Warning: You can infer spoilers about the movie Prometheus from this post.
So I just saw Prometheus this afternoon. It was a very good movie - not excellent, mind, but enjoyable to watch, and if you're a fan of science fiction/horror I recommend it. But a lot of the plot seemed to be... well, idiot-driven. Basically, if somebody needs to do something to advance the plot in this movie, and it doesn't make any sense whatsoever to do it... They'll do it! Because they're morons.
Clearly nobody on the Prometheus was trained in proper archeology, biology, or sociology techniques. But I am here to help! The following is a list of rules to follow when working on a xeno (alien) archaeology dig. Follow them, and you might live. Key word might.
Earle's Rules for Xenoarchaeology:
1. A xenoarchaeology team should be composed of well-trained specialists, preferably with a long history of working together. At the very least, they should spend several months training together to acclimate to the expected conditions on site. Do not throw twenty or so strangers into a tin can and shoot it into space.
2. Every effort should be made to take advantage of favorable site conditions and minimize risk. If you have a choice between getting in a quick six hours of exploration or starting work properly on a full day, choose the latter. Additionally, atmospheric conditions should always be taken into consideration before commencing a dig.
3. All team members should follow proper atmospheric quarantine procedures at all times. If you should encounter a human-breathable atmosphere within the dig site, do not take the opportunity to remove your helmet. Airborne or surface microorganisms or contagions may still be present.
4. In the event a team member violates atmospheric quarantine procedure, that team member should be immediately quarantined. A clean room should be identified where the team member can be kept under strict observation and given medical treatment if necessary. Other team members should not have physical contact with compromised team members. Coitus with compromised team members is strongly discouraged.
5. All routes taken within a xenoform structure should be clearly marked for all team members.
6. Team members should remain together at all times within xenoform structures.
7. No robots, androids or artificial intelligences which are not Three Laws Compliant (TLC) certified should accompany a xenoarchaeology team. In the event such artificial personnel are required, they should be closely supervised at all times and not permitted to operate according to their own agenda.
8. Team members who are on duty or expected to be on duty within forty-eight hours should not consume intoxicants. Because of the nature of xenoarchaeology, this will generally mean that no team members will be able to consume any intoxicants at all. Medical and psychological counseling should be provided to team members who require it.
9. Any team member who believes he or she has been compromised by the environment site should report for immediate medical treatment.
10. Team members should treat all local flora and fauna with caution. Xenoform life may react to any stimulus in unexpected and possibly dangerous ways. Remember that there is no known correlation between a xenoform's attractiveness and its potential threat level.
11. Fraternization between team members need not be prohibited, so long as such occurrences do not occur during duty hours.
12. A team member should be standing watch at all times. Any team member who needs to leave his watch station should notify another team member and wait to be replaced.
13. If it becomes necessary to put a team member into emergency cryostasis, do not leave the team member unattended until they have been secured.
14. Report all incidences of assault on or by a team member to the designated security officer immediately.
15. Medical equipment should only be used by trained staff. While it is possible to perform complicated cosmetic and internal surgery on yourself with certain advanced medical equipment, this is strongly discouraged.
16. Personnel deemed medically unfit should not take part in team activities, nor should they be shipped to another galaxy in cryostasis in the hope of making them medically fit after the fact.
17. By definition, a xenoform tomb will not contain the secret to immortality.
18. First contact with a potentially sentient xenoform should only be undertaken by a trained First Contact Specialist (FCS). In the event a FCS is not available, a TLC artificial with appropriate language skills may be substituted, so long as any accompanying team members are capable of a very fast sprint.
19. In the event it becomes necessary to dispose of a xenoform, take all necessary to actions to ensure that disposal is completed in a timely manner. The disposal process should be supervised until the xenoform is reduced to ash and swept out of the nearest airlock.
20. In the event of an accident, a full report should be submitted to offsite dig supervisors detailing exactly what went wrong and how the situation was resolved, if at all. Flowery, suggestive language that would potentially encourage a second expedition is strongly discouraged, especially in the event of a catastrophic expedition failure.