In the Wikipedia article for the film Apollo 18, the rock-like spider creatures featured are often referred within the movie as 'aliens', but is that what they really are?

Are they aliens or could they be something else?

  • What exactly makes you doubt they are aliens? – Andres F. Apr 6 '14 at 7:51

Maybe I'm overthinking the premise of what is ultimately a cheap horror movie but I assumed they were some type of terrestrial primitive organism that came from the earth billions of years ago as spores.

My assumption was something like a highly evolved slime mold-lichen combination that managed to survive and evolve in the water rich subsurface of the lunar poles. There was perhaps a subsurface layer of moist black rock that made up a super colony.

The spider legs are actually tendrils evolved to handle the harsh cold vacuum while the core organism stayed safe in the rock. Sunlight would cause the tendrils to withdraw and the organism would become dormant until night. The spider forms would skitter over the surface looking for fresh subsurface water and organic deposits possibly from new comet impacts to nourish the colony or form new colonies. Primitive natural radio (like an electric eel) allowed the spider to keep in touch with the colony and help it to navigate.

Obviously a very hard and slow moving lifestyle. When the astronauts arrived it was dinner time!

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Merriam Webster defines an alien as an extraterrestrial. If you lookup the definition of extraterrestial you get:

: originating, existing, or occurring outside the earth or its atmosphere

So by that definition, if they are not of the Earth then they are alien.

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  • By that definition anything that exists on the moon is extraterrestrial, so if a base was setup on the moon, the people who reside there would become extraterrestrials. I was thinking more that they would be aliens if they are either native to the moon or put on the moon by some means but originating from a place other than earth. – user19598 Mar 22 '13 at 12:31
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    "extraterrestrial" isn't the same as "alien", that's the problem. What people generally refer to as "space aliens" are "aliens of extraterrestrial origin", rather a mouthful :) – jwenting Mar 22 '13 at 13:01

What are the alternatives?

  • Artificial constructs from Earth? Not with 1970s technology. And if there's hidden super-advanced technology, where would it come from if not aliens?
  • A lifeform from Earth? No, because no higher life on Earth can survive in a vacuum for a significant amount of time. Besides, the whole point of the movie is that the creatures are extremely dangerous and quite aggressive. They would hardly remain unnoticed on Earth.

A remotely possible scenario is that the creature were present on Earth a long time ago (but why are there no fossil records?), somehow got wiped out there (what could possibly make conditions on Earth less viable than the moon?) but a few fled to the moon (how?) and survived there, unable to return by themselves.

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  • There is a theory that the moon was once part of the earth – user19598 Mar 22 '13 at 12:37
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    @axrwkr: As far as I know that theory is very widely accepted, but I doubt anything could have survived the impact which separated them. – Michael Borgwardt Mar 22 '13 at 12:47
  • @axrwkr especially survived it on what became the moon but not on what was left of earth. Of course IF the creatures could not survive in an oxygen atmosphere that could be an explanation if the oxygen atmosphere of the earth formed at a later date, but they'd then not have survived contact with the astronauts either so that can't be the explanation. Ergo they're either natives from the moon (what'd they eat there, and why the aggression and tendency to feed aparently on human beings) or they were planted there from somewhere else again, probably the intended origin as to the authors. – jwenting Mar 22 '13 at 13:05
  • Not to mention that when the moon split from the Earth there was no life on earth yet. – sarge_smith Mar 22 '13 at 23:41
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    @sarge_smith: Actually, we can't really know that, since all traces of it would have been wiped out. But there was way less time between the formation of Earth and the impact than it later took for life to develop. – Michael Borgwardt Mar 22 '13 at 23:50

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