Tag Archives: Fermi Paradox

The Fermi paradox is the apparent contradiction between the lack of evidence and high probability estimates, e.g. those given by the Drake equation, for the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations. The basic points of the argument, made by physicists Enrico Fermi (1901–1954) and Michael H. Hart (born 1932), are:

  • There are billions of stars in the galaxy that are similar to the Sun, many of which are billions of years older than Earth.
  • With high probability, some of these stars will have Earth-like planets, and if the Earth is typical, some might develop intelligent life.
  • Some of these civilizations might develop interstellar travel, a step the Earth is investigating now.
  • Even at the slow pace of currently envisioned interstellar travel, the Milky Way galaxy could be completely traversed in about a million years.

According to this line of thinking, the Earth should have already been visited by extraterrestrial aliens. In an informal conversation, Fermi noted no convincing evidence of this, leading him to ask, “Where is everybody?” There have been many attempts to explain the Fermi paradox, primarily suggesting either that intelligent extraterrestrial life is extremely rare, or proposing reasons that such civilizations have not contacted or visited Earth.

Robert H. Gray of Scientific American says “Despite what you’ll often read, the Nobel prizewinning nuclear physicist never suggested that aliens don’t exist. Enrico Fermi, a Nobel prizewinner who built the first nuclear reactor, never published a word on the subject of extraterrestrials.”. Read the article titled “The Fermi Paradox Is Not Fermi’s, and It Is Not a Paradox” on Scientific American.

Source: wikipedia

Are we the first?

In 1950, the Italian physicist Enrico Fermi was chatting with his colleagues at the Los Alamos National Laboratory(1). They talked about recent rise in UFO reports, then the conversation shifted to other subjects. But during the lunch, Fermi suddenly asked “Where is everybody?”. He was talking about the extraterrestrial life, especially intelligent life. He made some calculations on the probability of Earth like planets, the beginning of life, the probability of intelligent life and high technology and concluded that we ought to have been visited long ago and many times over.

But, there is no reliable evidence aliens have visited Earth and we have observed no intelligent extraterrestrial life with current technology nor has SETI found any transmissions from other civilizations. The Universe, apart from the Earth, seems “dead”.

So, where is everybody?
Continue reading Are we the first?

Will We Ever Visit Other Stars?

The Earth is our one and only home. As Carl Sagan said (Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space), “On Earth, everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.”.

But will we ever leave our home and visit other stars in future?
Continue reading Will We Ever Visit Other Stars?