The Day the Probes Hit

Illustration for article titled The Day the Probes Hit

Only a few science fiction fans and futurists had heard of Von Neumann probes before that day in November when the pods smashed down. Some long-dead alien civilization had sent them out before they burped their last methane breaths. The probes' single goal was to spread life to the galaxy, which sounds great on paper. The problem was that they did it by sterilizing every planet they encountered, then planting the genetic seeds of their makers.


That's what happens when you assume the galaxy is lifeless, I guess. You don't pause to consider that your big, benevolent "spread life everywhere" technology might actually be a a distributed, automated mass extinguisher.

This image was created by Mark Molnar, an illustrator and concept artist who lives in Central Europe. He's worked in film and games designing creatures, environments, and more. See more of his gorgeous work on his website.

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Annalee Newitz

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