The famous science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke once said “two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or not. Both are equally terrifying”. Humanity is fascinated by the idea that life could exist beyond Earth. For more than fifty years the specialists of the project to search for extraterrestrial intelligence SETI scans the galaxy to no avail. It would seem that the answer is obvious, but the sequence and the prospects of discoveries of exoplanets again and again give us hope that someday the search will be successful.
If aliens existed and where are they?
Since one of the “fathers” of the atomic bomb and winner of the Nobel prize in physics Enrico Fermi formulated the famous question “Where is everybody?” as the decades passed. The answer is still no, but there is a paradox, named after the scientist.
The paradox can be formulated as follows: the Universe is older than 14 billion years, then other creatures had plenty of time to contact us. So where is everyone?
Of course, a series of the greatest space achievements ahead — imagine what awaits us after the first interplanetary flights and launching interstellar probes to alpha Centauri. In the end, the first manned flight into space took place only 58 years ago — baby time in the Universe.
What do you think? Why man in space redundant?
The Drake Equation
However, to confidently state that we are alone in the Universe, we need proof. And, to put it mildly, is not enough. If not, what does not exist. Besides, not everyone is satisfied with the talks that the laws of physics do not allow spacecrafts to reach speeds above a certain. More about the conquest of space read on our channel in Yandex.Zen
In 1961, scientist Francis Drake wrote the equation for the estimation of technologically advanced and transmit messages of civilizations in the milky Way galaxy. Idea Drake was a genius because he wrote a lot of parameters that you can estimate and then multiply.
According to the equation number of civilizations (N) in our galaxy with whom we could establish contact, can be determined by the following formula:
N = R* x fp x ne x fl x fi x fc x L, where:
- R* — average rate of star formation in our galaxy
- fp — percentage of stars that have planets
- ne — number of planets where life is possible
- fl — the number of planets on which life can develop
- fi — the number of planets that might develop intelligent life
- fc is the number of civilizations that will develop technology
- L is the length of time during which these civilizations have to send their signals into space
Many astrophysicists have long tried to calculate each value, but the final decision on a date there. Besides, in the Drake equation we are talking only about technologically advanced civilizations. But despite the fact that all parameters in the equation can’t be specified with absolute precision, the more we learn, the more accurate the equation becomes. As they say, the enthusiasts, do not get discouraged!
Speaking about the solution to the Fermi paradox, it is impossible not to mention the Soviet astrophysicist Nikolai Kardashev. He proposed a classification of civilizations according to the amount of useful energy they can use. Scale parts of civilization:
- Type 1. A civilization capable of using all the energy available on the planet
- Type 2. A civilization capable of using all the energy radiated by its star
- 3. Civilization is able to harness the energy of the entire Galaxy
The representatives of the civilization of the second or third type must be able to move around the Galaxy at a speed close to the speed of light. Faster they are unlikely to succeed, since it will have to violate existing laws of physics.
According to modern calculations, for several thousand years we will become a civilization of the second type, but to the third we continue to grow and grow — this process can take humanity from 100 thousand to million years. Astronomer and science popularizer Carl Sagan believed that we are somewhere in the 70% of the way to the civilization of the first type, but to achieve this level will be able only a couple of centuries.
Possible solutions to the Fermi paradox
Aliens is not and has never existed. Sounds exactly like one of the possible solutions to the Fermi paradox. Last year physicist Alexander Berezin published a paper which suggested the most gloomy scenario. According to the Berezina, the first technologically advanced civilization that has mastered interstellar travel would destroy all the others. Absorbing all possible resources for the sake of its own existence, it will begin to Deplete the worlds that have life, thus destroying in its path other civilizations. The scientist is convinced that humanity is the only intelligent civilization in the Universe, who have come so far in its development.
Life is. But she is unwise. The discovery of water on Mars last year, promises unprecedented discoveries, for example, the identification of simple alien microorganisms, such as algae or microbes. Most likely, 10-20 years humanity will know that life beyond Earth exists. Today, many scientists suggest that diverse forms of life can live in the icy worlds like Saturn’s moon Enceladus and the other, recently discovered exoplanets. It remains only to search for answers to eternal questions — what makes reasonable the unreasonable forms of life?
In 1973, the American astronomer John ball suggested that other civilizations know of our existence and numerous attempts to contact us were not successful. Imagine that you meet in the forest chimpanzees. Will you talk to him and if so, will you do your interview? The answer is obvious, and according to Boll, we simply do not bother, preferring to observe the animals in the zoo. Sounds pretty disappointing, especially that disprove this hypothesis nobody.
To date, the question “are we alone the Universe” has no answer. However, the biology on Earth can tell a lot about the likelihood of life and the conditions leading to the development of intelligence. In the end, the lack of observed intelligence does not mean that advanced civilizations exist for long or non-existent.
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