My summer break: What do you think aliens might look like – and what would you say if you met one?

  • Would they be too small for us to even see them? Would they look more like us than we think? Or should we just listen to Stephen Hawking and stay away?
  • Readers explain what they would say to potential extraterrestrial visitors from outer space
YP Readers |

Latest Articles

SOTY 22/23: Visual Artist second place winner finds inspiration in Hong Kong, family harmony

Hong Kong school facing risk of closure offers HK$10,000 ‘scholarship’ for Primary One

OpenAI’s ChatGPT will ‘see, hear and speak’ in major update

Make these Japanese chicken meatball skewers at your next family dinner

There's probably quite a lot that we humans can learn from aliens

This is My Summer Break, a page where readers share their wacky ideas, thoughtful reflections or dramatic inspirations in response to a weekly prompt.

Our question for next week is: If you could put one item in a time capsule for your future self to see in 10 years, what would it be and why?

If you would like to participate, send 100 to 200 words to [email protected] with “My Summer Break” in the subject line, and include your full name, age and school. The deadline is on Wednesday, August 11.

This week’s question: If there were aliens living in outer space, and you had the chance to meet them, what do you think they would be like, and what would you ask them?

'Project Hail Mary' book review: Andy Weir’s latest novel combines sci-fi aliens with the best of humanity

To be honest, if aliens were to approach me, I would be too flabbergasted and scared to speak because their looks might be quite frightening. But if I did have the courage and sanity to say something, I would ask them to show me their latest inventions. From UFOs to mysterious patterns in fields, the mystery of extraterrestrial technology has always fascinated human beings. They could show me things as advanced as time machines and teleporters. How exciting! Finally, our curiosity can be satisfied. I really hope I can one day witness the existence of aliens.
Jasper Tang, 13, Diocesan Boys’ School

If I could meet the aliens, the first thing I would ask is “How did you adapt to the hardship of living in outer space?” Just think about how much aliens would have had to evolve in order to survive and reproduce. Some sci-fi films have influenced us to believe that aliens are green creatures with three eyes and abnormally long ears. But how aliens look could actually be far more similar to humans. But right now, the more important question is whether we will ever find life in space.
Ashley Tang Hin-yau, 11, International Christian School

Alternatively, what do you think aliens would say to us?

I would choose not to meet the aliens because I am worried about my safety. I have watched enough alien horror films to assume that they look like monsters. They are tall and thin. They have huge heads and many small eyes. Stephen Hawking told us that we should not take the initiative to meet aliens because it could bring unpredictable danger. Also, humans do not have enough technology yet to travel to other planets and survive.
Paco Tsang Pak-ho, 13, Lok Sin Tong Wong Chung Ming Secondary School

I assume that the aliens would have large brains with high foreheads, which would signify that they have extraordinary intelligence. There might even be antennae on their heads for communication. I also imagine they would look fairly slim and wear hi-tech suits for protection. If we had a chance to meet, I would certainly ask about their flight transport system and the energy they use for fuel. This could help humans develop a similar transport system so we can travel quickly to other planets. Finally, I would advise the aliens to leave Earth right away because there is a deadly and contagious disease spreading around the world. Their immune systems might not be able to handle this virus.
Lawrence Zhou Leran, 14, Munsang College

Check out some of this year’s best YA science fiction and fantasy books

Realistically, I think they would be minuscule microorganisms, so they might not be the greatest conversationalists! I imagine that there would be quite a language barrier. But there are so many ways that we communicate with and study various species on Earth, so I would hope that we could find a way to have meaningful interactions with the aliens. I would ask them about the origin of their species to compare it with our own evolutionary history. It could even shed light on some of the details we don’t know about the beginning of life on Earth.
Yvette Homerlein, 20, University College London

Sign up for the YP Teachers Newsletter
Get updates for teachers sent directly to your inbox
By registering, you agree to our T&C and Privacy Policy