Based on which expert you listen to, any signal transmitted over 30,000 to 10,000 lightyears will have a signal strength that is less than the noise made by the universe. Meaning that any alien civilization transmissions beyond this range would be indistinguishable from background noise.
One of the assumptions we make when compiling the Fermi paradox is that life is homogeneously distributed. What if it’s not, what if life is heterogeneously distributed?
This is my basis for one of my Fermi and paradox solutions which I call the life oasis. In the life oasis solution, life is not homogeneously distributed but heterogeneously distributed. Life in this solution is just as common as in any other solution but is unevenly distributed. In some places it may be less than 10 lightyears to the next alien civilization. But in our case we could be anywhere from 50,000 lightyears to 100,000 lightyears (or more) from the nearest alien civilization.
In other words our civilization is an oasis in a section of the galaxy that is devoid of any other intelligent life for several hundred thousand light-years.
Not many scientists say that intelligent extraterrestrial life is homogenously distributed. There is such a concept as the galactic habitable zone, where civilizations may be more common due to less radiation from the core and a greater abundance of planets compared to the Halo (thus increasing the chances of a planet existing with life on it). I suspect this only applies to certain types of extraterrestrial intelligences - simple life could be deep in the Core or in intergalactic space if planets existed there.
However, we don't know enough about how life can arise and subsist to make any claims besides that. The question of phosphorous was raised, but its a bit too circumstantial to be taken seriously. Plus ETI may migrate around the galaxy, so we're really only talking about ETI on its original planet.
After having discussion with an ufologist, I must add two more assumptions to the life oasis for Fermi paradox solution.
The first assumption is that terraforming regardless of whatever alien civilization is difficult. Otherwise aliens would just terraform planets until they reached us. And we would be able to hear their transmissions as soon as they came within 30,000 to 10,000 lightyears of earth.
The second assumption is that faster than light travel is expensive and/or short distance. Otherwise aliens would be visiting Earth on a constant basis and would be able to maintain direct contact with us. Another possibility for the second assumption that would still work is it faster than light travel is not possible at all. And therefore would require extensive resources to reach us under non-faster than light travel.
Isaac Arthur normally points out that any assumptions would have to pass a “reality check”, which he normally refers to as a “smell test”. Let look at the first assumption, which is the ease of terraforming. Most people think terraforming is easy as they seen it done on TV or done in a videogame. But I point out that real-world cases have shown that terraforming is extremely difficult. The best case is an experiment called “biosphere 2”.
And if you read anything about biosphere 2 you will find out of how much a failure that experiment was.
The second assumption has no world experimental equivalent. We don’t know how to make a faster than light drive, nor do we have any experiments that can prove its existence. But some people have theorized that large hadron Collider can one day be used to open wormholes. In 2010 it cost 3.5 teraelectronvolt (TeV) per beam to produce a collision. Later upgraded to 6.5 TeV. And the world record being 13TeV. So as you can see quite expensive energy wise.
Last I checked the Earth solar system is not near the Milky Way galactic core. Therefore there should be a considerable amount of life around us, based on the galactic habitable zone theory. But there isn’t. My theory differs by saying that even in the galactic habitable zone life is heterogeneously distributed. But you are right we have too little information on how life works in order to come to any concrete solutions.
Look, I get that these are personal pet theories. We all have them about the Fermi Paradox. But the issue is that there is NO logical evidence supporting any of these assumptions you make, which I'll expand on below. The absence of aliens contacting us or being visible in the universe could mean any number of things, well beyond what you list as being the case here. I'm also surprised that you take our lack of evidence for ET life around us as indicating there is none. Absence of evidence does not imply evidence of absence, my friend. Cliche but true.
I would have recommended talking to a professional astronomer or physicist.
Terraforming is hard for us, a 0.7 Kardashev scale civilization (if you want to use that sort of scale). Why would it be hard for a civilization that is much older and more advanced than ours? We already have ideas on how to terraform planets using power consumption ratios equal to those of a K2 civilization. True, most are very brute-force approaches taht take time with comets, impactors and raw bacterial colonization, but still. Nanotechnological approaches stand to enhance our terraforming prospects, as does genetic engineering. In fact, if the latter was advanced enough, you could design a life form to live on any planet, which is much easier than engineering the planet to suite a particular lifeform.
But really, it is a huge assumption to make that terraforming will be the mainstay of space colonization. Why should it be? Really, it's a primitive way of living in space. Making artificial habitats like bernal spheres, O'neill cylinders, bishop rings, McKendree cylinders and others structures allow you to tailor their environments to your exact specifications, and are a hell of a lot easier to make than terraforming a planet. Moreover, it is a greater grievous assumption that a civilization of an unspecified but advanced age would even consist of biological organisms much like whatever evolved into them on their home planet that requires a home-planet-like environment to live in. Why would they keep those forms when technology offers vastly superior options? If an ET civilization consisted of cyborgs or digital entities, planets would be perfectly fine as is or useless as nothing else but raw materials to make more computers out of. It is typical for people to think that biological bodies will survive into the future because they of course inhabit bio-bods and can't see it any other way. But our world is growing ever more technological, with wholesale brain machine interfaces just around the corner. Humanity merging with machines has already started. For more advanced civilizations, this may already be complete.
Again, why should we take this as proof that a more advanced civilization can't do terraforming? ETCs could be anywhere from 1000 to 8 billion years old. In all that time they haven't improved on such experiments? There isn't any point to bringing this up.
I do actually agree with you on your first point. Not a lot of people think about how capable an ETC would be using FTL. However, it is a moot point, because technology is not static. If an ETC is facing issues with their FTL, why would they keep it that way? Intelligence lives to improve, and so the FTL method would be improved until it became easier. The time it took for them to fix it would be very short on cosmic timescales, and so they are unlikely to find us during that timespan -- making that as a solution to the Fermi Paradox useless. Additionally, we really don't know enough about FTL methods to say if something is possible or not. Pointing out that no ET has visited means squat because that is based on the assumption that they'd want to visit us or even contact us in the first place.
As for your second point: even with sub-light travel speeds, a civilization could colonize the entire galaxy in 2 million years if they expanded at only 10%c omnidirectionally! Getting to 0.1c is NOT hard. Exploding nuclear bombs behind you can boost your cruising speed to anywhere between 0.09 to 0.12c. As far as using extensive resources, that is true, but still well in the reach of a K2 ETC. Why haven't we seen anything? The simplest explanations are that they don't exist in this part of the universe or galactic colonization is overrated. Since there is nothing indicating the former, the latter seems likely. See Cirkovic's paper "Against the Empire" for more details.
We actually do have ways to test for ET's using FTL. The Alcubierre warp drive currently is one of our most grounded examples of FTL travel. It would produce a lot of gamma radiation and other high-energy particles when it emerges from its FTL state: phys.org/news/2012-03-warp-killer-downside.html. Astronomers have looked for those signatures, and we found them. Gamma Ray Bursts are detected from many points in the universe. While we have pinned natural causes to many of them, there is no reason to disclude that some may be the cause of aliens emerging from warp space. The only issue with this hypothesis is ofc that the mechanics of the Alcubierre warp drive are... tricky at best.
Exactly. We have not been looking for long enough, or have sensitive enough instruments, to say that life is abundant or scarce in our region of the universe. Depending on how old you are though, this could change in your lifetime. Some very sophisticated systems are going to be coming online this century, and so you and I are very privleged to be alive at this time and be able to answer one of life's great mysteries.
Yes there could be any reason why we don't see aliens or them contacting us. Hell there could be even a combination of reasons. What the point of these Fermi and paradox solutions is to give a possible solution. Not a definite proof of fact, as we have no evidence truly proving any theory or ruling them out.
And yes these are some pet theories I did come up with. That didn't fit the mold of the current laundry list of Fermi and paradox solutions. I listed them because I think that the current list of Fermi and paradox solutions, are filled with confirmation bias. Let's look at the zoo hypothesis one of the favorite Fermi and paradox solutions. It speculates that aliens don't contact us to preserve our "culture". That's how we want aliens to act toward us. We think our culture is so advanced, and /or so special, that any "wise" extraterrestrial race would never change our course of development. For every case of us not interacting with an uncontacted tribe I can find 100 more of when we did interfere with uncontracted people. But this theory still persists. So yes I'm going to list more reasonable theories
Not a lot of them wish to talk about aliens in the first place. Many fear that their careers would be over, if they acknowledge the existence of extraterrestrials. As their colleagues would lump them in with ufologists.
I don't know how you can criticize me for my "lack of evidence", when you do the same. We also had a theory of how Cold Fusion would work, how did that work out for us. It must be that we're not advanced enough civilization to figure out how Cold Fusion works. It not just bad science. It's no our lack of knowledge in the field. The same argument is made here with terraforming.
Just because we have a theory of how something works doesn't mean that's actually how it does work.
And were are we now all these years later. Have we been able to make a successful self-contained ecosystem? It's 50 years later we should've been able to discover by now. How do you think it will take 100, 200, 1000 years to figure that part out. Then how long will it take for us to figure out how to terraform planets, without failing. Or together the resources to terraform planets.
You know in in 1680, we discovered gravity. And now in 2020 we still haven't figured out how to make antigravity machines. I really doubt in 1 billion years that we would ever find a way to make it antigravity machine even with all that time because devise the laws of physics. Just like I believe that an eight 8 billion years we still will not figure out how to time travel. Just because your civilization has billions of years to work on a project doesn't mean he can defy the laws of physics. Now we don't know all the law including all the laws of biology. Yes were discovering new things each day. And sometimes they do invalidate all discoveries. But some laws can't be violated.
Do you have a link to this paper. Any counterpoint to yours I did not say technology was static.
We do not know how long ago our interstellar neighbors came into being. For all we know they are only 500,000 years older than us. They may not have had enough time to get up to the advanced level that you're talking about. Also I don't think exploding thermonuclear bombs behind the spacecraft is an effective solution. It sounds like those people who want to use nuclear weapons to stop hurricanes. Yes I do believe though in nuclear engines but not exploding nukes.
In addition we have no evidence that anyone can reach K2. We base this off the Dyson sphere concept. But this is just our love affair with solar panels. If we had more of a love affair with wind turbines, would be talking about Dyson sails. Dyson Spheaes remind me of the website once came across, called tales of future path. In which people in the 19th century believed that we could build skyscrapers so large that we could land aircraft on them.
This is the same questions I have asked ufologist. What experiment can we produce they could prove that aliens exist.
From what you just told me there's already irrefutable proof that aliens exist. So why do we not to be said that they do exist? Effect wire astrobiologys and astronomers, not pointing out that this evidence proves the existence of intelligent extra terrestrial life?
That was another theory that was about to propose. That our search is the equivalent of each sensor being a bucket thrown into the ocean, searching for a plastic bottle. Even if we have hundreds of thousands of sensors, and some large ones at that may take some time for us to actually collect any artificial object or signal.
I have personally talked to dozens of astronomers, physicists and other scientists who have freely disclosed to me their pet FP solutions, discussed new ones, expressed frustration at SETI and NASA and so on. Not only with myself, but with other scientists well. While yes some are rather conservative publicly, there are countless others who show no fear discussing such things in the open. Avi Loeb, Stephen Webb, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Frank Drake, Seth Shostak, Ann Straat, Sara Seager, Jason Wright, Clement Vidal, Robert Freitas Jr -- the list goes on and on. One of our most beloved astrophysicists practically made his career with talk of aliens, that being of course Carl Sagan. All of these people would acknowledge the existence of ET life in a heartbeat -- if the evidence is SOLID.
Our evidence has been shaky regarding ETI, hence most of these learned individuals have withheld going so far as to say we have discovered ET life. There is nothing wrong with that -- academic institutions require us to have solid evidence for something before we say it is real. That is the way of good science, something that most UFOlogists would take as a suggestion. That is not to say there are no scientific UFOlogists out there. There are, but while a scientist can be a UFOlogist, not every Ufologist is a scientist. You are robbing yourself of valuable input by avoiding talking to them.
This is a tu quoque fallacy argument. You offer no reasoning as to why you think ETI would terraform everything, or why it would be hard besides saying “they aren’t here” and using a decades old closed ecosystem design nobody needs. That’s not evidence, and that’s not logical.
My reasoning for why terraforming could be practical is based on well-known and robustly researched concepts. These links are just the tip of the iceberg:
However, I further ask why we see terraforming as necessary at all in light of other interplanetary colonization techniques, using mega structures (See the work of Gerard O‘Neill). This is followed by the reasoning that the more advanced in technology a civilization is, the more they will merge with their technology. I invite you to read any Transhumanism literature to see why, and I also ask you to look around at the world around us. It is very evident that we are merging more with our machines, and it is not illogical to extrapolate how much this will increase in the (far) future, and how that will change the way we explore the universe. These apply to ETI as much as they do to us.
To reiterate: terraforming is hard for us now, but we have a conceptual framework on how to do so, and that is with modern scientific knowledge. However, I further posit that there is no real reason to do so if your civilization isn‘t made up of the baseline organisms from which they descended, or just have more convenient methods of living off world.
What? Why? We have no reason to do so. Its expensive and unnecessary due to superior mechanical options. Even if we wanted to make a ISS with a self-sustaining biosphere, it would be murder to launch and develop. Same goes for Mars. Additionally, we do not have the requisite planetary science to apply these concepts to terraforming. There is nothing preventing us from doing any of these things though, especially further into the future when our technology improves.
The arguments regarding time here are exceedingly biased. It’s the same as saying we should have made a human-like AI by now since we’ve been trying since the 50s. The reality is more complicated than such absolute claims. We as we are now or in the past or future 50 years do not represent the pinnacle of scientific understanding. Your example of antigravity is contrived. I can just as easily say that we discovered biological cells in 1665 and now we can alter pretty much any cell at will and even create new ones, and use that as an example of how science progresses.
More absolutes. Science does not deal with these. Science describes that which we are reasonably certain describes a phenomenon until we are proven otherwise by upgraded theories or alternate ways of explaining things. The fact that we have things we are VERY sure about right now says nothing about them actually describing reality. They only describe what we think is reality until our perceptions improve. Even if we are 99.9999% sure something is the case, it is not an absolute fact., and could be proven wrong or improved. So yes, all laws can be broken if we discover the right things. Just because we can’t now, doesn’t mean someone else won’t later.
You do imply that the technology of FTL is static by assuming FTl travel would be either slow or very energy-consuming when we observe them. For the purposes of the Fermi Paradox, if the technology is NOT static, then it doesn't matter if the technology takes a few hundred or thousand years to improve because the random time at which we observe them if we take the average space-faring civilization to last anywhere between a few thousand to a few billion years is exceedingly unlikely to be the relatively narrow amount of time it took them to fix their FTL design compared to their long lifespan. The question then arises if FTL is possible - why haven't we seen them? Well, why should we see them? Why should reveal themselves to us? Who is to say they won't eventually, or have already and we're the crazies locked up a simulation because we couldn't handle the truth?
There is no evidence to suggest this is the case, even if you use this figure arbitrarily. We know the conditions and requisite elements that would’ve allowed planets to form around stars suitable for life and for life to develop existed about 1 billion years after the big bang, with conditions possibly existing even before then if you consider the Bathtub Universe Hypothesis: www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2014/02/03/271093289/eureka-first-life-in-the-universe Therefore, an ETI could have arisen at any point after 2 billion years from the big bang. Unless we find direct evidence that mandates ET life has requirements that disclude it from developing as soon as possible, this is our best guess.
It doesn’t matter what you think is a good idea. The science behind nuclear fission propulsion is sound and as technically grounded in reality as conventional rocketry, having been tested and studied extensively. It does not use actual nuclear bombs, but rather compact fissile explosives in the 0.1 to 1 kiloton range. These would be the smallest and more clean nuclear devices we ever made. It is perfectly suited to the task of shifting huge payloads at great speed off world, between the planets and beyond them. Moreover, it can be done using modern technology. Think on that: we could cut the travel time to Mars down to 1 month and going to Alpha Centauri to 40 years. Only antimatter or light sails can compete -- and they have other, more insurmountable issues. If you want to know more about it, I suggest you research it here: www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/enginelist3.php#pulseprop www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/realdesigns2.php
Regardless, we digress. The point is that interstellar colonization is possible even without the resources of a K2 civilization, and the chances of it happening only improve from there. This really drives home the issue of the Fermi Paradox. If it’s so easy that we could do it now in a limited way, why don’t see the vastly older civilizations do so more?
I also don’t think the Kardashev civilization scale is very useful, since it presupposes a lot in terms of power consumption and how you’d get that power. But it’s a useful enough term to use in conversation. I use it to mean any civilization that has colonized enough of its solar-system to call itself interplanetary, and has a very robust power production system that can support it. This would include solar because of its sheer abundance, but also en mass fusion, fission, antimatter and perhaps even very low mass blackholes.
Let’s get the wording right first. Dyson Spheres (as in, enclosing a star in a rigid sphere) is not what we mean. A Dyson SWARM is what we refer to, that is, a swarm of solar cells orbiting a star to collect the radiation as power and transfer it to somewhere useful. A small swarm of satellites JUST collecting 1% of the Sun’s output would produce 3.8x10^26 watts PER SECOND. The world’s current power consumption equals 1.7x10^11 watts in a YEAR. Dyson sails would struggle to beat that -- especially because a wind turbine wouldn’t work in a vacuum.
These satellites would not be hard to make, as they are technologically-modern solar cell surfaces with associated electronics and a emitter a power station. We could technically start making a Dyson Swarm now. It would take a while to reach the 1% capture mark, and we have no use for it, but the point remains. The ease at which you can make these again raises the point: why don’t we see them in the universe everywhere? This is called the Dyson Dilemma.
In any case, the concept of a Dyson swarm dates back to the 1930s with the author Olaf Stapledon. Freeman Dyson merely refined the idea and put some math behind it. They are not the result of modern tastes.
No, it is not irrefutable. Irrefutable would be that we observed aliens doing these things and have no other natural explanations. Until we can eliminate more likely natural causes, ETs doing these things is just one among many explanations. Just as it is unscientific to say this is not aliens off the bat, it is likewise unscientific to say it is without further research. These are experiments we can do, proposed by the scientists you said do not do such things or choose to accept the results.
Just remember this handy adage: “It’s never/ it is aliens” - unscientific. “We have a phenomenon that might be aliens -- further testing required” - more scientific. “We have yet to rule out aliens - very scientific. “This data says x and y on the emission bands blah blah blah. Results will be in a few years” - most scientific.
These were experiments, among others, that we used to peer into the possibilities of alien life. Just because we found something doesn’t mean it was aliens. It is too premature a time to say.
Also, I wanted to address this:
This assumes that the radio emissions are “leakage”, essentially the radio noise of civilizations that spills out from the home planet/ solar system from their activity. These would indeed be (at some point) drowned out by natural radio noise. However, there is an issue with saying that beyond that volume (which is a really big one, bear mind), you wouldn’t be able to hear anything: naturally, since this is radio leakage, it is omnidirectional and this its energy is dispersed across a wide area. It will also hit frequencies that will allow it to be drowned out by natural sources with those frequencies because it was designed to bypass those. Say you designed one that could: this would be your SETI beacon device. To build this, you would need to emit your radio waves in a narrow beam to focus as much energy as possible to penetrate the interstellar medium and maintain signal strength, and you can use a variety of methods to bypass the natural radio emission lines. One is by sing the “water hole” frequency, another is by broadcasting on a range of frequencies, thereby causing their reflections to be different at different wavelengths.