Are we alone in the Universe? The American cartoonist Matthew Inman published a brilliant comic titled “The Oracle” on his website “The Oatmeal”. Inman’s comic gives the most probable answer (IMHO) to Fermi Paradox, which can be summarized in these three words – “Where is everybody”.
Inman’s comic based on this tweet from @ASmallFiction below:
Fermi Paradox: are we alone? If not – where’s everybody?
The Fermi paradox is the apparent contradiction between high estimates of the probability of the existence of extraterrestrial civilization and humanity’s lack of contact with, or evidence for, such civilizations. The basic points of the argument, made by physicists Enrico Fermi and Michael H. Hart, are:
- The Sun is a typical star, and relatively young. There are billions of stars in the Milky Way galaxy that are billions of years older.
- Almost surely, some of these stars will have Earth-like planets. Assuming the Earth is typical, some of these planets may develop intelligent life.
- Some of these civilizations may develop interstellar travel, a technology Earth is investigating even now (such as the 100 Year Starship, also known as the Generation Starship).
- Even at the slow pace of currently envisioned interstellar travel, the galaxy can be completely colonized in a few tens of millions of years.
According to this line of thinking, the Earth should already have been colonized or at least visited. But no convincing evidence of this exists. Furthermore, no confirmed signs of intelligence elsewhere have yet been spotted in our galaxy or (to the extent it would be detectable) elsewhere in the observable universe. Hence Fermi’s question, “Where is everybody?”
The most probable answer to Fermi Paradox
In my opinion, the most probable answer to Fermi Paradox is: there are probably other lifeforms (even advanced civilizations) in the Universe, but the distances between stars and galaxies are way too vast to even communicate, let alone to “visit” each other.
There’s probably no “galactic civilization” in the Universe. I’ve previously published an article about that, titled “There is most probably no Kardashev Type III civilization in the Universe. Here’s why“.