Where are all the aliens? One night 60 years ago, physicist Enrico Fermi looked up at the sky and asked himself the question: “Where is everyone?”, Meaning extraterrestrial life. In his view, the galaxy was literally filled with all kinds of life, reminiscent of the earthly and not very much. Today, scientists know only that in the universe there are millions and even billions of planets capable of supporting life. Why, then, in the long history of all this life and did not reach out to (or tentaklyu) people?
Maybe the universe is too big for it to be easily overcome. Maybe the aliens deliberately ignore us. Perhaps, any blooming civilization is doomed to self-destruction (as we, for example, if we do not stop doing nonsense).
Maybe there’s something else, much more strange. Before you are nine strange answers, by which scientists tried to justify the Fermi paradox.
Aliens are hiding in the underground oceans
If people want to communicate with extraterrestrial life, we may need several icebreakers. Some believe that extraterrestrial life is imprisoned in secret oceans buried deep within frozen planets.
Subsurface oceans of liquid water are found in several satellites in our solar system and can be very common in the Milky Way. NASA physicist Alan Stern believes that underwater worlds similar to these can be ideal for the development of life, even if inhospitable conditions on the surface could harm any life. “Falls of meteorites and solar flares, supernovae nearby, orbital neighbor, poisonous atmosphere – none of this would prevent life under the ground,” says Stern.
For aliens this is fine, but it also follows that we will never be able to find them with a telescope. Do we expect that they will contact us? According to Stern, these creatures live so deeply that it is not known whether they know about the existence of the sky above their heads.
Aliens are imprisoned on “super-lands”
No, super-earth is not the birthplace of superheroes. In astronomy this term refers to the type of planets with a mass 10 times greater than terrestrial. Studies of stars have poured into heaps of such worlds that could have suitable conditions for the existence of water in liquid form. So, extraterrestrial life could evolve on super-lands throughout the universe.
Unfortunately, we are unlikely to meet with these aliens. According to a study published in April, a planet with a mass of 10 terrestrial will also have a runaway speed 2.4 times greater than Earth; overcoming this attraction can make launching a rocket and space travel almost impossible.
“On more massive planets, space flights will be times more expensive,” says study author Michael Hippke, a researcher at the Sonneberg Observatory in Germany. “Aliens will be under arrest on their own planet.”
We are not looking there (because all aliens are robots)
People invented radio in the 1900s, but the first computer appeared in 1945, and today mass production devices can produce billions of calculations per second. Full-scale artificial intelligence can be just around the corner, and futurist Seth Shostak believes that this is enough to reconsider our approach to finding intelligent aliens. Simply put, we need to look for cars, not small green men.
“Any extraterrestrial society that invents radio that we can hear will, in a few centuries, invent a new method of communication, and then successors,” says Shostak in 2016. “I think this is important, because successors are machines.”
A truly developed alien society can be entirely populated by superintelligent robots, Shostak asserts, and this should influence our search for aliens. Instead of throwing every effort to find other suitable planets for life, we should look for places that would be more attractive to machines – say, places with more energy, for example, the centers of galaxies. “We are looking for analogues of ourselves,” says Shostak, “but I do not know what will be the greater part of the intellect in the universe.”
We have already found aliens (but do not understand this)
Thanks to popular culture, the word “alien” probably evokes in you the image of an eerie humanoid with a large shiny skull. This is fine for Hollywood, but it sabotages our search for extraterrestrial life, which was written by a group of psychologists from Spain earlier this year.
In a small study, scientists asked 137 people to look at images of other planets and find signs of alien buildings on them. Among all these images, a small man in a gorilla costume hid. Since the experiment participants were looking for an extraterrestrial life directly, only 30% of them noticed the “gorilla”.
In reality, aliens are unlikely to be at least something like monkeys. Perhaps, it is not possible to see them even with the help of light and sound waves. What conclusion can be drawn from this study? Our own imagination and attitude imposes limitations on the search for extraterrestrial life. If we do not learn to expand our framework of the intelligible, we will not even see a gorilla under our noses.
People will kill all aliens (or have already killed)
The closer we get to aliens, the closer we are to destroying them. This is the opinion of the theoretical physicist Alexander Berezin.
Here is its logic: any civilization capable of exploring its own solar system must be on the path of unlimited growth and expansion. As we know on Earth, this expansion is often expensive for small organisms that stand in its way. Berezin says that the principle of “divide and conquer” is unlikely to disappear when we find aliens – if we even notice them.
“What if the first life that will get the opportunity for interstellar travel will necessarily destroy all competitors in order to feed its own distribution?” Berezin wrote in March. “I do not think that a highly developed civilization will consciously destroy other forms of life. She just will not pay attention to them, like a construction team that destroys an anthill to build a skyscraper – she simply does not need to save it. ”
The aliens launched climate change (and died)
When the planet’s population burns resources faster than the planet supplies them, the catastrophe is just around the corner. We know this well from our relationship with the climate on Earth. Why is an alien, greedy energy community can not get into the same situation?
According to astrophysicist Adam Frank, this is not only possible, but also extremely likely. Earlier this year, Frank launched a series of mathematical models to test how a hypothetical extraterrestrial civilization could survive the rise and fall if all the resources of the planet sucked. The bad news is that in three of the four scenarios their society is collapsing and most of the population is dying out. And only if society early notices the problem and immediately switches to clean energy, civilization survives. This means that if aliens exist, chances are high that they will destroy themselves before we meet them.
“In all space and time there are winners – who could see the future and prevent it – and losers who could not cope with the situation and lost civilization,” Frank says. “The question is, in which category do we want to be?”.
Aliens could not develop fast enough (and died)
Another excuse from the category “aliens are already dead.” The universe can abound in hospitable planets, but there is no guarantee that they will exist long enough for life to evolve. According to a study by the Australian National University of 2016, wet, rocky planets like the Earth are very unstable for the origin of life; if extraterrestrial life and wants to live in such a world, it will have a very small window for development (just a few million years).
“Between the first heat strokes, freezing, changing the atmosphere and the growing greenhouse effect, maintaining life on a damp, rocky planet in a habitable zone can be like trying to ride a wild bull – most of the life will fall,” the authors write. “Life in the universe can be rare not because it’s hard to start, but because it’s hard for it to last a billion years.”
Dark energy tears us apart
The universe is expanding. Slowly, but surely, the galaxies fly apart, distant stars are becoming dimmer for us, and all thanks to a mysterious, invisible substance that scientists call dark energy. They believe that in a couple of trillions of years, dark energy will stretch the Universe so much that even Earthlings can not see the light of galaxies outside our nearest neighbors in space. It’s creepy: if we do not explore the universe before, we can not explore it any more.
“The stars will not only be unobservable, but also unattainable,” says astrophysicist Dan Hooper. This means that we should hurry if we want to find some aliens – and be one step ahead of the dark energy, expanding the limits of the possessions of our civilization.
Of course, it will not be easy. Perhaps we will have to move the stars.
Turn the plot: we are the aliens
You left the house and saw an alien. Your postman from another planet. Your neighbor, too. Your parents and brothers and sisters are extraterrestrials, aliens and once again aliens.
At least, such conclusions can be made if to adhere to the theory of panspermia. In short, this hypothesis asserts that most of the life that we see on Earth today did not occur here, but was sown here millions of years ago by meteors carrying bacteria from other worlds.
Supporters of this theory assumed that octopuses, slow-moving boats and people were sown from different parts of the galaxy – but, unfortunately, there is no real evidence to support this theory. Only one big counterargument: if the bacteria carrying human DNA evolved on another planet nearby, why do not we see traces of humanity anywhere other than Earth? Even if this hypothesis proves to be plausible, it still does not give an answer to Fermi’s question: “Where is everyone?”.