Read This When: You Wonder What's Out There

If you’ve ever looked up at the sky during nighttime, you’ve probably wondered at least once: “What’s out there?” 

The mini existential crisis you get from looking at the stars is overwhelming and raises a ton of questions. Thankfully, you’re not alone—see what I did there?

There are some answers to ease your curiosity. Really, though, those answers just raise more questions. Enter the Fermi Paradox, a theory invented by physicist Enrico Fermi. Tim Urban writes a fantastic article, with visuals, explaining what exactly the Fermi Paradox entails. 

The gist of it is as follows: all signs of the vastness of space point to a high probability of intelligent life having existed/currently existing other than ourselves. However, if aliens do exist, why haven’t we discovered any proof?

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

#fermiparadox #aliens #dailydrawing #1896

A post shared by Chris Piascik (@chrispiascik) on

There are two major theories (which then branch off even further). Either there are no aliens currently in existence, or they do exist, but there are reasons why we haven’t found evidence.

The reason for the lack of aliens existing—presently—would be explained through something called the “Great Filter.” Urban describes this phenomenon as an event occurring at a certain point of a species’ existence, which then prevents that species from living past a period of time. Hence, the “Great Filter.”

It branches off even further, but I won’t spoil everything for you. Rather, I’ll leave with a teaser quote from Urban’s article: “We’re rare, we’re first, or we’re f**ked.”




View this post on Instagram


The Great Filter Theory: The theory is, given estimates (including the likes of the Drake Equation), it’s not an unreasonable to argue that there should have been more than enough time and space for cosmic expansionist civilizations (Kardashev type I, II, III and beyond) to arise that are at least a billion years old – and that at least one of their light cones should have intersected with ours.  Somehow, they have been filtered out.  Somehow, planets with life on them make some distance towards spacefaring expansionist civs, but get’s stopped along the way. While we don’t specifically know what that great filter is, there have been many theories – though if the filter is real, seems that it has been very effective. Also, we might be in danger too, or not. Follow @space_time_facts_ #nasa #isro #space #time #spactime #spacefacts #spacefact #stephenhawking #stringtheory #quantumphysics #timetravel #tesla #theoryofrelativity #einstein #earth #theblackhole #blackhole #cosmophotography #cosmology #cosmos #interstellar #infinity #astrophysics #astronomy #aliens #fermiparadox #greatfiltertheory Credit: Adam Ford

A post shared by Space-Time (@space_time_facts_) on

The alternative is that aliens do exist, but we haven’t found any proof. There are several theories explaining this, ranging from the human race being held in a simulation to “scary predator civilizations.” My personal favorite is the “Zoo Hypothesis,” in which other intelligent life does exist and are receiving the radio signals we sent out, yet choosing not to engage; a “look but don’t touch” policy as Urban puts it.

Of course, these are all only speculations on why we haven’t seen any signs of alien life yet. The previous paragraphs were just a short introduction to the Fermi Paradox, so I recommend you to go and read Urban’s article to get the full picture!

Urban is such an engaging writer—he did a hilarious TedTalk about the mind of a procrastinator—but I love this piece especially. He breaks down intricate concepts into something a middle schooler would understand, all while maintaining entertainment value through his sense of humor. His visuals look like they were made in Microsoft Paint, and I find the contrast with the complicated subject absolutely hilarious.

I highly recommend reading his article if you’re wondering about the possibilities of intelligent life. There are plenty of other articles out there explaining the Fermi Paradox, but Urban’s is my favorite. Now, when I look up at the night sky I can think, there are probably aliens watching me right now.

Hopefully, this soothed your overwhelming feeling of being ant-sized compared to literally everything else in the universe—or maybe it multiplied that feeling by ten. Either way, tune in next time for “Read This When!”

 

Want to keep up with HCBU? Make sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, check out our Pinterest board, and read our latest Tweets!