We all like to think that we are not alone in the universe. That there are other intelligent life forms out there, just waiting to be discovered. But according to a new theory presented by NASA scientists, we may never meet them. And the reason is pretty crushing.
Why haven’t we found aliens yet?
The theory goes like this: our universe is huge, and it’s been around for a long time. In all that time, surely some other civilizations would have arisen and developed technology that would allow them to communicate with us across the vast distances of space. So why haven’t we heard from any of them?
The answer, according to the NASA scientists, is that most likely they’ve all gone extinct before they ever had a chance to reach out to us. The reasons for this range from self-destruction (think nuclear war) to environmental collapse (think climate change). Whatever the cause, it seems clear that any civilization advanced enough to develop interstellar communication is also vulnerable enough to destroy itself before it can make contact with others.
This theory presents a pretty bleak outlook for humanity’s future prospects of meeting other intelligent life forms in the universe. It’s possible that we are completely alone here; or if there are others out there, they’re so far away and/or different from us that communication between our two species is impossible.
There are a lot of theories about why we haven’t met other intelligent life, but one of the most crushing is the idea that we’re simply too young.
The universe is estimated to be around 14 billion years old, and our solar system is thought to be around 4.5 billion years old. That means that even if there was another civilization out there that formed at the same time as ours, they would already be so far ahead of us technologically that we would never be able to catch up. We would be like cavemen trying to understand a smartphone.
And even if by some miracle we did manage to make contact with another civilization, what could we possibly have in common? They would have evolved in a completely different way than us, and their values and beliefs would likely be unrecognizable to us. We might as well be aliens to each other.
It’s possible that we’re not the only intelligent life in the universe, but it’s also possible that we are.
If you think about it from a statistical standpoint, it’s more likely that there are other civilizations out there somewhere because chances are good that some planets will develop conditions conducive for life (and therefore intelligence) over time given enough tries.