Saturday, April 07, 2012

Saturday Video: Where are the aliens?

by Salman Hameed

Where is everybody? This was the question posed by Enrico Fermi about the lack of credible evidence for extraterrestrial intelligence. It seems simple but this is a deceptively clever question, and is called Fermi's Paradox. The main idea is that the Galaxy is about twice the age of our Solar system. If there are intelligent civilizations out there then it is likely that some of them much older than us. If that is the case, then they should have colonized the Galaxy by now (even by assuming a very modest space travel rate, it takes only a million year or so to cover the full Galaxy). There are a number of reasonable explanations for this paradox. However, we have to be very careful when we start thinking about alien intentions. We don't have much idea about alien biology, let alone their sociology and psychology.

Here is a brief primer on Fermi's Paradox (tip from Zakir Thaver):

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