The Wait But Why site looks at the Fermi Paradox, that reaction when you look up at a clear night sky and see all the stars -- really see them, not blinded by light pollution -- and you ask yourself where is everybody?
Let’s imagine that after billions of years in existence, 1% of Earth-like planets develop life (if that’s true, every grain of sand would represent one planet with life on it). And imagine that on 1% of those planets, the life advances to an intelligent level like it did here on Earth. That would mean there were 10 quadrillion, or 10 million billion intelligent civilizations in the observable universe.
Moving back to just our galaxy, and doing the same math on the lowest estimate for stars in the Milky Way (100 billion), we’d estimate that there are 1 billion Earth-like planets and 100,000 intelligent civilizations in our galaxy.
SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) is an organization dedicated to listening for signals from other intelligent life. If we’re right that there are 100,000 or more intelligent civilizations in our galaxy, and even a fraction of them are sending out radio waves or laser beams or other modes of attempting to contact others, shouldn’t SETI’s satellite array pick up all kinds of signals?
But it hasn’t. Not one. Ever.
Where is everybody?
|"We should discuss why the problem of what to wear in space has become so pressing."|
|"The final frontier sort of stinks."|
|The Known Universe|
|"If we do find a signal, we shouldn’t expect it’s going to be some sort of soft squishy protoplasmic alien."|
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|“Astronomers have sent a radio message to a neighbouring star system.”|
|“The homemade airplane does indeed fly!”|
|“A fraudster poses as an attractive woman and encourages a man to masturbate in front of a webcam.”|
|“Semis, not personal cars, are the smartest use of autonomous technology.”|
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|“Facebook has contributed to, and profited from, the erosion of democratic norms in the United States.”|
|“The education industry as a whole is a con.”|
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|“The way we produce energy today is deadly.”|