The Fermi Paradox

Back in 1950, Enrico Fermi, in a discussion about aliens and the much talked about UFO sightings, is known to have exclaimed to his fellow physicists, “But where is everybody?”

The Fermi Paradox as it became to be known was better qualified by Michael Hartin, in a paper he wrote in 1975, which pointed out that:

Just the Milky Way Galaxy, contains billions of stars very similar to our Sun, many which are considerably (billions of years) older than the Sun.

If Earth is taken as a typical planet capable of harboring intelligent life, then many of the stars in our galaxy should contain intelligent life.

Having had a head-start (possibly millions or even billions of years), some of these should have devised means for interstellar travel.

Even accelerating using known/feasible means of space travel, getting across our Galaxy would take but a few million years. On the outside, it should take fifty million years to colonize our entire galaxy, once interstellar travel is achieved. Even if not physically present in our system, we should have been able to observe activity. We’re too far behind in the cosmological evolutionary timeline, we should at least have been exposed to probes.

So, it’s very likely that we should have had interstellar contact by now. Also, some of the very best and brightest minds have crunched numbers and done the math. Look at the Drake Equation. Both scale and probability indicate that intelligent life exists elsewhere in our galaxy – abundantly.

Intelligent life can overcome difficulties and find solutions to problems. Especially scarcity. This is one problem which should drive extraterrestrials to travel, search out new and abundant resource locations and even possibly take up residence in new habitats.

What are your thoughts on this?

My upcoming science fiction space-based adventure novel uses this paradox, as the primary pivot around which the entire plot is woven. If you like science fiction, follow or subscribe for updates.