I’ve written before about Drake’s Equation and the Fermi Paradox. The former suggests the possibility of lots of alien life. The latter asks okay, so where the heck are they? Given that the universe just started, it’s possible we’re simply the first. Maybe the crowd comes later. (Maybe we create the crowd!)
Recently, one of my favorite YouTube channels, PBS Space Time, began a series of videos about this. The first one (see below) talks about the Rare Earth Hypothesis, a topic that has long fascinated me.
The synchronicity in this is that I’d just had a thought about basic probability and how it applies to our being here…
You may know about the Drake Equation, which is an attempt to quantify the number of intelligent species that evolve in a galaxy. Depending on how you set the parameters, the answer varies from “lots!” to “almost none.” The first answer leads to Fermi’s Paradox: Okay, if there are lots of aliens… where are they? So far we’ve seen no signs (pardon the reference).
If you read science fiction you may also be familiar with the idea of Ancient Alien Ancestors (AAA) who are now long gone leaving only a legend. Sometimes there are The Ancients (now long absent), the current Elder Races (powerful, not always wise, not always kind), and the Younger Races (which Earthlings invariably belong to).
But what if we are those Ancient Ancestors?
The other day I was Wiki Walking and ended up reading about the Rare Earth Hypothesis in reference to the Fermi Paradox and the Drake Equation. We’ve discovered that most stars in our galaxy appear to have planets of some kind, although ones with human-friendly environments may be quite rare. The presence of a plethora of planets presumably provides a potentially large factor for at least one part of the professor’s pretty problem.
But it’s possible that some of its other factors are extremely small. They may be much smaller than anyone had imagined. They may be so small as to ensure that we are alone in the galaxy.
It’s even possible we are alone — or nearly alone — in the universe!
I was digging through boxes I’ve carted around for four decades looking for a short science fiction story I wrote in high school. So far I haven’t found it, but I refuse to believe it’s not there somewhere. There’s a lot to go through; I’d forgotten how much writing I did in high school and into college. Most of it is embarrassing juvenile crap (I may share some of it with you just for laughs).
I did find a piece I wrote seven or so years after college. Reading it made me laugh out loud (but I’m easily amused). Perhaps it will tickle your funny bone as well.
I want aliens to come to earth.
It’s going to be a very long time (if ever) that we go traipsing around the galaxy visiting others. If we do, of course we’ll be the aliens (which has made for some good SF stories and a recent cute film). Our tech is a long way from a galactic bus, so that’s one thing. Another thing is that we have no idea where to go. So far SETI hasn’t SEEN; for all we know we’re alone in the local universe.
You may have heard of the Drake Equation, which starts with the huge number of stars and calculates that even if a fraction of a fraction of a fraction (and so on, several times) of them have the conditions necessary, there are still many possible worlds with intelligent life.