Star Trek’s Top 5 Threats To Earth

Today is Earth Day, a day geared to "inspire awareness and appreciation of Earth’s natural environment." Of course through the future history of Star Trek we have seen the Earth face many different threats so today TrekMovie has analyzed the lessons of Trek and we count down Star Trek’s Top 5 threats to Earth.


Star Trek’s Top 5 Threats To Earth

counting down…

#5 Giant Super-powerful (Stupid) Machines That Want To Talk (V’Ger & Whale Probe)

The universe of Star Trek is full of advanced technology, some of it achieving high levels of machine intelligence. However, sometimes these supposedly super smart machines really seem kind of dim. Take for example the V’Ger, the giant ship from a machine world with the Earth-made Voyager 6 probe at its heart. The thing was of an intelligence beyond understanding of any that encountered it, until Spock got his hands on it ("Star Trek: The Motion Picture"). Sticking with a simple mission to learn and report back to home, in 2272 V’Ger seemed headed to Earth but seemed to be really picky about how it reported back, such as using ancient radio signals. In the end it took two people (Decker & Ilia) to merge with it just to get this thing to end its tantrum and not destroy the Earth.    

V’Ger gets ready to wipe out Earth because no one said hello back in just the right way

And what about the giant Ho-Ho-lookalike Probe that visited Earth in 2286 ("Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home"). The probe dropped by to have a nice chat with some humpback whales, but couldn’t find any and its transmissions aimed at Earth’s oceans were so powerful that they caused a planetary disaster. The thing was totally indestructible so Admiral Kirk and his crew hand to go back in time to get some whales just to tell the thing to chill out. But really, shouldn’t a super-intelligent probe be able to sort out that its benevolent little "hello" was killing millions of sentient species?  

Whale probe gets really pissed at Earth when no one picks up the phone

#4 Crazy Romulan Miners (Shinzon & Nero)

Humans and the Federation have had to deal with lots of hostile aliens over the centuries, but the first to pick a fight were the Romulans with the Earth Romulan War in the 22nd century. And those pesky Vulcan spin-offs have kept a grudge since then. In 2379 a Romulan-created clone of Jean Luc Picard named Shinzon took over the Romulan Empire and after faking a peace deal, he decided he was going to go all old school and kill all humans with his fancy new Thalaron Beam thingy ("Star Trek: Nemesis"). What had the Federation ever done to him? It was the Romulans that stuck him into that hellish mine on Remus. Luckily the real Jean Luc Picard was there to stop him long before he arrived at Earth so no harm, no foul.

Shinzon’s Scimitar deploys its death ray on way to Earth

Not long after Shinzon was taken care of, another crazy Romulan with misdirected anger popped up on the scene. This time it was a miner named Nero who got so angry that Spock didn’t save Romulus that he goes back in time, creates a whole new Star Trek timeline. After hanging around the new lens-flare filled universe for a while, in 2258 Nero destroys Vulcan with his giant 24th century mining ship The Narada, and then goes to Earth to do the same ("Star Trek" 2009). Luckily the alternative timeline Kirk and Spock and Enterprise were all there to stop him, but seriously this guy took things a bit far didn’t he? Spock (that’s the old Spock in the first timeline) was only trying to help. Instead of getting all tattooed up and stewing for decades over their dead loved ones, maybe Nero and his pals should have just settled down on a nice mining planet and found Harry Mudd to set them up with some women.

Nero’s Narada chooses San Francisco Bay to start drilling a really big hole

#3 Persistent Cybernetics (The Borg, The Borg, & The Borg)

If any Star Trek foes get the award for perseverance it is The Borg, the collective of cybernetic beings who really really have it in for Earth. These guys tried on multiple occasions to take out the center of the Federation. The first attempt was in 2367 when they sent one of their giant cube ships to the Earth system, but they were stopped by the crew of the USS Enterprise D (TNG" The Best of Both Worlds, Part II"). Then in 2373 ("Star Trek: First Contact") they tried again with another Cube, and once again the Enterprise was there to stop them (this time with a shiny new Enterprise E). But you can’t keep a good cyborg down, so that second cube sent a sphere back in time to try and wipe out Earth Terminator style, but again that didn’t work due to Picard and crew. In 2375 they were all set to try again with a big nanoprobe bomb, but this time it was Captain Janeway’s time to get in the way (VOY: "Dark Frontier"). It was never really made clear why the Delta Quadrant-based
Borg had such a bug up their cybernetic butts over the far away humans on Earth, but if they really wanted to take out the planet maybe send more than one cube next time? 

A glimpse of the Borg controlled Earth – before Picard set it right

#2 Manipulative Paranoid Aliens (The Guardians & The Founders)

The Star Trek universe is chock full of alien species and most find some way to coexist, but some are seriously paranoid and definitely manipulative. Take The Guardians, also know as the Sphere Builders. As Temporal Cold Warriors they worked out that humans (and the future Federation) were probably going to be a big threat to their evil plan. So they decided to take action, but were too lazy to do it themselves so they duped the poor Xindi into creating a Death Star Superweapon to wipe out Earth. The Xindi even telegraphed their big move with a test prototype that wiped out a big swath of Florida in 2153 (ENT: "The Expanse"). And that big hint led Captain Archer and the Enterprise NX-01 to get to the bottom of the whole thing and stop the big Xindi weapon (ENT: "Zero Hour"). Of course if the Xindi ever bothered to pick up on all the hints that The Guardians were transdimensional con-men who were destroying their region of space, all of this could have been avoided.

Xindi Superweapon goes kaboom shortly before wiping out Earth

Another paranoid and manipulative group of aliens are the Dominion from the Gamma Quadrant, lead by the Founders. Not long after the discovery of the Bajoran wormhole Humans started to check things out on the other side, it is only natural curiosity right? Well the xenophobic shape shifting Founders didn’t see it that way and immediately started working on taking over the Alpha Quadrant, with a special emphasis on the Federation and those pesky Earthicans. The Founders basically have some serious trust issues, so they sucker people into the Dominion to control them. And like the Guardians before them, the Founders loop in the enigmatic cold-suit wearing Breen into attacking Earth in 2375 (DS9 "The Changing Face of Evil"). The Breen did some serious damage, but didn’t actually destroy the place. The Dominion were planning some big time infiltration for that, but eventually The Sisko beat them like red-headed Ferengi.

Starfleet HQ in San Francisco after the Breen paid a visit

#1 Us (That’s right it’s You)

If Star Trek has taught us anything, the biggest threat to planet Earth is its own inhabitants. Of course by killing all those whales, humans opened the door for that Whale probe to kill us all in the 23rd century ("Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home"). Then humans almost wiped out the planet themselves with World War 3 in the 21st century (TNG: "Encounter at Farpoint"), turning much of the planet radioactive and leading to genocide (TOS: "The Savage Curtain"). The war even forced heavy-drinking scientists to turn to faster than light research just to make a buck ("Star Trek: First Contact"). 

Picard’s encounter with Earth’s WW III justice was not a pretty sight

But beyond the environmental dangers from Earth’s possible future, Star Trek warned of a much more insidious worry – the loss of our own selves and our freedoms. This began actually in the 1990s with the Eugenics Wars (TOS: "Space Seed", "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan"), where man actually began to sacrifice his own humanity. By chasing after enhancements, humanity found they were ending up being oppressed by these genetic super-men. And in 2372 humanity was again put under threat after fears of the Dominion led to a coup. The plotters wanted to trade security for wiping out the freedoms Earth residents have enjoyed for centuries (DS9: "Homefront", "Paradise Lost"). Thankfully The Sisko was once again there to put a stop to all of that.

Federation troops enforcing New Orleans curfew after coup – those horses look suspicious

Happy Earth Day

Hopefully as a good Star Trek fans you have taken all of these lessons to heart and so you can celebrate Earth Day knowing that you have done your part to protect the Earth and the freedoms all us humans enjoy.

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We’ve been in a real and surreptitious eugenics war since the early 20th century, and it was started in Britain.

Hmm. Earth is always in trouble. Good Thing Capt Kirk saves the day. Again! and Again! and Again! and Again and Again and Again.

^ Nothing like Yuppies selecting for blonde hair and blue eyes, or Chinese and Indian parents selecting for boys.

Darwinism, even Social Darwinism, has nothing on parents of all stripes trying too hard.

I’m so bored of Earth being the center of attention in Star Trek. Screw it. Let it crumble be destroyed, assimilated, consumed by a black hole. In fact, let’s take it up a notch. Let’s destroy the entire solar system. Now what are you writers going to do? Don’t have an Earth to fall back on and save? I guess you’re gona have to come up with something else because you can only get away with time travel stories by so much before you might as well call Star Trek “Time Trek”.

Seriously, screw Earth.

#5 Jeyl. That is a little over the top-for a Trek film! Then it would be degraded to the slew of doomsday movies that have recently inundated the big screen in the last 10 yrs, and no longer a Trek movie.

Didn’t occur to me that Nero wasn’t the first pissed off Romulan miner to happen along….

I recall Leonard Nimoy saying in the commentary for ST4 that the studio wanted to add subtitles to the conversation between the whales and the probe—to explain the probe’s origin and intent. Thankfully, Nimoy overruled them, stating that leaving it a mystery would be more interesting for the audience.

Now that’s a filmmaker!

JJ Abrams isn’t on the list. Why isn’t he on the list?

(i’m kidding)

A new Star Trek TV show set today about how the “supermen” come to power and ending with the Eugenics Wars would be so…topical. I mean you could skewer so much with that premise.

Instead we get crappy spy shows that pose edge-of-your-seat dilemmas like:

“Oh NOOOO, if I snip the wrong wire the bomb will explode!”

Threat #6

Berman and Braga

‘nuf said…

i have 2 agree with the list. but, i do not find the Whale Probe stuipd,i love ST4!!! and Leonard Nimoy 4 that matter!!

Still think Threat #1 (humans) and a killer asteroid with our name on it will be our ultimate threat. We’ve already started to work on the environment. With overpopulation, heavy industrialization, exhaustion of resources, raising the global temperature and increasing carbon dioxide/monoxide levels — my goodness; we ARE the Borg! :- o

#1 is definitely the truth nothing fictional about that.

That’s what I liked about “The Doomsday Machine”
It was headed for “the most densely populated section of our galaxy”
The whole “headed directly towards Earth” thing always seemed a bit contrived and cliche.

Comment #6 – I just want to say THANK YOU to Anthony for pointing out that Nemesis and the “new” Trek ’09 were uncannily similar: “Crazed bald Romulan miner holds personal grudge against Enterprise crew, builds giant bug-shaped ship, goes off to destroy Earth, stopped just in the nick of time by the Enterprise in a huge explosion.” Coincidence? I think NOT!!


Not only that, both featured Starfleet captains ramming their ships into behemoth enemy vessels (Enterprise E crashing into Scimitar, though the E survived and the Kelvin crashing into the Narada, resulting in the Kelvin’s destruction).

Although I agree with the US section, the only part I highly disagree with is us affecting the climate. I don’t believe man has the power to change the climate simply by production, and to be honest, I find that to be an arrogant viewpoint. But still, there are other ways that we are a threat to ourselves and this planet: Nuclear War being the top of the list, followed by genetic manipulation, followed by creating more advanced computers and machines (Yes people, I do fear a machine uprising!)

#1 Us (That’s right it’s You)


I for one liked these kind of scenarios best, and would love to see some more in ST.


how nice of you. then after all that happens, where would you be able to comment about it?

1. dmduncan – April 22, 2011
We’ve been in a real and surreptitious eugenics war since the early 20th century, and it was started in Britain.

What are you burbling about?

Yes, the danger of losing our freedom is a very real possibility that we must all work vigilantly to prevent. In part this can be done by holding our respective government’s accountable by ensuring they are responsible with their decisions, from which military actions to undertake to balancing the budget to overall governmental policy.

“You know, there are words I remember since I was a school boy. ‘With the first link the chain is forged. The first speech censored, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably’ Those words were spoken by Judge Aaron Satie, the first time any man’s freedom is trodden upon, we’re all damaged.” -Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) TNG: “The Drumhead”

“Vigilance, Mr. Worf. That is the price we must continually pay.” -Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) TNG: “The Drumhead”

15, yes the plots of both Nemesis and Star Trek XI were very, very similar. In short, other than putting the story in the alternate universe so that they could play fast and loose with the Trek universe, the plot to Star Trek XI wasn’t even remotely original.

V’Ger was simply Nomad revamped, the whale probe was just plain stupid with no dramatic tension to it, Shinzon and Nero were simply Khan rehashed, the Borg attack in First Contact was absurd as they simply would have gone back in time before approaching Earth and assimilated it without interference and the Xindi and Breen attacks were from friggin’ television episodes!

You know, an original storyline WOULD BE A NICE F***ING CHANGE!

Like Nemesis was original. The most important difference was that trek XI was a great film whereas Nemesis was awful. I know there are 5 people that loved it but wow, imaging having 100 mill spent just to entertain you and a couple of buddies.

Happy Earff day everbodie

#17 Climate change is something that the Earth has gone through since its creation. It seems to go through phases.

However, with the technological advances within the last 100 years, the effect on the environment cannot be ignored. It is not just the high level of pollution. Planet earth’s biggest enemy has been and is still the indiscriminate use of the CHAIN SAW.

Great write-up! I was planning something similar, but you beat me to it. And I probably would have forgotten about Earth’s fifth enemy – us.

Someone once said, “As long as there are people like us there will always be a world like this to live on.”

#16: Yes, you’re right! Ship-ramming doesn’t happen very often in the ST Universe. How could I forget?

#24: True, originality doesn’t necessarily determine entertainment value. I liked both films a lot. (Yes,I admit – I’m one of the “5” people out there who liked Nemesis.) Just out of curiosity, I often see flaming anti-Nemesis comments asserting that the film “sucked” without much evidence to support that conclusion. Just wondering what people are thinking – sure there were plot holes, but there are in every movie ever made. Just sayin’.

@19: “how nice of you. then after all that happens, where would you be able to comment about it?”

Maybe on Deep Space Nine in Quark’s Bar.

@14: “That’s what I liked about “The Doomsday Machine”
It was headed for “the most densely populated section of our galaxy”
The whole “headed directly towards Earth” thing always seemed a bit contrived and cliche.”

That was until they made the Television Spot for the remastered episode.

I really like fact that Nemesis and 09 correlate well story wise. To me it feels like we really are picking up from the end of Nemesis. Instead of a Trek 09 just being an out of blue story about something else entirely. A nice thematic flow…or something.

Hmm, the Breen….they could do with some big screen action IMO

# 26 – Hi… Keachick we ‘ll all be so in the future of Earth… what do you think? … LOL and +LOL

Click on photo for larger view…

:-) :-)

The top threat to Earth is Star Trek. It cuts into the productivity of all of us who enjoy it. ;)


And the Enterprise is always the only ship in range to intercept!

#33 LOL!!! I’ve got to wonder how our drop-dead gorgeous CP managed to get a gorn face – photoshopped or something or did CP himself actually find a gorn mask to wear for that photo? Even without seeing his face, his body is an aesthetic pleasure for me to look at.

# 36 – Keachick … I have no idea who did it … someone creative and fun photoshopped a picture from that photoshoot for Details magazine,
remember? .. you know there are no photos or news about Chris Pine has been a while … then I think the fans are having fun with old photos!… I suspect that CP moved and gave no address for the paps! …. LOL

:-) :-)

What about threats to the Earth… I prefer that action in Star Trek Sequel happen in other places … far from here… yes, “where no man has gone before”… hmmmm … LOL

:-) :-)

I had read that Chris Pine had bought a house late last year in a British magazine (online). He did not say where the house was. I assume it would be somewhere in the Los Angeles area near the Hollywood studios, but I suppose nobody knows exactly. I wonder if he also traded his Honda in for a Porsche earlier this year as well. That car does look good!

If only he would come say “Hi” here. We will be nice to him, now won’t we, everyone?!…:)


Yes definitely … :-) :-)

Anthony, I like #5 through 24, but I don’t see the #1 is supported by the episodes and movies. Seems like you are trying to force fit a political message in here. I actually agree with your message, but again, I don’t think the the episodes and movies support your contention that man destroying earth would be the #1 threat.

Since, as far as we know, there is no alien threat, save a possible rogue asteroid, at the moment mankind is the no. 1 threat to our own survival on planet earth. I guess it is a question as to whether you wish to include all of the world’s populations, ie human, animal and plant life, or just your own ass and those of your nearest and dearest. Unless Earth is imploded like Vulcan, I guess there will always be some who will survive and even do quite well at that, but what about the rest? I suppose it is a question of perspective.

@48 “Since, as far as we know, there is no alien threat, save a possible rogue asteroid, at the moment mankind is the no. 1 threat to our own survival on planet earth.”

Sure, I agree. However, this Top 5 list is suppose to be the Top 5 STAR TREK threats to earth…in other words, based on all the Trek series and movies, rank the Top 5 threats to Earth.

It’s pretty evident that #1 actually IS supported by episodes and movies. Like First Contact, The Savage Curtain, Homefront/Paradise Lost…this seems really familiar. Oh. Because they’re listed as part of #1.


I believe you can also include Demons and Terra Prime into the mix.

THe increase of xenophobia in some humans was an element in season 4.

@44. Given how far you have to stretch those movies/episodes, where in contrast you have numerous episodes and movies where earth is directly threatened with destruction, there is absolutely no way you could rate humans at the #1 threat to earth in 23rd and 24th Century Star Trek. Sorry, I am not buying it — the evidence from the actual movies and episodes simply does not support the #1 ranking here.

My Top 2 threats to earth in the 23rd and 24th Centuries in Trek would be:

1. The Borg…hands down.

2. Big Uncontrollable things (V’ger, Doomsday Machine, Whale-Ship from Trek 2, other crazy stuff from many episodes).

Great List. I think people just need to remember this list is just because it is Earth Day. Don’t forget, there have been plenty of other planets and societies at risk of destruction throughout all of Star Trek. Not every episode and movie was about a direct threat to Earth. Yes, Earth featured prominently at times, but Star Trek was always a human-centric show, because we are human beings. It’s easier to relate to an Earth at risk as opposed to some fictional planet.

I agree with MJ about #1 in a sense because for Us to be the primary threat requires drawing on a number of episodes throughout Star Trek. 2 to 5 can cite one or two specific examples of a direct attack on Earth, while #1 has to draw on elements of many different examples. You can certainly cite human beings as a threat in the Star Trek universe, but the waters are a little murkier.

#7–The novel for Star Trek IV actually did describe the conversation between the whales and the probe (it’s been so long since I read it though, that I’d have to go back and re-read it again). But in the movie, I though it was a good idea to leave it murkier. If you wanted to know what was said, you had to read the book. But I think you can kind of get the gist even without it beeing spoon-fed by subtitles.

29–I guess I was the 2nd of 5 that liked Nemesis also. However I can see how it would not appeal to the general public as much. It’s easy to bash because it did not do well at the box office (something I have always attributed to the fact that it was released at the same time as a Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and a James Bond film–a recipe for disaster for any film). I agree that it was by no means blockbuster worthy, but had Paramount waited a few months for less competition, it would have fared better. I just watched Nemesis a few weeks ago when I decided to watch all 11 films over the last few months. I enjoyed it again then and have not let others opinions change my own. It had a great battle scene, the Remans were a creepy villain, and it had greater character moments then the other TNG movies. I also noted before that of the 4 TNG movies, Nemesis and First Contact were the two that did not feel to me that they could easily be one of the episodes of the TNG. They both felt like bona-fide movies to me.

So hey, people want to trash Nemesis, whatever. I’ve got all 11 films on special edition DVD (along with all the series). It’s always a great ride to watch all of them.

How did Spock/Uhura not make this list??