– Explanations for the Fermi Paradox
In my former article „On the Drake equation“ I have shown a way how to reduce the number of 4 completely unknown Variables in the Drake equation to only one by application of a model of an interstellar ecology. The Drake equation was introduced in 1961 and provides a simple model for the estimation of the number of intelligent communicative civilizations in our home galaxy. It is related to the Fermi paradox. The Fermi paradox is the contradiction between the lack of evidence for the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations and the estimates that lead regularly to very high probabilities for existence. Famous physicist Enrico Fermi (1901-1954) once produced the following arguments:
There are billions of stars in the galaxy that are similar to the sun and many of these stars are millions of years older than the solar system. Some of these stars have Earth-like planets and if Earth is no exceptional case but a typical planet some of these stars may also have developed intelligent life. Some of these civilizations may have developed interstellar travel. Even at slow propagation speed our galaxy could be completely traversed in some million years. Since the galaxy exists for billions of years, it should be colonized meanwhile several thousand times, but at least one time.
The latest astronomical research has confirmed some of Fermi’s predictions: In 1995 mankind discovered the first extrasolar planet and since then we have detected thousands of extrasolar planets. We have also detected planet candidates that seem to be within a certain distance to their home stars so that liquid water should exist on their surface. They should be Earth-like. We have detected enough of Earth-like worlds to get into statistic number ranges, where extrapolations normally are quite good (significant). Meanwhile we can predict with a high certainty that our galaxy owns at least millions of planets with conditions that allow organic life as we know it. And again: some of these stars may have developed intelligence, some of the civilizations may have started interstellar travel and our galaxy should be completely traversed at least by one of them.
Actually, if there are so many worlds with conditions that are similar to planet Earth, there should be an agile traffic between all that planets. Aliens should regularly visit us, one might expect. Why don’t they? Where are they? Do they actually exist? At least these alien civilizations should be capable to send radio signals into the surrounding universe, as we do. We are searching for that alien radio signals since decades now but never found anything. Why is space void if there are so many planets with possible life conditions?
First I will present old and partially outdated explanations for the Fermi Paradox. I will also present some crazy ‚Explanations of madness‘. Then I will discuss some new explanations. All different arguments try to explain: why don’t we find aliens?
Old explanations for the Fermi paradox
1- Extraterrestrial life does not exist
This is a fundamental anthropocentric and mostly religious motivated world view. The people who think so, argument either with religion or else with statistics. The non-religious anthropocentric people arguing the little probability. They say that such chemical reactions and evolutionary coincidences could not happen on other planets than Earth anymore. When they are ready with their argumentation they usually get a summarized probability number that is near zero.
The problem with such an argumentation is: the Drake equation (see my former article „On the Drake equation„) will – with such a low probabilities approach – usually give a result that is lower than N = 1 and this is non-sense. N is the number of intelligent, radio transmitting species. And it is quite evident that there is at least one such species in the galaxy: we, ourself, mankind. It then becomes quite arbitrary to manipulate the Drake equation to get the correct result of N = 1.
If we use the simplest model of intelligent life in the galaxy, as the Drake equation provides, it becomes clear very soon, that the argument ‚1 – Extraterrestrial life does not exist‘ leads with a simple mathematical model immediately to ‚We do not exist‘. So it is wrong. Since the Drake equation was presented, the argument that the probability of life is to low is not valid anymore and therefor it is outdated.
2 – Extraterrestrial life is too rare
Here science starts. When you play with the Drake equation you can get scenarios where the number of intelligent radio signal emitting species is higher than one but still small. Drake himself estimates the number currently at a value of maximum 10,000. Please have in mind that the galaxy has around 200,000,000,000 stars (200 billion stars). This means civilizations in the galaxy are rare (one of 20 million star systems is inhabited) and therefor the probability to ever receive signals from them or detect their space ships is very low.
For comparison: In the clearest nights in a dessert we can see with our eyes a maximum of 3000 stars. The European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Chile can detect 80 million stars with its 4 interconnected huge 8.2m mirror telescopes. If Drake’s estimation of 10,000 or one of 20 million was correct, they could ’see‘ four stars where aliens live, but which 4 exactly of 80,000,000?
2a – Every civilisation has to go through a bottleneck
This is actually a variation of ‚2 – Extraterrestrial life is too rare‘. Mostly it is assumed that civilizations are sparely distributed because of natural disasters (see ’10 -Intelligent life is destroyed by natural disasters‘) or because of self destruction (see ’11 – Intelligent life destroys itself after a while‘). Some people speak about the ‚bottleneck‘ civilizations have to undergo. Of course this bottleneck explanation is a tautology, because it anticipates it’s own result that civilizations are rare, that we actually don’t know.
2b – Civilizations are too far apart in space and time
This is an alternative description of ‚2 – Extraterrestrial life is too rare‘, because if intelligent species are rare they should also be in average very far away from each other. They could also miss each other in time. When one exists the other civilization is yet not born or already has extinguished.
An example how we could regularly miss each other: A civilization may have started sending radio signals 100 thousand years ago, but is located 150 thousand light years away from Earth. Therefor we had to wait another 50 thousand years to receive their signal. They might be extinct for 90 thousand years now, maybe because of a nuclear war. 20 thousand years in the future an asteroid hits Earth heavily that civilization on Earth is setback for 60 thousand years. We will never receive the first incoming signals of our neighbors in the year 50 thousand and also never witness their extinction, because when we start readopting radio communication again in the year 80 thousand, our neighbors are already extinct for 170 thousand years and their last signals passed earth 20 thousand years ago int the year 60 thousand. We would never know about them and they of course would never know about us. There might have been many radio signals in the history of man, that passed Earth without the possibilities of listening.
2c – Humans have not existed long enough
This is actually a variation of ‚2b – Civilizations are too far apart in space and time‘. It means that if we only exist long enough and still wait for the signals, we once will get signals from one of the rare civilizations, because the probability is increasing with the time we are searching.
For example such an civilization may have started sending radio signal 100 thousand years ago, but is 150 thousand light years away. Therefor we have to wait until the year 50 thousand to receive their signal.
3 – We are accidentally the first intelligent life in our galaxy
It may be possible that life has started on earth for the first time. Or it may be possible that even if life is common in the galaxy, intelligence is not. Earth for example owns higher life forms like plants and land animals for about 500 million years. But intelligent life has just started with the genus Homo sapiens ca. 100,000 years ago. So during the period of complex life on Earth only 0.02% of the time was intelligent life. It simply could be that we are listening to worlds that are still stuck within the 99,98% of the period of complex life without intelligent life forms.
This argument only says that we are the first one in our galaxy, not in the whole universe and that this happened accidentally. So don’t mix this argument with the anthropic principle (see ’18 – The anthropic principle let us be the first intelligence in the universe‘).
3a – We are accidentally the first intelligent life with technology
This is just a variation of ‚3 – We are accidentally the first intelligent life in our galaxy‘. For example mankind has developed radio communication for ca. 100 years now but intelligent life on Earth has started with the genus Homo sapiens about 100,000 years ago. This means telecommunication technology exists only 0.01% of the time since intelligent life exists. Maybe the aliens are still stuck in the 99,99% without radio transmitters.
This argument only says that we are the first one in our galaxy, not in the whole universe and that this happened accidentally. So don’t mix this argument with the anthropic principle (see ’18 – The anthropic principle let us be the first intelligence in the universe‘).
4 – It’s too difficult to detect radio signals
One of the most probable explanation for the Fermi Paradox is that we are not listening properly. This argument is not to blame the SETI (search for extra terrestrial intelligence) program. It is to indicate how difficult the task actually is. For example we might not have the knowledge or even the mathematical theory to detect highly sophisticated modulated signals within the received radio signals.
4a – We have not the gear to detect the signals
Signals that are broadband and emitted spherically are much to weak for deep space receiving. E.g. Earths television and radio broadcasting would only be detectable up to 0.3 light-years with the biggest telescope on Earth (Arecibo Observatory). That is less than 1/10 of the distance to the nearest star. So if we wanted to hear normal civilian telecommunication transmission of another extrasolar planet we would need antennas as big as small moons. This is science fiction. Maybe in thousand years we might install such a antenna in a far orbit of Jupiter.
4b – We have not the resources to detect the radio signals
SETI has to fight with limited resources, therefor they can only concentrate to good candidates in the sky and to certain frequencies. Even if SETI had 1000 times more funding it could still only listen to a small fraction of possible candidates (our galaxy has 200 billion stars). The candidates are mostly main-sequence stars that are sunlike, because it is assumed the probability is the highest there.
A deep space signal is much easier to detect if the signal energy is limited to either a narrow band (range of frequencies), or directed at a specific part of the sky. Our space probes use both techniques to send their data back to earth: they use bands as narrow as possible and direct a bundled radio signal beam into Earths direction.
We assume that civilizations who do deep space radio communication will do the same as we do with our space probes: using small bands and directed beams to prevent that monstrous antennas of moon-size I mentioned before. If this is the case – and probably it is – we had to be very lucky, if we would be accidentally at the right time within such a narrow radio beam. And there is still the problem of which small frequency band to listen too.
Our instruments maybe just not sensitive enough, our antennas may be still too small, we don’t know about frequency, modulation, data rates. It is altogether to much variables that we only can guess.
Even if there are thousands of civilizations in our galactic vicinity, the chance to detect their deep space radio transmissions they send to their own starships or to their colonies is nearly zero. We had to be very, very lucky to find some signals accidentally: This would mean to get into the small radio signal cone for some hours and listening to the right frequencies with the right signal data processing methods at that time.
4c – Even if aliens are contacting us chances are low
Only if the aliens know about our existence and intentionally want to get attention we had a little chance: then they would bundle their signals on our sun and send permanently on a small frequency band that is easy to detect and decipher. We only had to listen on all radio bands for any object in the night sky that is within the range of our antennas, where they are still able to isolate signals from noise. But this is also dependent from the size of the sender. SETI is exactly following this assumptions. For other more resource intensive methods they – not nearly – don’t have the funding.
If the aliens would know about us and wanted us to recognize them by all means, the chances for receiving their signals were still small. This is because SETI has not enough antennas, computers and personnel. It’s a needle in the haystack problem where you even don’t know if the needle exists. They might need hundreds of years to receive this single intentional signal in the sky or will never find it because it’s not there.
5 – They are using Neutrinos for communication
It was proposed, alien civilizations could use neutrinos for communication. Mankind is building up neutrino detectors for some years now. There are underwater detectors like ANTARES, NESTOR, KM3NeT or Baikal Deep Underwater Neutrino Telescope; there is an under-ice neutrino detector called IceCube; and there are some underground neutrino observatories like CUORE, MINOS or Kamioka Observatory. They are all used for astronomy research to detect neutrinos from cosmic objects. Maybe we are lucky to receive patterns of artificial or intelligent origin within the signals.
5a – They are using quantum entanglement for communication
Around the year 2008 there were some reports in the media about communication experiments at the university of Genf with data transmission speed higher than light speed. They used entangled quantum states and measured this spooky action over 18km distance and 24 hours. They came to the result that this communication was at least 10,000 faster as light. This experiments could not be confirmed by other physicists. It was probably measurement errors. Because 18km is not that far when we talk about light speed and even 10,000 times light speed. Therefor this possible option is not valid anymore and therefor outdated.
6 – No one is transmitting because of cost
Transmitting signals to unknown civilizations far away from your own home star is more complex and more expensive than receiving them. Structures of the size of small moons (magnitude of 100 km) could be needed. At least if you want to make sure, that you are seen on normal radio frequencies in the distance of tens of thousands of lightyears with medium sized antennas of 100m diameter magnitude.
There is the possibility that no civilization in the galaxy owns such huge devices, because they are much to resource intensiv and actually not needed for interstellar travel. When a civilization executes interstellar travel they always know the position and distance of their targets, the starships and the colonies, and so do they. And they are not so far away: typically in the range of 10 light years magnitude because of simple physical reasons.
It could be possible that no civilization in the galaxy will afford such giant antennas that are needed to contact distant civilizations 10.000 light years away.
6a – No one is transmitting because of the Fermi paradox
I assume that other civilizations who are currently listening for signals in the galaxy experience the same contradiction: they know there should be thousands or even millions of civilizations but they receive nothing.
Therefor it actually makes no sense for them to build those giant structures in the size of a small moon, even if they could. And as long no one has started to build these huge senders, the chances to receive accidentally any other small band alien signal are practically zero.
This would mean no civilization would ever build these giant transmitters. The Fermi paradox would last forever because of itself.
6b – It’s too dangerous to transmit
Some militaries warned governments not to transmit deep space signals out into the galaxy. And they are actually right to be careful. Signals could attract enemies like pirates oppressors or even something like galactic colonial powers. We could easily loose our freedom or even our life (see ’12 – Intelligent life destroys others by nature‘).
We don’t know so much about deep space, maybe other civilizations know more than we and therefor decided not to transmit signals. We don’t know about any other civilization. We don’t know about their history. We don’t know about their mentality. We don’t know about their weapons. They could come to steel our resources using military forces. Could our nuclear weapons stop them? What if they would also use nuclear weapons and would not care about the complete destruction of Earths biosphere? We only have our Earth, they might have several worlds. Maybe they had other priorities than preserve nature, e.g. mining mineral oil, rare-earths and uranium?
6c – Everyone is afraid of transmitting
But even if there are no enemy civilizations at all out in the galaxy. Do we know? Do we have a proof? The alien strategists could think the same as our militaries do, that signals could attract enemies like pirates oppressors or even something like galactic colonial powers. That they could easily loose their freedom or even their life, because of transmitting radio signals into deep space.
Other civilizations might always come to the same result as we did: it’s better not to transmit. This might sound like paranoia but we can also call it prudence. Therefor I think ‚6c – Everyone is afraid of transmitting‘ is a very realistic scenario.
7 – Earth is deliberately preserved
This is sometimes called the ‚zoo hypothesis‘ and means that extraterrestrial civilizations could decide not to contact us, to allow our natural evolution and development. This could be a law or a imperative for higher developed civilizations. They might wait until we are developed far enough and then contact us.
Some people believe, they are also observing Earth. This has nothing to do with the UFO conspiracy theory. It could mean for example that they visit us regularly, let’s guess every 5000 years (2500 years per flight in both directions is fast when we talk about interstellar distances). Maybe the last forty times they visited us we were not developed enough for them, next time we could be. Next time could be tomorrow or in 4500 years. 500 years ago the telescope was not yet invented, no one would have recognized them, even if their engines would have produced the brightest plasma trails over the sky.
If someone states that alien explorers visited us regularly in history to assess us like patrons do, and he doesn’t do this as fanatic as von Däniken in his popular books, I normally agree. The probability for such assessments is high – because of the Fermi paradox.
8 – They are too alien
Alien life might differ completely from that on Earth. They could be like octopuses or like dolphins. Intelligent – yes, but not building a civilization. Or they could be made of inorganic matter or of liquid or of gas. Stanislaw Lem proposed an intelligent ocean in his famous bool ‚Solaris‘. But we are actually talking about intelligent species that build civilizations, space ships and radio communication. Some kind of extraterrestrial Dolphins or intelligent liquids are therefor not interesting for us at the moment.
Carl Sagan speculated once aliens might think and process data a magnitude slower or faster than we. This would mean that we might not find their signals because for us they would look just like random background noise. Today we know a lot more about compression algorithms and faster-than-realtime simulations than it was known at Sagans time. I think we would identify signals that are too fast or too slow for our mind with our data procession algorithms. I would say this argument (wrong speed of data processing) is actually outdated and not valid anymore.
Some crazy man are thinking about so called ’singularity‘ of a society and ‚uploads‘ from minds into machines that would make advanced civilizations so different from us. Find my thoughts about this in the chapter ‚Explanation of madness‘. For me this was only a strange zeitgeist of the nineties that is outdated and not valid anymore.
9 – Interstellar travel is economically impossible
Some people think that resources for interstellar travel would not be affordable. Space ships always have to be huge, because they cannot get faster than a small fraction of light speed. This is because of the thermal equilibrium it has to stay in and the second law of thermodynamics. A spaceship that would accelerate much faster than e.g. reaching 1% light speed in a time span of 100 years would become so hot that it would actually melt after a short while. And there’s no chance to cool it in the vacuum of outer space. Any attempt of cooling with radiators or propellant would make the ship even slower. Most engineers forget this fact when they are talking about ideas like ‚Project Daedalus‘ or ‚Project Longshot‘. If you are capable of reading german language please see all details in my article „Methoden zur Überwindung stellarer Distanzen„.
Interstellar spaceships will always need centuries up to millennia to reach their destination. Therefor interstellar spaceships have to be generation ships and will be huge. This means they will weight tens of thousands of tons and will ‚burn‘ tens of thousands of Deuterium for their fusion energy propulsion. Any other realistic propulsion has not the power (the energy density) to reach ultra-high velocities in the magnitude of 1% light speed.
An infrastructure for building the spaceships in space out of tens of thousands of concrete and steel and for producing of tens of thousands of enriched Deuterium means to have a solar system infrastructure that is capable of using asteroids and comets as mines and is able to deliver huge amounts of cheap nuclear energy at any corner of the solar system at any time. How this is done I have shown in my former articles „Why mankind must not fear the pure fusion bomb„, „Flying platforms with nuclear pulse propulsion“ and „The Nomad fusion reactor„.
This articles show you the realistic and relatively ’simple and cheap‘ to achieve infrastructure that is necessary for building starships. With such a relatively simple and cheap nuclear fusion bomb based infrastructure, that we could build up immediately with our current technology, it is not ‚impossible‘ to build starships – either technically or economically. Therefor this argument is outdated and not valid anymore.
10 – Intelligent life is destroyed by natural disasters
Any civilization might be destroyed after a while by:
- Impacts of asteroids and comets
- Eruptions or radiation instabilities of it’s home star
- Supernovas in it’s vicinity
- Volcanic eruptions
- Natural climate change (ice age)
There might be enough possibilities that any civilization is periodically destroyed before it can start interstellar space travel and interstellar communication. One could say this will finally happen to every civilization and is only a question of time.
Some people say the destruction of a civilization by natural events can only happen as long it is not multi-planetary and therefor this period of an endangered mono-planetary civilization is a bottleneck every civilization has to pass. This leads to argument ‚2a – Every civilisation has to go through a bottleneck‘. For the explanation of the Fermi paradxs this bottleneck explanation is a tautology, because it anticipates it’s own result that civilizations are rare, what we actually don’t know.
11 – Intelligent life destroys itself after a while
Any civilization might destroy itself by:
- Environmental damage
- Resource depletion
- Self induced climate change
- Artificial intelligence
If this would be an universal law, it would only be a question of time until we would vanish and the Fermi-Paradox was solved quite easily.
Some people believe the destruction of a civilization by itself can only happen as long it is not multi-planetary and therefor this period of an endangered mono-planetary civilization is a bottleneck every civilization has to pass. This leads to argument ‚2a – Every civilisation has to go through a bottleneck‘. For the explanation of the Fermi paradox this bottleneck explanation is a tautology, because it anticipates it’s own result that civilizations are rare, what we actually don’t know.
12 – Intelligent life destroys others by nature
A very brutal hypothesis is that intelligent species who are able to do space travel will always destroy other intelligent species. A species might do this out of:
- Expansionist motives (resources)
- Prudence (preemptive war)
- Food procurement (alpha predator)
- Brood care (parasitic life cycle)
This explanation of the Fermi paradox sounds crazy but when we look into history books, it’s suddenly quite realistic. Some older explanations for the Fermi paradox that are really mad I have collected in the following chapter:
Old explanations of madness
13 – The UFO conspiracy
Some people believe that aliens already visiting Earth regularly and governments are hiding all information about it. All astronomy, satellite telemetry data, space probe pictures, astronauts observations and even amateur astronomy is forced to silence. This suppression of information works quite well on a global international level since decades. Even the nations that are fighting wars against each other, never violate these secret arrangements. A huge secret administration apparatus takes care that all suspicious information, if written, photographed, filmed or recorded is stolen from individual witnesses and that they are threatened or stitched or somehow differently forced to be silent. This administration stops at nothing they say, neither murder.
Yes, there are people who believe in the ‚UFO conspiracy‘. Of course any global conspiracy theory is assumed to be not valid for our further investigation.
14 – Earth is purposely isolated inside a simulation
This is sometimes called the ‚planetarium hypothesis‘ and is a little like the Flat-Earth theory: unscientific. Some people really think, that somewhere beyond a certain distance around the solar system the rest of the universe is only a simulated reality, an optical illusion. Believers think other intelligent beings just want us to accept that we were alone in the universe and therefor created that simulation. As all explanations in this chapter this argument is assumed to be not valid.
15 – Inflation hypothesis of multiverses
A famous cosmologist proposed a multiverse solution to the Fermi paradox. In his multiverse theory young universes exceedingly outnumber older ones by a factor of 10^1037 for every (!) second of age (inflation hypothesis). Therefor there are much to many universes for civilizations and most of these 10^(103710371037*…) universes will be empty or have at maximum one civilization. How can someone seriously use this experimental and probably wrong calculation results for a theory of life? How does someone get the idea that a complete universe (!) could be empty or had only one intelligent civilization? Do you know the word ‚brainfuck‘? Like all explanations in this chapter this argument is assumed not to be valid.
16 – Interstellar transport is done via ‚mind uploading‘
Some people think it could be possible one day to ‚upload‘ human minds into machines. Everyone of intelligence and mental health understands immediately why this can never work: the human mind is no machine and therefor not compatible with a machine. The attempt to upload a mind into a machine would be nothing else than a lobotomy. ‚Something‘ of the person would remain for sure. A very pure and disgusting creature.
Those people who believe in mind-uploading call themself sometime ‚trans-humanists‘. They believe a network of computers could exist, where ‚advanced artificial intelligence‘, that has ‚already‘ left it’s body of ’shabby flesh and blood‘, could live and travel as pure data from transmitter station to transmitter station.
After the upload they would not be interested in ‚primitive biological beings‘ than us and therefor we would not recognize them until we have not performed the ‚upload‘ by ourself. So they would actually isolate themselves from the reality of the universe.
This explanation is actually very materialistic. And it sounds as inhuman like the ideas of a mad Nazi-doctor. I don’t want to discuss such thoughts here. If you are capable of understanding the german language you can read my article: „Unsterblichkeit durch Autogene Zucht„, where I go into details of some ‚trans-humanistic‘ weird ideas and show that nature has already prepared most things they want to achieve – even becoming ‚immortal‘.
17 – Technological societies loose interest on the outside world and isolate themself
The theory reflects the status of our western society before Elon Musk appeared. No one was interested in space travel anymore or in colonizing the Moon or the Mars. It seemed that everyone was only interested in media, computer games, virtual reality and distraction. The radicals of them were talking about ’singularity‘ and ‚mind upload‘. By the way I always sensed these protagonist as abnormal, rather autistic, actually mad.
Such ideas, that civilizations would develop into parallel virtual worlds and isolate themself against the rest of the universe, were part of the zeitgeist of the nineties (think about the pop culture in video games or in movies, e.g. ‚Matrix‘ trilogy). Meanwhile we know this idea is wrong and outdated. A young generation is thinking, discussing and even partially working on the settlement of Mars and Moon again.
18 – The anthropic principle let us be the first intelligence in the universe
The anthropic principle says, it is no coincidence that the universe produces life and humans. Anything seem to be well suited for the development of man and it’s possible successors (mostly machines). There is a principle in the universe that has to create us and we have to create our successors. Universe has created us that we can discover it. This anthropic principle is not falsifiable, actually a narcissistic tautology and completely mad. Therefor its is not valid in this context.
New explanations of Madness
19 – Interstellar travel is done via the fourth dimension
Their might be a fourth dimension. I don’t mean time as a dimension in space-time as it is used in relativity. I really mean a fourth dimension in space. Two teams of physicist (around Mikael Rechtsman, professor at Penn State University and Michael Lohse from the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Germany) have created two separate experiments where they could prove indirectly via the quantum hall effect the existence of a fourth room dimension. We have to wait until additional experiments will confirm the results.
But imagine what would that mean? A fourth dimension could provide shortcuts through the spacetime. Some people call this wormholes. But stop! Because we are three-dimensional beings, we could never use the fourth dimension as a degree of freedom.
Matter is three-dimensional. Life is three-dimensional. Our body is three-dimensional. We are exiled to the islands of three dimensional room.
Did you ever wonder where shape comes from? I mean the shape of a tree, the shape of a mushroom, the shape of a body. It’s not programmed in DNA, hundreds of experiments could proof this. No one knows, where the shape comes from. What is with the shape of lifeless objects like coastlines, waves, mountains, planets? No one knows (don’t mix an explanation with a model, e.g. fractal geometry).
And the soul? Does it exist? For sure. If you don’t feel it, you are either a blunt ignorant, a bedazzled materialist or already dead. Is the soul three- or four-dimensional? Sometimes we have the feeling there could be more than being only here at this place at this time. It’s just a feeling what a lot of people have experienced sometimes during their life and they talk about it and share their – sometimes very scary – stories.
Ok, physicists may have discovered the fourth dimension and sometimes we feel in our soul that there is more than here and now. Therefor let’s assume our soul is actually four-dimensional. As long as we live we recognize the three-dimensional projection of the soul as our mind.
What happens when we die? Can the soul move sidewards in the fourth dimension? Leaving this body by doing just one side-step? Thereby getting in a new three-dimensional host body somewhere in the three-dimensional world, where the new location is possibly tens of thousands of light years away from the old place? The famous french author and pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote about this naturally given method of space travel: his beloved ‚Little Prince‘ asked the poisonous snake to bite him, to get rid of his body and travel back to his planet he came from.
What if space travel is actually what some people call reincarnation? Maybe we are searching completely in the wrong three dimensions. The soul could be a symbiotic or parasitic 4D-species that travels through the universe via the fourth dimension. We call the 3D-projection of our soul our mind. Our mind contains our memory. Our memory is connected to time. Time is connected to three-dimensional space and is not constant. Three-dimensional space is connected to time and is also not constant. Only light speed is constant. How is time connected to the fourth dimension? How is three-dimensional space connected to the fourth dimension? What happens with our mind, when our soul moves through the fourth dimension? What happens with our memory? Do we just loose mind and memory? Or is it stored inside this symbiotic (or parasitic) alien life form, we call soul?
I’m proud to state: From all mad theories in the chapter ‚Explanation of madness‘, my new contribution ’19 – Interstellar travel is done via the fourth dimension‘ is the most insane. I hope you still enjoyed it.
Enough for now with the mad ideas, let’s get back to rational thoughts:
New explanations for the Fermi paradox
20 – Interstellar travel is physically impossible
I mention this argument because I didn’t find it so far in the internet. The radiation between the stars and other unknown environmental conditions may make it impossible to travel hundreds or thousands of years through the open void.
The voyager probe has just left suns magnetosphere some years ago and entered interstellar space. It is still working. We don’t know for how long it may work. We know it’s electronic circuits are not too highly integrated. This is the reason, why it was working fine over four decades within and for about 5 years outside the solar system, crossing interstellar space. For safety reasons we could build electronic circuits even less integrated as it is in the 1970 Voyager probes the case. And no one dictates that an interstellar space ship has to have electronic circuits at all. I can imagine a huge space ship that is controlled throughout manually.
We also don’t know exactly what happens to astronauts in deep intergalactic space. But physics let’s us extrapolate that within huge rotating ships with walls made of several meters of concrete they should experience artificial gravity and radiation levels as it is on Earth.
Experts say interstellar space ships need fusion propulsion because this is the only propulsion that has enough energy density for reaching ultra-high velocities in the magnitude of 1% light speed. This is right. Others say we have no fusion propulsion and we might never have it. This is wrong. We already have fusion propulsion: we will accelerate our huge one hundred thousand ton space arcs by hydrogen bombs. These bombs will be specially designed to direct the energy by the laws of quantum electrodynamics to concentrated beams (nozzle-less). This can be done, it is not impossible. President Ronald Reagan ordered such systems as ray guns (Casaba Howitzer) for his SDI in the 1980th. The other modification will be that the hydrogen bombs will not be ignited by conventional plutonium/tritium/chemical detonators but by electric/tritium/chemical ignitors (pure fusion bomb), maybe with the addition of natural uranium. This modification is more difficult but with a very high probability it already exists (with or without the uranium) in the Russian and American arsenals. Therefor we can say: fusion propulsion is possible and needs a maximum of ten years to be developed to a safe and cost efficient engine in the 100 thousand tons thrust range.
I would therefor say the argument ‚Interstellar travel is physically impossible‘ is not valid.
21 – We are accidentally the LAST intelligent life in our galaxy
This argument is only mentioned for completeness. It is the opposite of ‚3 – We are accidentally the first intelligent life in our galaxy‘. But in a non-evolutionary world view, a perception of degeneracy, it could be a valid argument. It also could be valid in a pessimistic world view. Therefor I mention it, even if I don’t think it’s realistic.
22 – Interstellar communication uses gravitational waves
Let me propose to use gravitational wave detectors to detect alien messages. I don’t think they would be able to create massive black hole binaries or core collapse supernovas. This are events, where gravitational wave detectors produce results. But maybe they have found a technology to modulate information on the carrier wave.
This is just an idea and I know it is not very realistic at the moment. I once created a theoretical machine to produce small artificial black holes, see my article „The Shark and the caveman„. I intended the ‚Shark‘ as weapon, as propulsion for space-ships and versatile power-stations. Maybe someone uses such machines also to send signals over gravitational waves.
23 – We are only day flies compared to space fairing species
Let’s suppose the galaxy is actually a highway and there is permanent galactic radio broadcasting. At least every five thousand years an alien spaceship flies through our solar system. At least every one hundred years a loud and clear radio message can be received. Any space fairing species knows that and they wait patiently for the interstellar liner ships and the regular radio announcements. No problem for them, because they reach a very high individual age up to several thousand years. They start a interstellar voyage for example when they are 200 years young and reach the destinations as an mature person of 1700 years. Compared to such space fairing alien species, we humans – who get ca. 90 years old – are only day flies.
Maybe we are just not prepared for interstellar space travel and therefor the space fairing aliens that are – from our point of view – practically immortal, seem to us to be like gods. This would be another, a better explanation for ‚8 – They are too alien‘. They are actually not too alien. They are in many aspects quite similar to us, but they also are, what we call gods – the gods of our ancestors. But we only call them gods because we are weak and ignorant.
For a day fly the ocean seems to be unbreachable – but not for a seagull. The solution is simple: we have to become seagulls. We have to understand interstellar space travel and its requirements. The most important requirements is to become patient and virtually immortal. Nature has prepared a well working and surprisingly easy way for us to become virtually immortal. To become an interstellar Methusalem we even need not any technology at all. We just need patience. If you are capable to read german language you can read my article „Unsterblichkeit durch autogene Zucht“ and you will learn how we can become an interstellar species.
24 – Interstellar travel is a natural phenomenon
Once I was thinking a few months about the different types of interstellar starships that had been proposed over the decades in science fiction stories and scientific papers as well. One of these types was the so called ’seed ship‘. The proposed idea says it is not necessary to transport crews either frozen in deep stasis or in titanic generation ships. Why not just send the frozen embryos and then after landing on a foreign planet grow them in artificial wombs and parenting them by robots? This was the idea behind the seed ships.
I was wondering which of these approaches to interstellar space travel were realistic and which not and wrote an article about methods to conquer interstellar distances in german language, „Methoden zur Überwindung stellarer Distanzen“, which has been downloaded several thousand times over the years and thereby became a standard article for the interested people. In this article I stated that seed ships are very unrealistic for the transport of crews but on the other hand very realistic for the long time preparation of a crew landing by transporting eggs, seed and spores (dauer-stages) of thousands of species of animals and plants. The crew had always instantly accustomed plants and animals available they could eat after landing and had not to starve or get poisoned by foreign fauna and flora.
This let me questioning if such a seed ship for fauna and flora already existed in nature. And yes of course it exists. It is comets that are created by deep impacts of asteroids, when permafrost ground full of dauer-stages is accelerated that fast away that it can leave it’s planet. By natural swing-by at big planets this permafrost comets can even leave their solar system and start an interstellar journey. Both phenomena are confirmed. The next question was: how long can dauer-stages of species survive such a journey and I came to the interesting result: it depends only on the thickness of the surrounding material. Are the species surrounded by several ten meters of ice, then they can survive literally until the end of time, practically billions of years. Statistically they need usually several ten to hundred million years for a typical chaotic trip between stars until they fall on another Earth-like planet and start to grow.
I also found out, that with this mechanism in mind, it becomes clear that planetary closed ecosystems do not exist and ecosystems are actually multistellar. I called this theory ‚Interstellar Ecology‘ and in german language ‚Stellare Ökologie‘. I knew from former studies that ecosystems underly the energy reduction principle. This brought me to the idea, how such ecosystems that exchange life chaotically via comets could reduce it’s overall energy. The overall energy is the summarized energy the interstellar ecosystem needs to produce all it’s life forms on different planets. The solution was simple: make the chaotic transport of life a little more directed. Therefor any interstellar ecosystem has to produce humans. The biological sense in life of a human being is nothing else than interstellar space travel – nothing more, nothing less.
Therefor we could say: we don’t have to wonder where the aliens are, because they are already around us. The fauna and flora we live with is a mixture and blend of life forms who came from different planets from distant stars and creatures who developed on Earth. We, mankind are a blend of creatures who developed on Earth and alien life forms. We are partially aliens in our genes: alien slugs, alien worms, alien bacteria.
Stop wondering ‚Where are the aliens?‘, just look around, look on the plants in your garden, look on the animals all around you, look on your own skin.
The Fermi paradox never existed.
25 – Space fairing species suppress other intelligent species unintentionally
Every interstellar ecologic system tries to produce human-like creatures for the sake of minimizing the overall energy. The natural transport of dauer-stages of higher life forms in permafrost comets is chaotic and very ineffective. A more directed interstellar transport, how clumsy and unreliable it is, is always more efficient than transport by chance. All Earth-like planets within an interstellar ecosystem will simultaneously produce species that can build half-decent space ships.
Any ecosystem produces a dominant species. Zoologists call this creature the apex-predator. We can observe this in any eco-system: the lion in the steppe, the tiger in the jungle, the shark or the killer-wale in the oceans, the polar bear in the arctic, the wolf or the bear in the woods, the crocodile or the hippopotamus in the rivers, the eagle in the sky, etc. For the planet Earth humans are the apex-predator.
Because humans are dominant and occupy all profitable ecologic niches they suppress the development of other intelligent species. They do this mostly unintentionally. The other apes, the dolphins and wales, the dogs, the elephants, the octopuses, only to mention a few, have no chance. Any of these species has by intellect the capability to replace humans, when humans should become distinct. Pierre Boulle’s narration ‚Planet of the Apes‘ presented such a scenario impressively. Just imagine a very intelligent octopus would start to hunt the most delicious fish in our best hunting grounds. What would happen? After a short while he would be part of the fishermen’s dinner.
The same rules should apply for an interstellar ecosystem. It is very realistic to assume that the first interstellar species in an ecosystem will suppress the development of the other intelligent beings. This might be done unintentionally similar as humans suppress dolphins or apes. You only have to imagine the mining of resources. When an space fairing species mines all natural resources like mineral oil, uranium and rare-earth metals, how can another intelligent species on this planet develop to a civilization?
On the other hand: whenever a space traveling species drops out, maybe they have destroyed their civilization themself in a war, there are plenty of new intelligent species on all planets of the interstellar ecosystem that can fill the gap. After a short time one of them is the new apex-predator in the Interstellar Ecology.
I will now analyze all explanations for the Fermi paradox we have just learned.
First of all I will give my expertise. As interdisciplinary scientist I think I have quite good understanding of many of the mentioned topics and fields. I’m an engineer, I studied 10 years mechanical engineering, rocket science, satellites, aero-thermodynamics, combustion, numerical simulation, embedded systems and finished my studies with a diploma. I’m also an enthusiastic theorist in the fields of economy, ecology, physics, astronomy, mathematics and philosophy. If you find a better expert for the expertise, please send me his results for comparison. For the expertise all numbers from 0% to 100% are allowed. I choose the values:
- wrong: 0%
- unlikely: 10%
- improbably: 30%
- maybe: 50%
- probably: 70%
- most likely: 90%
- true: 100%
The plausibility check is a mere weighting. If I had allowed 0% I had eliminated all entries that look not plausible at first glance. I also don’t allow 100% to stay symmetrical. Therefor it has two values:
- not plausible: 25 %
- plausible: 75%
The evidence check checks for the evidence in the phenomenological sense and is also a weighting. It has also two values:
- not evident: 25%
- evident: 75%
What is evident? Evident is what I recognize with my senses. What I recognize with my eyes, with my ears, what is obvious or what I can find out immediately. Anything what is a theory is not evident. Anything what assumes qualities of the aliens is not evident.
The result is not a classic probability distribution but more weighted points. The more points, the more probable the explanation.
|2||1- Extraterrestrial life does not exist||10||unlikely||25||not plausible||75||evident, cannot see them|
|28||2 – Extraterrestrial life is too rare||50||maybe||75||plausible||75||evident, cannot see them|
|9||2a – Every civilisation has to go through a bottleneck||50||maybe||75||plausible||25||not evident|
|28||2b – Civilizations are too far apart in space and time||50||maybe||75||plausible||75||evident, cannot hear them|
|9||2c – Humans have not existed long enough||50||maybe||75||plausible||25||evident, cannot hear them|
|2||3 – We are accidentally the first intelligent life in our galaxy||10||unlikely||25||not plausible||75||evident, we are alone|
|2||3a – We are accidentally the first intelligent life with technology||10||unlikely||25||not plausible||75||evident, we are alone|
|28||4 – It’s too difficult to detect radio signals||50||maybe||75||plausible||75||evident, just try|
|39||4a – We have not the gear to detect the signals||70||probably||75||plausible||75||evident, bigger gear always helps|
|56||4b – We have not the resources to detect the radio signals||100||true||75||plausible||75||evident, who has enough?|
|56||4c – Even if aliens are contacting us chances are low||100||true||75||plausible||75||evident, because it’s so hard|
|9||5 – They are using Neutrinos for communication||50||maybe||75||plausible||25||not evident|
|0||5a – They are using quantum entanglement for communication||0||wrong||25||not plausible||25||not evident|
|17||6 – No one is transmitting because of cost||90||most likely||75||plausible||25||not evident|
|9||6a – No one is transmitting because of the Fermi paradox||50||maybe||75||plausible||25||not evident|
|13||6b – It’s too dangerous to transmit||70||probably||75||plausible||25||not evident|
|9||6c – Everyone is afraid of transmitting||50||maybe||75||plausible||25||not evident|
|28||7 – Earth is deliberately preserved||50||maybe||75||plausible||75||evident, no one visits us|
|9||8 – They are too alien||50||maybe||75||plausible||25||not evident|
|2||9 – Interstellar travel is economically impossible||10||unlikely||75||plausible||25||not evident|
|9||10 – Intelligent life is destroyed by natural disasters||50||maybe||75||plausible||25||not evident|
|9||11 – Intelligent life destroys itself after a while||50||maybe||75||plausible||25||not evident|
|28||12 – Intelligent life destroys others by nature||50||maybe||75||plausible||75||evident, as we do|
|0||13 – The UFO conspiracy||0||wrong||25||not plausible||25||not evident|
|0||14 – Earth is purposely isolated inside a simulation||0||wrong||25||not plausible||25||not evident|
|1||15 – Inflation hypothesis of multiverses||10||unlikely||25||not plausible||25||not evident|
|2||16 – Interstellar transport is done via ‚mind uploading‘||10||unlikely||75||plausible||25||not evident|
|2||17 – Technological societies loose interest on the outside world and isolate themself||10||unlikely||75||plausible||25||not evident|
|2||18 – The anthropic principle let us be the first intelligence in the universe||10||unlikely||25||not plausible||75||evident, we are alone|
|9||19 – Interstellar travel is done via the fourth dimension||50||maybe||75||plausible||25||not evident|
|1||20 – Interstellar travel is physically impossible||10||unlikely||25||not plausible||25||not evident|
|2||21 – We are accidentally the LAST intelligent life in our galaxy||10||unlikely||25||not plausible||75||evident, we are alone|
|9||22 – Interstellar communication uses gravitational waves||50||maybe||75||plausible||25||not evident|
|51||23 – We are only day flies compared to space fairing species||90||most likely||75||plausible||75||evident, we live short compared to cosmos|
|13||24 – Interstellar travel is a natural phenomenon||70||probably||75||plausible||25||not evident|
|39||25 – Space fairing species suppress other intelligent species unintentionally||70||probably||75||plausible||75||evident, like we do|
In the result list (below) you can see the best explanations for the Fermi paradox. The main reasons why we don’t find aliens:
- too less effort to detect the signals, not enough resources, insufficient material, insufficient research, low chances
- we are day-flies against the huge size of the universe, we have to be patient; if we would detect first signals in 250 years from now we were very lucky because it was very fast
- most of the species are probably suppressed (or even destroyed) by a few more developed species that (unintentionally) inhibit their development
- space is huge and civilizations are rare and far apart in space and time
- earth may be deliberately preserved by interstellar patrons
1 is completely understandable; 2 as well; 3 makes me feel a little bit uneasy; 4 is hopefully true because of 3; 5 is ambivalent: either the patrons protect us against the bad guys from 3, or – more probable – the patrons are exactly that species that suppress us unintentionally as we do with the dolphins and apes.
|56||4b – We have not the resources to detect the radio signals|
|56||4c – Even if aliens are contacting us chances are low|
|51||23 – We are only day flies compared to space fairing species|
|39||4a – We have not the gear to detect the signals|
|39||25 – Space fairing species suppress other intelligent species unintentionally|
|28||2 – Extraterrestrial life is too rare|
|28||2b – Civilizations are too far apart in space and time|
|28||4 – It’s too difficult to detect radio signals|
|28||7 – Earth is deliberately preserved|
|28||12 – Intelligent life destroys others by nature|
|17||6 – No one is transmitting because of cost|
|13||6b – It’s too dangerous to transmit|
|13||24 – Interstellar travel is a natural phenomenon|
|9||2a – Every civilisation has to go through a bottleneck|
|9||2c – Humans have not existed long enough|
|9||5 – They are using Neutrinos for communication|
|9||6a – No one is transmitting because of the Fermi paradox|
|9||6c – Everyone is afraid of transmitting|
|9||8 – They are too alien|
|9||10 – Intelligent life is destroyed by natural disasters|
|9||11 – Intelligent life destroys itself after a while|
|9||19 – Interstellar travel is done via the fourth dimension|
|9||22 – Interstellar communication uses gravitational waves|
|2||1- Extraterrestrial life does not exist|
|2||3 – We are accidentally the first intelligent life in our galaxy|
|2||3a – We are accidentally the first intelligent life with technology|
|2||9 – Interstellar travel is economically impossible|
|2||16 – Interstellar transport is done via ‚mind uploading‘|
|2||17 – Technological societies loose interest on the outside world and isolate themself|
|2||18 – The anthropic principle let us be the first intelligence in the universe|
|2||21 – We are accidentally the LAST intelligent life in our galaxy|
|1||15 – Inflation hypothesis of multiverses|
|1||20 – Interstellar travel is physically impossible|
|0||5a – They are using quantum entanglement for communication|
|0||13 – The UFO conspiracy|
|0||14 – Earth is purposely isolated inside a simulation|
’24 – Interstellar travel is a natural phenomenon‘ made it only into to the mid field with only 13 points. This happened because it is obviously not evident. It’s just a theory. If we once would find a comet full of dauer-stages like eggs, spores and seed, this would immediately change. Then the expertise would be 90%, plausibility and evidence 75% each, the overall result 51%. And we could say: 1. to less effort to detect the signals, … 2. we are day-flies and the Fermi paradox never existed …