Fermi’s Paradox and Galaxy Probes

The Fermi paradox (1950) can be formulated as follows

If there are extraterrestrial civilizations out there, then where are they?

In a recent paper, Rasmus Bjork of the Niels Bohr Institute argues that finding other life in the Galaxy by using space probes, and possibly solving the paradox, might take extremely long time. A time which is comparable to the age of the universe. More precisely, he estimates that with 8 probes each having 8 subprobes around 4% of the Galaxy can be explored in 9.6 billion years.

So, if we sometimes feel lonely in the Universe it is because Aliens still haven’t had the time to visit us…

See also the discussion at Mangan’s Miscellany.

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4 Responses to Fermi’s Paradox and Galaxy Probes

  1. But don’t forget that Fermi’s paradox hinges completely on the notion that UFOs do not represent extraterrestrial visitation.

  2. Kasper Olsen says:

    Fermi was asking “why are they not here?” If you think that they are already here, or have been here, then of course there is no paradox.

    What R, Bjork has been doing is science — not pseudo-science.

  3. You can label ufology whatever you want to, but that doesn’t change reality. Whether or not the study of a phenomenon is considered pseudoscientific has no bearing on whether the pheonomenon is actually REAL. A person can’t just accept the claim that “they’ve not been here” and completely ignore any and all evidence to the contrary while claiming to be doing legitimate scientific research. Any fool can pretend the opposition doesn’t exist and that he’s right whether he’s a kindergartener of an academic with a PhD. You’d think that scientists wouldn’t just blindly accept a claim made in excess of 50 years ago as if no evidence against it has come up in the mean time.

    And I mean evidence that the scientific method can be applied to, such as trace cases and such.

  4. sirix says:

    I think we don’t have any good guesses on how common life in universe is. It can turn out that life is on 99% of earth-like planets, and it also might be that earth is the only inhabited planet in whole galaxy (or even universe).

    I don’t really see good arguments for any of these alternatives. However, I think that such arguments can be developed by making progress in understanding how life began here on earth and applying some maths to this knowledge.

    But for now, in my opinion Bjork’s paper isn’t useful for any practical purposes (that is, for deciding whether money should be spent on searching for extraterrestrial life).

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