The Alien Paradox

Enrico Fermi is credited with asking the question that forms the basis for “Fermi’s Paradox.”  That is, where are all the aliens?  Why haven’t we been visited here by aliens from another planet?  There are so many stars in our galaxy, and many of those stars, even perhaps all of them, have planets orbiting around them.  Surely some of those planets must have life existing on them that has developed the capability of traveling the galaxy and visiting other stars and planets.  With hundreds of billions of stars and maybe ten times that in planets, where are they?  Why haven’t we seen them?  Why hasn’t someone landed and said, “Take me to your leader?”

I’ve seen articles recently that attempt to answer the question by postulating several hypotheses.  One of the most common is, “It’s too far—they can’t get here.”  That hypothesis usually falls to the argument that a sufficiently advanced civilization should be able to build and send out a ship large enough to allow space explorers to live out their lifespans and spawn ancestors as the ship sails through space.  A sort of “Genesis Ship.”  Any visitors to our planet could be descendants of the original spacefarers.  That would take an immensely large ship, but who’s to say it couldn’t be done?

That hypothesis also falls to the argument that perhaps an advanced civilization has learned how to open a wormhole, or failing that, to use an already existing one, and travel from one section of the galaxy to another with just a short hop.  Who’s to say that couldn’t be done?

Generally, we tend to argue ourselves out of almost any supposed block to long distance space travel.  It can be done, we confidently assert.  And, we continue, here’s how.  And we launch into detailed explanations of how they could get here.  So, where are they?

Let me throw out a different possibility: perhaps we have been visited here.  Maybe they’ve come in droves, and they’re all around us.  Maybe they came many thousands of years ago and left, muttering something to themselves about nothing here worth visiting.  Perhaps they set out space buoys to warn other travelers away.  “Don’t go to that blue planet.  It’s worthless.”  After all, we still do see UFO’s in the sky.  Not all UFO’s have been identified.  Some are balloons, some are government projects, some are airplanes, some are blimps, and so on, but what about the ones we can’t identify?  It seems logical to me that if aliens were to visit us here, they’d want to keep their presence quiet.  For whatever reason.  How can you read the mind of an alien if you don’t even know whether it exists in the first place?

Any alien capable of traveling the galaxy, or through a wormhole, might also have developed the capability of masking his presence to the point that we don’t even know he’s here.  In that sense, the Romulan cloaking device of Star Trek might not be so farfetched.

Here’s looking at you.

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