Is There Anybody Out There (Bueller? Bueller?)

So recently there was a story about a humongous object out in deep space that some thought might have finally given us proof of alien intelligence at work:

Some astronomers proposed that KIC 8462852 might be occluded by a swarm of comets. Others suggested aliens.

Specifically, astronomer Jason Wright tossed out the idea that the star’s weird distortion might be the result of a giant alien construction project—you know, like a Dyson sphere. The idea electrified the citizens of Earth and mobilized a worldwide SETI search for hard evidence of our celestial neighbors. Sadly, two independent searches, for radio signals and laser beams—both of which could indicate a technological society—didn’t pan out. (And remember, we’ve confused inexplicable observations for aliens many, many times before.)

But according to a study just released arXiv, the comet hypothesis is now falling flat, too, and the mystery of KIC 8462852 has deepened considerably. While Kepler only has a few years of data on the star, astronomer Bradley Schaefer of Louisiana State University decided to look at photographic plates of the sky dating back to the late 19th century. To his amazement, he learned that over the last hundred years, KIC 8462852’s light output has steadily faded by about 19%, something that’s “completely unprecedented for any F-type main sequence star.”

So, the old Fermi Paradox is in play again. Or, to put it simply, why won’t they talk to us?

  • Few, if any, other civilizations currently exist
    • No other civilizations have arisen (see also Rare Earth Hypothesis)
    • It is the nature of intelligent life to destroy itself
    • It is the nature of intelligent life to destroy others (Berserker Hypothesis)
    • Life is periodically destroyed by naturally occurring events
    • Human beings were created alone
    • Inflation hypothesis and the youngness argument (multiple universes with synchronous gauge probability distribution)
  • They do exist, but we see no evidence
      • Communication is improbable due to problems of scale
      • Intelligent civilizations are too far apart in space or time
      • It is too expensive to spread physically throughout the galaxy
      • Human beings have not been searching long enough
      • Communication is improbable for technical reasons
      • Humans are not listening properly
      • Aliens aren’t monitoring Earth because Earth is not superhabitable
      • Civilizations broadcast detectable radio signals only for a brief period of time
      • They tend to experience a technological singularity
      • They are too busy online
      • They are too alien
      • They are non-technological
      • The evidence is being suppressed (the Conspiracy Theory)
      • They choose not to interact with us
      • They don’t agree among themselves (no talking with Terrans until Galactic UN is in agreement)
      • Earth is deliberately not contacted (Zoo Hypothesis)
      • Earth is purposely isolated (Planetarium Hypothesis)
      • It is dangerous to communicate
      • The Fermi paradox itself is what prevents communication (implies that communcation is lethal)
      • They are here unobserved

     

    The Universe is just messing with us while we wait for an answer…

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About westvirginiarebel

I enjoy blogging and writing in general.
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