Mass Effect Science - Aliens!

The Mass Effect universe is packed full of Aliens, but where are all of our real-life extraterrestrial buddies? We investigate this question and more.

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Top sci-fi games usually draw heavily from the real world while building on our existing knowledge in the creation of their fiction. The Mass Effect series does this better than most, creating an intricate and detailed universe crammed with some of the finest scientific trivia seen in video games.

We thought it would be interesting to investigate some of the questions raised by the series, specifically concerning alien life. We begin by asking why we are yet to meet any real-life analogues of Krogan, Turian, or (fingers crossed) sexy monogendered Asari.

For more on the science of Mass Effect, check out another video feature from theoretical physicist and science populariser Michio Kaku. He explains some of the physics-based tropes of the series, including Mass Effect drives and cloaking technology.

Got any more theories about the primordial ooze that gave rise to the species of Mass Effect? Let us know your thoughts in the comments box below, and if you would like to see more science/video game mashups, take a look at our previous explorations of Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Assassin's Creed.

Discussion

205 comments
darktruth007
darktruth007

The reason we haven't seen alien life is because there's waaay too much distance between star systems - FTL is probably impossible - even if it is possible (which it may not be) - the chances of a race dying off before they can invent it is just way to high. We are all just byproducts of a inter-galactic ping-pong game - our lifespans are so brief it's ridiculous - we're lucky to even exist at all - forget about doing things that are completely impossible.

bsmith12
bsmith12

@ewan22'3,I am glad that you replied to my coments, and you are right I misunderstood you, thank you for clearing it up for me. We do however seem to agree on most things, and I agree compleetly with your comment an religion, it has some good ideas but they invariably get highjacked by people that would rather use it to control mankind rather than working allour best interests.The same can be said for communisme, soscialsme and all other ideas that are intended to get a fair shake for everyone.

ewan223
ewan223

@bsmith12 You seem to misunderstand me :/ Though I don't blame you since my beliefs were not exactly listed in my comment :) It is kind of hard to explain my views because I very much like to view myself as an atheist. So I'm atheist but I don't want to rule anything out because no real evidence has been provided for god existing or not existing. So I with hold my judgement on the subject. Though if a all mighty super natural being did exist it would be like nothing listed in a religion. And I as well believe that all this separation is not good for society. In fact to be completely honest I think religion is a bad thing for the human race. Yes, it teaches some good things like love and compassion and can be used for good. But it regularly gets used for bad and spreads hate and violence which is a no no in my books :p. So I'm like 90% atheist with the other 10% pending xD. And since love and compassion etc is really in human nature we can live without religion (and probably be happier).

bsmith12
bsmith12

@ewan223, thanks for the coment you show what I mean (I think) you seem to belive in a "god"I do not but we can still talk to eachother without getting the knives out. I also see that you got thumbs down for your trouble.

supertom221
supertom221

@liketires You can hate all you want, it's not about being a hipster, it's about respecting good games. Just because it's famous and I don't like it it doesn't mean i'm a hipster. They are mainstream for a reason, y'know. Also your judgement is still wrong because my favourite game franchises are Assassin's Creed and Metal Gear Solid, so there you go.

bsmith12
bsmith12

Nemesis4X, you have missed the point, if a supreme being exists or not is not the issue, or even if religion is good or bad it is the dogma that surrounds it. IE the intepretation of religien radical musslims and christians fight and kill eachother in the name 2 peacful and basicaly fairminded religeons. The same can be said for natioalism, and political movements that stop us as a planet working together and accomplishing something worthwhile that no nation can do alone. I hope that you now understand my stands point, yes I am an athiest but I recognise your right to belive anything you want to, I just want us to forget our differences and get mankind out of the mess we keep making for ourselves.

Missusu
Missusu

Or just wait for the doctor to choose you for his companion. I know I'm waiting ;D

liketires
liketires

@Supertom221 I don't assume to know you best, it's just my observation from our conversation. It just seems like you don't like commercialized games only beCAUSE they're commercialized. It just seems rather "hipster gamer" to me and I hate that.

vadagar1
vadagar1

@primeevil702 I totally agree with u guys lets not turn into the people we LOL about who said the earth is flat and man can't fly, remember those guys....yah they were WRONG so horribly and utterly wrong.

lee0577
lee0577

Would anyone like to touch my trumpet?

TheGreatmars
TheGreatmars

if we want to explore the space then we need something like the quarian fleet so we can live in it and explore while doing it, yes it will take thousands of years but after bazzillion generations the fleet will either reach something, nothing or get hit by an astroid...

jstowers
jstowers

The Indoctrination is on the way Lazy_Marine, Bioware are merely enhancing the ending.. not caving. This hurts you.

Lazy_Marine
Lazy_Marine

I love Mass effect, my favorite gaming series of all time. I hope all the complainers stop bit chin about the ending. Bioware did an amazing job and i also hope they don't cave into demands of the loud minority.

Deano
Deano

it's not just an issue of science but of financial resources, space travel is billions of dollars and nasa has largely suspended their space operations. China is probably the only govt. in the near future that could have an active space programme and they don't seem to care largely about anything manned. We haven't even been back to the moon in what 30+ years. Neither will space mining ever be profitable, the costs to get there outway the returns by massive amounts. a mars operation would cost in the hundreds of billions, govts. just don't have that money.

Primevil702
Primevil702

To the people who own a crystal ball, please, what's the next winning lotto number? Obviously the distances between the stars are immense, but, let's pause for a moment and realize we understand very little of what there is to be understood. Sure, extra-solar exploration is would be awesome... but we should concentrate on the solar system at the moment, obviously. And while we're building our mass infrastructure of solar exploitation, we'll be concocting a way to do something similar to our neighbor solar systems. If recent advances in physics teach us anything, it's that we have a LONG ways to go. And the solar system is readily explorable, and exploitable. Once fusion power and the magnetic containment technology has sufficiently advanced that will certainly either propel us into the future, or plunge us into darkness. Given the irascible nature of homo-sapiens, I really have no opinion on the longterm outcome. And to those who think exploitation is a harsh word...whether we use it or not, does it really make a difference? It certainly does to us... but what will the solar system think about us strip mining phobos? Oh wait, it doesn't care...

nemesis4x
nemesis4x

It's funny how in a thread about mass effect, atheists try to mock religion. Is there any place on the internet where atheists dont shove their beliefs. Religion doesnt hold us back, just because people believe in God doesn't mean technology wont advance. Look how far we have come, take the gaming industry and see, from Super Mario to games like Mass Effect this is called progress. Technology will advance dont try to separate religious people and science because they have co-existed for many years, doing so is what is making people angry. P.S. Religion doesn't cause wars, people do!

icetone
icetone

If there is somewhere out of here and if I ever get to met them I hope 1. the girls are a little hot and 2. they don't speak ENGLISH!

nightfend
nightfend

I don't think people grasp the distances between stars in real life. The distances are so vast, it is unlikely in the history of our species that we will even get a probe to the closest star to us as it would likely take thousands of years for a probe to travel that distance, and this is with technology we don't even has available. More like 10,000+ years with current technology. The best mankind will be able to accomplish is exploring our solar system.

Deano
Deano

we aren't going to explore space because we aren't smart enough. our scientific advancements have too many limitations. even light speed is far too slow for anything outside our own solar system and so far it's not even possible to exceed it in theory. it would take some kind of alien tech like in mass effect to advance us anymore.

Chavis02
Chavis02

@emanwell: GOOD LUCK! :P

supertom221
supertom221

@liketires I am definately not close minded, do not speak of me as if you know me best. I play old and new games alike, and when a good game comes around i'll know to appreciate it. I don't care why it's popular-- Probably because of the same reason Gears, HALO, Skyrim and Assassin's Creed are popular-- They are commercialized success. On that acount, yes, they achieved their goal. Mass Effect has it's perks, and up to the second game, it kept that pretty well. The 3rd entry started good, and slowly derailed as you keep playing, and right at the most important part of the story, the moment that really counts, BAM!! Everything you did was a pointless load of crap. But again, there are much mroe problems to the game and you can see how lazy certain design aspects of the game were. You want a game that is both good and new, and probably does everything Mass Effect does, only better, it's probably best to try something like Binary Domain. It looks sweet and I've heard very good things about it.

liketires
liketires

@Supertom221 I don't think its as much to do with me not playing enough games, I just think you are too close minded, that or stuck in the past with the old games (not that that's a bad thing). For example: I hate Gear of War, HATE it with a fiery passion, but I understand why it's popular. It has good production values and good multiplayer. But that being said, I don't personally like it. My point is you can't just say Mass Effect has no value or good things in it at all, because if it did, people wouldn't have petitioned for anew ending. I'm just saying give credit where credit is due, man.

King_Jeremy_77
King_Jeremy_77

Mass Effect is my favorite game series and i've played a lot of games.

ewan223
ewan223

@bsmith12 You are completely right... All this separation in the same race is ridiculous. And I'm sorry to say religion wasn't a great thing from the get go. It is fine to have beliefs in a greater super natural power (as I kinda do until there is evidence against) but why are we grouping these religions together. And lets be honest the majority of things taught in religion are not acceptable views for 2012! *Rant over* Don't get to offended religious people.

ewan223
ewan223

@MichaeltheCM Actually it is very likely that aliens exist. Intelligent life is a lot more rare but I believe that in the next few years we will probably find some simple life on another planet. The chance of more intelligent life is also very likely (well, kinda. It is a bit complicated :/), the only problem is it would probably be very very far away. Though one day the human race will make contact with another intelligent race!

emanwell
emanwell

I sure would like to bang an asari...

DarkBoy91
DarkBoy91

No aliens.Bioware destroyed the mass relays...so they can't travel anymore.

wis3boi
wis3boi

when 2186 comes around, we will meet our harbinger of our salvation

vadagar1
vadagar1

so we "think" there is life somewhere else in the universe (or multi-verse).... U know what it does not matter what WE think, if its there its there, if its not its not, chances are if there are trillions of civilizations all around us they will be LOLing their blue butts off watching us.

BrySKii
BrySKii

Humanity is an unstable and reckless species. Aliens probably look at Earth and say, "oh hell no", and pass by.

Ultra_Taco
Ultra_Taco

Good vid, pretty well done Cameron.

Ultra_Taco
Ultra_Taco

@ bsmith12, you're 100% right on that one lol

bsmith12
bsmith12

bet I would get less thumbs down if I had not mentioned religion

Ultra_Taco
Ultra_Taco

@ PinkyLord, Umm, I hope you know that most ideas in science are theories (even though they have evidence for them) so there are not very many reasons why we should NOT accept them, nor are there many reasons TO accept them. Millions of people have their own opinions on science and its theories wether they have evidence for it or not.

Ultra_Taco
Ultra_Taco

@ Cray-Z-Canuck, lol, not sure many people have, especially with scientists. I'm in Honors Biology in my High School and I've never heard my biology teacher say anything about that possibility.

supertom221
supertom221

@liketires I was impressed by the outcry aswell, but seriously, ME3's flaws go much further than that of the ending. It is extremely flawed in nearly every aspect. If ME is your favourite franchise, clearly you have not played enough games, friend.

goufzero20
goufzero20

i do like mass effect better than star trek since almost every alein species in star trek looks like a human, even ones that didnt evolve from alpha/beta quandrant which explained in episode in TNG why everyone looked same. Least in mass effect you have variety types of aliens which i like alot more with asari thus far being closest to resemble human so far.

JabbaRancor
JabbaRancor

@redskinStu Millions of light years away, wondering the same thing.

Agent_2X
Agent_2X

The game is great but the ending is awful!

Cray-Z-Canuck
Cray-Z-Canuck

lol. Anyone ever considered the possibility that we are alone in the universe? It's not like the "science" behind evolution is anything close to infallible...just saying.

MugenAkagi
MugenAkagi

That feature was incredible. Mass Effect is the best, most believable Sci-Fi universe ever. l also dont understand people that assume aliens have to be more advanced than us. They could still be developing or they could be on their way here now(the milky way is MASSIVE. Im of course, taking into account their even from this Galaxy).

EvilTyger
EvilTyger

redskin Stu: It's not like travel between stars is something that is easy, or even detecting where it might be. (Radio signals would decay long before they reach even the next nearest star.)

redskinStu
redskinStu

Fermi Paradox: if mathematics proved the universe is full of life, even intelligent life, then where are they?

bdhasib
bdhasib

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samanoskay
samanoskay

 @nemesis4x 

yo thats a nice sentiment (spelling?) but only in the last few hundred years has technology realy been able to spread its wings, when people were able to say "hey i dont belive in god" before that "scientists" were killed for being sinners, and witches....so ye "co existed" for many years...

 

the point of science is that we strive to understand the universe, the point of religion is to not ask, but simply to believe, and follow. and in the next world you are rewarded. complete poler opposites.