There Used to Be Aliens in Our Galaxy, but They Killed Themselves Off
From popular mechanics
A new mathematical model suggests that any extraterrestrial life in our galaxy is likely very young.
This is due to the high probability that intelligent civilizations will "self-destruct". Uff!
This research adds the relative age dimension to the ongoing discussion about alien life.
In a new study, researchers suggest that the answer to the Fermi Paradox might be pretty bleak: Perhaps all intelligent civilizations have self-destructed. Gosh, 2020, that's a little on the nose.
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This is the most succinct Fermi Paradox: the universe is incredibly gigantic, but so far we have never seen any evidence of intelligent life anywhere else.
We have never observed an alien creature or discovered evidence of extinct. For example, if we look further into our corner of the universe with increasingly powerful telescopes, people continue to hope that we can find evidence of a civilization, a Dyson Sphere, or something just around the next corner.
But there is a problem with that way of thinking. A civilization that we would see from afar, much less one that could have built something like a Dyson sphere, will likely look back on us.
Why aren't they sending telescopic satellites through our part of space? And how can it be that we have seen nothing of all the planets and systems that we have looked into so far?
There are as many individual theories as there are theorists, and they are wide-ranging.
“The existence of extraterrestrial intelligence is directly related to habitability and a galactic habitable zone (GHZ). Where habitable planets are and where potential life is most likely to form, ”write the researchers of the new study (three Caltech physicists and a student):
“Overall, previous studies on habitability and the likelihood of intelligent living have provided a lot of valuable insight. However, the exact propensity of galactic intelligent life to arise has not yet been investigated using spatial and temporal analyzes, and no research has yet been explicitly estimated on an age distribution for potential life in the galaxy. "
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These researchers wanted to give the discussion a nuance by increasing the depth of their analysis, and they wanted to gauge how relatively "old" alien civilizations are likely to be. This is a crucial factor in whether a civilization can travel in space or trigger intergalactic feelers because they can only do so from an important "sweet spot".
Too young and like us recently, they just don't have the means. Too old and they could be robbed of technology in a post-apocalyptic burnout.
They could even be extinct. Indeed, the research includes parameters for extinction and the idea of "self-annihilation," a probability that could be extremely high.
"Since we cannot rule out the high probability of annihilation, [this result] suggests that most of the potentially complex life in the galaxy is still very young," the scientists explain. That means there might be a spread, but there are other civilizations that can't get into the galaxy just like us.
What is the point of this research? It is fair to ask, just as it is fair to ask questions about projects like SETI, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.
However, these researchers have a clear goal: to set a touchstone for others who wish to further explore the Fermi Paradox. You explain:
“The exact number of intelligent lives estimated here is not the focus of our work. Instead, it is the development of a statistical, comprehensive galactic image that tracks the potential growth propensity of intelligent life over a period of ~ 20 billion years. "
In fact, we don't know what's hiding around the next intergalactic corner.
? Now look at this:
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