9 possible explanations for the FM Paradox
We still don’t have a simple answer to the Fermi paradox, the best we can do is give “possible explanations”. Here are some possibilities.
- Super intelligent life forms have already visited us but we were not there.
- The galaxy may already be colonized, but we live in some isolated rural area.
- The concept of physical colonization may be meaningless for highly advanced species. Let’s think of a Type II civilization that uses a Dyson sphere and meets all its energy and other needs. It is a perfect environment where there is no need to move on or leave it.
- There are terrifying predatory civilizations in space and most intelligent species are smart and don’t send signals around to reveal their location. They are the most advanced and do not allow any other intelligent civilization to develop. This means that we are a super-naive species that plays with our fate and sends our radio and TV broadcasts into space.
- There is a lot of activity and noise up there but our technology is too primitive and we are listening to the wrong things. Or, as Carl Sagan noted, maybe our minds work exponentially faster or slower than other forms of intelligence that might take 12 years to say “hello” and it sounds like incomprehensible noise to us.
- We may be receiving information from other intelligent forms but governments are hiding it from us.
- Supercivilizations are here but they are watching us from a distance (zoo theory). They treat us as a kind of protected national park with strict guidelines “Look but don’t touch”.
- Highly developed civilizations are around us. But we are too primitive to notice them. Michio Kaku summed it up like this: “Suppose we have an anthill in the middle of a forest. And not far from it, we are building a ten-lane highway. The question is, would ants understand what a ten-lane highway is? Would they understand the technology and intentions of the highway builder right next to them?”
- We are completely wrong about our reality. There are many possibilities here that we have completely missed in our world views. The universe appears to us in one way, and it may be completely different, like a hologram. Maybe we are aliens who were “planted” here as an experiment.
Interstellar distances are indeed enormous. If the entire solar system, up to the orbit of Neptune, were shrunk to the size of a coin, the nearest star, Proxima Centauri, would be about the length of a football field.
An interstellar ship should travel very fast, as close to the speed of light as possible, or be able to sustain its crew for a very long time, hundreds and thousands of years.
Although both are theoretically possible, it is clear that interstellar travel is such a grandiose undertaking for today’s humanity that it is not clear whether human civilization will ever be able to realize it.
These are just some thoughts about life in the universe. It is obvious that even in the most optimistic scenario, we cannot count on our development to continue unhindered indefinitely.
If humanity does not master interstellar travel and spread throughout the Galaxy, our fate, in the medium or long term, is not bright. There are too many different threats that do not depend on us, and some do.