For much of today, the people of Earth have had their gaze transfixed on the most majestic vaulted ceiling of all: the sky. At around 9:20 a.m. Friday (local time), a giant fireball crashed into Russia. At around 2:20 p.m. EST, an asteroid did not come close to hitting Earth even though, in a deep, dark corner of their hearts, everyone was hoping it would because life can just be so exhausting sometimes.

In any case, we survived the meteors (with a few bumps and bruises in Russia's case). Here's your guide to the aliens that will inevitably follow: who they are, what they want, and why they're so interested in your sex organs.

A Primer on Alien Races

There are three types of extraterrestrials whose existence is generally accepted among alien enthusiasts: "Greys," "Reptilians," and "Nordics." Here's what you should know about each:
AKA: Awkward Nerd Aliens
What do they look like? "Classic" aliens; 3-5 feet tall, big heads, big eyes, grey (gray) bodies
Why are they here? To learn
What will they do if they abduct me? Peer into your mind; old-school probing; spend a lot of time eyeballing your sex organs because they don't have any

AKA: Intergalactic War Criminal Aliens
What do they look like? Tall, upright reptiles
Why are they here? To conquer
What will they do if they abduct me? Torture you; possibly rape you

AKA: White People Aliens
What do they look like? 6-7 ft tall, blonde, blue-eyed humans
Why are they here? Like all white people, to help
What will they do if they abduct me? Give you valuable (or perhaps extremely racist) advice about advancing and protecting humanity; people describe these visits as very pleasant (like a spa, maybe?)

Oh My God, Aliens Are Coming; What Do I Do?

Assuming the extraterrestrials have already achieved a level of technological advancement that enables them to get to us (which would entail mastering the ability to travel at almost the speed of light), there's probably nothing you can do to stop them from getting to you.

They won't be scared away because you leave the porch light on. They won't be like, "Wow, I guess no one's home," if you draw your curtains. They'll find you if they want to.

For this reason, any preparations you make will simply be for your own peace of mind. Would you feel better if you were in a bomb shelter when the aliens come? Cool, go to one. As in any emergency situation, it's always better to keep a cool head rather than to start wildin' out, Nick Cannon.

Oh My God, There Are Aliens Outside My House; What Do I Do?

For what to do if an alien craft lands outside your house, we contacted UFO and Abduction researcher Kathleen Marden, whose advice basically boils down to:
1) stay away from it
2) do not throw rocks/dirt clods/guns at it
3) try to Instagram it.

"If an alien craft lands in your yard, do not approach it. It might be emitting radiation and a strong electromagnetic field. Observe it from a distance and attempt to photograph it. Do not behave in a hostile manner. Its occupants have defense systems that are much more highly advanced than our own."

She also notes that abductions in rural and urban areas are "almost evenly distributed, with slightly more occurring in rural areas," so plan your life accordingly.

Oh My God, There Are Aliens Inside My House; What Do I Do?

The only thing more nerve-wracking than an unexpected guest is an unexpected guest who is also from outer space. Again, Ms. Marden advises you not to approach it. Instead, let it come to you:

"Be cognizant that it will not harm you, but it might communicate with you telepathically and/or paralyze you temporarily. It might abduct you, perform an examination upon you, place an implant in your body, and release you unharmed."

If you are more of a Charlotte than a Samantha, you can also try convincing the alien not to take you. Some people claim that repeating a phrase like, "You do not have my permission to take me," over and over again (either aloud or in your head) will be enough to get the alien to change its mind — at least about abducting you, specifically. Admittedly, this is a Hail Mary pass.

Oh My God; Where Are They Already?

While statistically, it's very likely that intelligent life exists somewhere in our universe, as best we can tell, it's much less likely that we will have any contact with it any time soon. Our technology isn't anywhere near advanced enough to facilitate that type of thing (though maybe theirs is; maybe they've had WiFi for like 100 years).

If they do ever reach us, my friend (and astrophysicist) Lauren points out that there's no reason to expect them to be hostile. Just as we don't look for signs of life on other planets so that we could wipe it out, so is it not guaranteed that any extraterrestrials are eager to hurt (and/or help) us. For them, Earth would probably be like a baller field trip:

"I'd think they were probably on some exploratory mission and would be really excited to see (semi-intelligent) life forms. [Visiting Earth would be] much cooler than landing on, say, Mars where there's just a bunch of rocks."

Unless it's the Reptilians who come. Fuck those guys.

[Image by Jim Cooke.]