Chapter 1: Drake's Equation & Fermi Paradox
November 18, 2022 (Last Modified November 23, 2022)
Alone In the Universe?: Co-Author Series
After decades of observing the universe with even the best of what modern technology can offer, there have never been any major signs or evidence supporting the current existence of extraterrestrial life, and most of the information gathered show nothing–no signs of intelligent life, no matter how far into the dark reaches of space we look. During a lunch break in 1950, a brilliant physicist named Enrico Fermi proposed a question to his colleagues, essentially asking why no intelligent life form has been observed or conquered the galaxy yet–given its size and age of existence. Within our solar system lies a star that harbors 8 planets, along with hundreds of other small moons and dwarf planets. The Milky Way Galaxy encompasses over 100 billion other stars like our own Sun, many hosting solar systems. Outside of our galaxy–which spans around 100 million light years across–many galaxies surround to form a cluster, many of which form the Virgo supercluster, and so on, multiplying over and over until we get the observable universe–teeming full with its incomprehensible number of galaxies and planets. Therefore, the Nobel prize winner does have merit to his question. Earth lies millions of light years from any galaxy that has the possibility of harboring intelligent life, so, for us in the present, communicating or traveling to those areas in the universe is out of reach. However, Fermi pondered why any other super-intelligent extraterrestrial form hasn’t contacted our solar system yet, given that by this time, some incredibly advanced civilization must have the ability to travel light years through galaxies. This is now known as the Fermi Paradox.