In “Existence: Are we alone in the universe?” (New Scientist, 25 July, 2011), Valerie Jamieson offers explanations for why space aliens just do not show:
But that doesn’t mean ET isn’t there. It just might not know we’re here. The only evidence of our existence that reaches beyond the solar system are radio signals and light from our cities. “We’ve only been broadcasting powerful radio signals since the second world war,” says Seth Shostak of the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California. So our calling card has leaked just 70 light years into space, a drop in the ocean. If the Milky Way was the size of London and Earth was at the base of Nelson’s Column, our radio signals would still not have left Trafalgar Square (see diagram).
Maybe, but why do these people always sound a dumped girlfriend explaining why he never phones?
“It’s probably safe to say that even if the local galaxy is choc-a-bloc with aliens, none of them know that Homo sapiens is here,” says Shostak. That also works in reverse. Given the size of the universe and the speed of light, most stars and planets are simply out of range.
It is also possible that intelligent life is separated from us by time. After all, human intelligence has only existed for a minuscule fraction of Earth’s history and may just be a fleeting phase (see “Existence: Will we die out? “). It may be too much of a stretch to hope that a nearby planet not only harbours intelligent life, but that it does so right now.
Yeah. Sugar, is it possible you just had a sweet dream? That guy never really existed? Hey, it happens. Better to know. You’re alone but it’s okay.
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