The Fermi Paradox: Why haven’t we seen aliens yet?

The European space observatory “Plateau”, which will be launched in 2026, will explore Earth-like planets and study their properties.

In a galaxy supposedly full of intelligent beings, we haven’t found a trace of their existence yet. Why haven’t we seen any of them yet? “where are they?” A question posed by the famous physicist Enrico Fermi in the fifties of the last century is known as the Fermi Paradox, and has remained unanswered to this day. What is the Fermi Paradox? What are the most important proposed solutions to solve it?

What is the Fermi Paradox?

Our galaxy contains about 300 billion stars, many of which are billions of years older than the Sun. Scientific estimates based on mathematical probabilities indicate that a large proportion of these stars host planets suitable for the emergence of life on them. Thus, there must be a number of intelligent civilizations in the galaxy even if life has evolved on a very small percentage of these planets.

With rocket-based technologies that humans have developed to travel into space, scientists estimate, according to the Institute for the Search for Extraterrestrial Life website, “city ​​dot org SETI” that the settlement of the entire galaxy and the spread of our civilization on it will take between 5 million and 50 million years.

Mathematical possibilities confirm that a civilization reaching the level reached by humans logically allows such a thing to happen several times over the last ten billion years in our Milky Way galaxy, but where is the evidence for the existence of these civilizations? This discrepancy has been dubbed the Fermi Paradox.

Settling the entire galaxy and spreading our civilization on it will take between 5 million and 50 million years (Ro Pixel)

What are the possible solutions to the Fermi paradox?

Scientists propose a number of possible solutions to the Fermi paradox, the first of which is, according to the website “Live Science(LiveScience) We still don’t have the means to look far enough into the universe to find other life. The discovery of the first planets outside our solar system only became possible in the 1990s.

To date, we have not found a large number of planets that are completely similar to the Earth, and revolve around stars like our sun. Also, interstellar travel is still elusive. The closest star system to Earth, for example, Alpha Centauri, is approximately 4 light-years away, and it may take tens of thousands of years to travel there with the technologies available today.

It is also possible that intelligent beings visited Earth long ago without leaving a trace, or that life is so rare in the galaxy that the chances of two intelligent civilizations living relatively close together are very slim.

Settling the galaxy and spreading our civilization in it takes between 5 million and 50 million years (Pixabe)‘Great Candidate’ may have wiped out intelligent life from habitable worlds (Pixaby)

What is the great filter and its relation to the Fermi paradox?

But the solution that seems bleaker, to some scientists, is to be alone in the universe. The probability of the evolution of a life form such as that found on Earth may simply be so weak that our planet is the only place in the universe where such evolution occurred.

But most scientists believe, according to the previous source, that the latter scenario is unlikely, and in return they offer another, more likely explanation, which is the occurrence of catastrophic events known as the “Great Filter” – or the filter – that causes the elimination of intelligent life in habitable worlds before it becomes available It has the opportunity to extend its reach into the universe.

Among these devastating events, scientists mention strong stellar flares, climate change, and asteroid collisions, in addition to the possibility of these civilizations, accidentally or intentionally, causing their self-destruction. And if this idea is correct, it is not clear whether we have actually gone through this filter or not yet.

Plateau observatory can contribute to resolving the paradox in the future (ESA)

Futuristic observatories to solve the Fermi paradox

According to scientists, there is still no conclusive evidence that these solutions are correct, so our means of observing the universe must be improved. Using the most advanced telescopes, scientists will be able to examine the chemical compositions of the atmospheres of rocky planets discovered in the habitable zones of their stars, traditionally known as the region where water can be found on the surface of the planets.

However, their habitability is not only related to water, but also requires the availability of other factors, such as the moderate activity of the star, and the composition of the atmosphere suitable for life on these planets.

For that, more spacecraft searching for exoplanets will be launched in the next few years. For example, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, expected to launch soon, will examine exoplanets for the chemical composition of their atmospheres.

Missed opportunity “ The European space observatory “PLATO” (PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of stars), which will be launched in 2026, will explore and study the properties of Earth-like planets. These and other observatories will help find a solution to this paradox that will continue to excite controversy in the scientific community for many years to come.

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