No LGM for You! Come Back 1000 Years! - Is There Anybody Out There?

I don’t believe they're already here. No UFOs flying at night across the Nevada desert. No grays abducting people to perform surgical operations. No LGM creating magnificent crop circles. No flying saucer crashed in Roswell. No alien craft hidden in area 51. No prime numbers transmitted from planet Vega. No government conspiracy. No secret agency. No black suits. No Will Smith. No Tommy Lee Jones. No nothing. Just white noise on your SETI@Home.

The Drake equation is a formula estimating the number of extraterrestrial civilizations in our galaxy with which we might come in contact. It takes into consideration the rate of star formation, the number of stars that have planets, the number of planets that can potentially support life and actually go on to develop intelligent life willing and able to communicate, and the expected lifetime of such a civilization for the period that it can communicate across interstellar space. Modern estimations range from very close to zero up to 10,000 civilizations in our galaxy alone. So where is everybody?

Maybe the Rare Earth hypothesis is true and earth is not typical, but unusual, and perhaps even unique. The human species might be alone in the galaxy or even the universe. Maybe the inhospitable universe destroys complex intelligent life by ice ages and asteroids, or civilizations destroy themselves after reaching a certain technological stage by nuclear wars, biological warfare, etc. Maybe communication is not possible due to huge differences in physical location or time. Maybe we’re not listening to the right radio frequencies or long enough to detect alien transmissions, or maybe they simply don’t care to communicate with us because they think we’re too primitive.

Our fragile blue round sphere floats silently all alone in the dark cold void of space, reaching out, hoping someone else is there to answer our call. I don’t know why aliens haven’t contacted us yet, but the least you can do is stop writing software in Visual Basic; Don’t let them think we’re primitive.

p.s. If stuck on a deserted island, I would bring the book “101 Ways to Escape a Deserted Island”.


Gordo said...

Man... I just downloaded Chipmunk Basic in order to get my kid interested in physics (to no avail, I must add). I would deem enough proof of alien civilization if Eliza was ever translated into coherent Spanish.

Uri Kalish said...

You sure this is the best way to get your kid fall in love with science? How about some colorful educational TV shows?