There Used to Be Aliens in Our Galaxy, but They Killed Themselves Off

There Used to Be Aliens in Our Galaxy, but They Killed Themselves Off


    In a new study, researchers suggest the answer to the Fermi paradox could be pretty bleak: Maybe all the intelligent civilizations have annihilated themselves. Jeez, 2020, that’s a little on the nose.

    You love searching for the truth. So do we. Let’s find it together.

    This is the Fermi paradox stated at its most succinct: The universe is unfathomably gigantic, but so far, we’ve never seen any sign that there’s intelligent life anywhere else.

    We’ve never observed an extraterrestrial living thing, or uncovered any evidence for extinct ones. As we peer further out into our corner of the universe using more and more powerful telescopes, for example, people continue to hold out hope that we’ll find evidence of a civilization, Dyson sphere, or anything just around the next corner.

    But there’s a problem with that line of thinking. A civilization that we’d see from this far away, let alone one that could have built something like a Dyson sphere, is likely to be peering back at us.

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    Why aren’t they sending telescope satellites through our part of space? And how can it be that out of all the planets and systems we’ve peeked into so far, we’ve seen nothing?

    There are as many individual theories as there are theorists, and these run a huge gamut.

    “The existence of extraterrestrial intelligence is directly related to habitability and a galactic habitable zone (GHZ); where habitable planets are located and where potential life are most likely to form,” the new study’s researchers (three Caltech physicists and one high school student), write:

    “Overall, previous studies of habitability and the likelihood of intelligent life have provided many valuable insights; however, the precise propensity of galactic intelligent life to emerge has not yet been explored with spatial and temporal analysis, nor has any research explicitly estimated an age distribution for potential life within the Galaxy.”

    These researchers wanted to add nuance to the discussion by increasing the depth of their analysis, and they wanted to gauge how relatively “old” any alien civilizations are likely to be. This is a critical factor in whether or not a civilization can even travel in space or put out intergalactic feelers, because they can only do that from a key “sweet spot.”

    Too young, and, like us before very recently, they simply won’t have the means yet. Too old, and they could be stripped of technology in a post-apocalyptic burnout.

    They could even be extinct. In fact, the research includes parameters for extinction and the idea of “self annihilation,” a probabilit



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