Are We Alone?

As we’ve seen over the past few generations, our ability to harness technology to accomplish things never before seen or done has only increased exponentially. As a race, we’ve been able to photograph a black hole, we’ve been able to send probes to places in space that were thought to be unreachable, and we’ve just overall been able to further explore the Cosmos as a whole. However, with this rapid increase in explorational manpower, we beg the question — are we the only organic beings out there? How is it that we have not found evidence yet of any galactic civilization?

This is the exact question that the Fermi Paradox concerns itself with. Enrico Fermi, a Nobel-Prize winning physicist, created the paradox to encompass the idea of how we have yet to detect an alien civilization even though we know that there are billions of different stars, planets, and other places in space that aren’t our Solar System. As we know, there are several different solutions that attempt to explain Fermi’s Paradox. They include the following list of different explanations:

  1. We could be alone in the entire Universe. Galactic civilizations are so rare that we’re seemingly just an anomaly (i.e. we’re the first).
  2. We could be one of many different civilizations, but nobody’s colonized the galaxy we’re in. This could be a result of costly interstellar travel, space exploration being boring, or that most galaxies are colonized and ours just isn’t overly important or relevant. It could also be that all civilizations in the past that have had the ability to colonize the Cosmos have destroyed themselves before actually colonizing anything.
  3. There are galactic civilizations out there, but they have yet to reveal themselves to us yet (for whatever reason).

It’s important to note that Drake’s Equation readily ties into the ideas that Fermi’s Paradox discusses. As we know, his equation represents a probability that estimates the number of different extraterrestrial civilizations in our galaxy. All in all, it seems like most of these theories and equations are largely conjecture — we really don’t know what’s out there, at all. The moment we learn about another civilization existing in space, there will be a large turning point in history. It would be crazy to find out that there exists civilizations other than ours!

The picture below explains Drake’s Equation, which summarizes the different factors that represent how likely we may come into contact with alien civilizations (which is super relevant to the Fermi Paradox!).

drake-eqn.png
A visual representation of the different factors involved in Drake’s Equation (as found at the following link.

 

3 thoughts on “Are We Alone?

  1. Great post – it was informative and detailed, so much so that I can only think of one thing to the add to the discussion. On the note of galactic civilizations, one topic I found interesting in my indulgence of my guilty pleasure (youtube documentaries/commentaries) is that of the Great Filter. This video describes the concept of the filter, and that evidence of a galactic civilization would be pretty bad for us, since it would mean there was a hurdle that spelled the doom for another, and that we might be approaching it as well! It’s another question that I think adds to the narrative, since it brings into question whether we really want to find evidence or not. https://solarsystem.home.blog/2019/04/26/are-we-alone/

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  2. I really like the post and the topic of Fermi paradox. I especially like an interesting theory that there may be an filter which distinguishes civilizations from each other: we may be the only few lucky one who passed the filter after industrial revolution; or maybe no civilizations have been passed that line yet so no one can start space travel to find other civilizations; or we are the one that’s left out.

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  3. I really think that any civilization able to develop itself without destroying their habitat and themselves would not be interested in conversation with humanity. Until we prove that we are capable of handling the technological developments needed to interface with the potentially existing galactic society, why would they want to talk to us? It would be like having a conversation with a 2 year old, possibly even worse.

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