theory articulates that what is inside our planet is unknown—an entirely new frontier to be explored.

The Hollow Earth theory may have been first officially posited by British astronomer Edmund Halley in 1692. Halley, of “Halley’s Comet” fame, stated that the Earth’s core consisted of several spinning shells and circles that oscillated around a single core. These constantly spinning spheres explained why the Earth was so riddled with magnetic fields.

The next major proselytizer of the Hollow Earth model was an American—John Cleves Symmes, Jr. Symess was a veteran of the War of 1812 and a merchant who penned a tract called Circular No. 1. This pamphlet said that the Earth’s core could be accessed via holes, latter known as Symmes Holes, at various locations. Symmes believed that one of the largest holes existed at the North Pole, and to show that he was serious, Symmes tried to get funding for major scientific expeditions to the various holes. Although mocked in his own time, Symmes and his ideas still have echoes in the modern world, especially among those who continue to believe in the Hollow Earth theory.

For all of the silliness of Symmes Holes, or the idea that the great aerial explorer Admiral Richard Byrd actually flew into the Earth’s centre in the 1940s and discovered a secret civilization, the Hollow Earth theory does have some loose connections to much more sinister stories. For one, the occultists of the 19th century, including the Theosophists, posited that two lost civilizations—Atlantis and Lemuria—could be classified as secret continents long buried beneath the deepest depths of the ocean. German and Austrian Ariosophists told their followers that the Nordic race was descended from the citizens of Thule/Atlantis—a prehistoric civilization that was more advanced than any other. The National Socialists picked up on some of these ideas as part of their ideology, and in turn some proponents of Hollow Earth theory claim that Hitler and some top ranking Nazis escaped justice by retreating to secret bases at the Earth’s centre. There, the SS men were joined by gigantic gray aliens who are superior to humans in every way possible.

Given that scientists agree that Mars once housed water, and thus life may have been possible there at some point, the idea of extraterrestrial life at the centre of the Earth can’t be that preposterous, right? After all, Norwegian skipper Olaf Jansen once claimed that, in 1811, he lived like a king in the Garden of Eden after entering a cave at the North Pole.

The problem is that serious, intelligent life could not exist at the centre of the Earth. The latest scientific findings indicate that the Earth’s core is a whopping 6,000 degrees Celsius, which is around 10,800 degrees Farenheit. Most of the known lifeforms on Earth can’t survive in 600 degrees Celsius, let alone 6,000. Therefore, the extreme heat of our Earth’s core negates the possibility of any habitation.

Second, the Earth’s inner layers are mostly composed of iron-nickel. This is solid material, and any kind of farming for food would be impossible. There is also no scientist that seriously believes that a water supply exists over 3,000 miles below the Earth’s surface. Without water, no life can be sustained.

Of course, all normal rules get thrown out of the window once the argument is that aliens, not human beings, live at the Earth’s centre. For this to be true, then these hypothetical aliens would need to have adapted physically to their environment. The celebrated scientist Dr. Michio Kaku wrote in The Future of Humanity that extraterrestrials of the inter-galactic variety would be descended from predators, have opposable appendages, a unique language, and stereo vision. Such intelligent lifeforms, Dr. Kaku writes, could theoretically exist on frozen moons like Jupiter’s Europa or Saturn’s Enceladus. He also suggests that these aliens would be aquatic beings not unlike cephalopods.

Oddly enough, British sci-fi writer H.G. Wells created octopus-like Martians in his novel The War of the Worlds. This same tale, when it was updated and read aloud over the radio by American actor Orson Welles, caused a legitimate panic in New Jersey. On one Sunday in October 1938, some Americans really did believe that aliens had landed on Earth.

However, in the case of Dr. Kaku and both Wells and Welles, we are dealing with aliens from water-rich planets (either real ones or fictionalized ones). No organism could survive at the Earth’s core due to the extreme temperatures. Even if an organism could survive there, it would be of no threat to the human race. Aliens living at the actual centre of the Earth would be too busy simply surviving to hatch any possible invasion plans.

The entirety of the Hollow Earth theory is nothing short of romantic whimsy. It is thrilling to think that our Earth holds boundless secrets. Who would not want to explore some lost civilization inside of the Earth? Who would not want to see real dinosaurs in action, or find out the lost secrets of Atlantis? Sadly, the truth is that the Earth’s core is a “hot mess”—an inhospitable realm where no intelligent life could ever dwell. With burning hot magma and hard metals in every speck of dirt, the inner Earth is a barren wasteland, not the secret route to Eden. No humans, aliens, or Nazis could lever live there, nor would they want to. Life is much better on the Earth’s surface.

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