How would humans respond to first contact from an alien world?

Apr 06, 2012 By Nancy Atkinson, Universe Today
Artist concept of an exoplanet. Credit: NASA

According to Star Trek lore, it is only 51 years until humans encounter their first contact with an alien species. In the movie “Star Trek: First Contact,” on April 5, 2063, Vulcans pay a visit to an Earth recovering from a war-torn period (see the movie clip below.) But will such a planet-wide, history-changing event ever really take place? If you are logical, like Spock and his Vulcan species, science points towards the inevitability of first contact. This is according to journalist Marc Kaufman, who is a science writer for the Washington Post and author of the book “First Contact: Scientific Breakthroughs in the Hunt for life Beyond Earth.” He writes that from humanity’s point of view, first contact would be a “harbinger of a new frontier in a dramatically changed cosmos.”

What are some of the arguments for and against the likelihood of first contact ever taking place and what would the implications be?

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“One argument against first contact is from those who say there is no other life in the Universe,” said Kaufman, speaking to Universe Today via phone, “and with that is the Fermi paradox, which says that if there is so much life out there, why hasn’t it visited us yet? That was first posited back in the 1950’s and with everything we’ve learned since then, it seems rather presumptuous and Earth-centric to say that because no one has come to Earth, there is no life out there.”

Kaufman argues the Universe is so vast, the number of exoplanets is so huge – with the number of exoplanets in habitable zones now gaining in numbers almost daily – and we now understand that all the makings for the building blocks of life are out in space, so it defies logic to argue there is no other life out there.

Another argument against first contact states there might be microbial life elsewhere in the Universe, but it is not intelligent. “This is where the Fermi paradox comes in even more,” Kaufman said. “It certainly is true — as far as we know — that no intelligent life has made contact with Earth. But when you look at the amount of time we’ve been a technologically advanced society, it has only been a few hundred years. In the vastness of time, that is a pitifully small amount of time – truly nothing.”

In the immensity of cosmological time, Kaufman said, it is quite possible that microbial life emerged and evolved a billion years ago on another world and we missed coinciding with it, as civilizations could have come and gone.

“But all the makings are there and unless we want to say that Earth was made through divine creation or only through an unbelievable set of circumstances this is the only place in the Universe where life began, it just seems hugely, hugely implausible,” Kaufman said.

So, Kaufman says, the best, most logical argument is that life exists beyond Earth and in some instances includes what we would consider intelligence.

“If you have and billions of planets in habitable zones, the logic says that some of them will advance like we did,” Kaufman said. “There’s no reason to say that evolution is exclusive to Earth. It feels very 14th or 15th century-Earth-centric to say that we are the only place where there is intelligent life.”

Our continued scientific understanding, and in particular, the recent ongoing finding of so many exoplanets, has been a real revolution in our understanding of the cosmos, Kaufman said, and it is a huge boost to the logic of finding life elsewhere.

“It was hypothesized for decades, if not centuries that other planets were out there,” he said. “Now that we are finding planets almost every day, from a scientific perspective, it shows us that if the science is pointing in a certain direction, you just need to have the technology and the knowledge catch up to that hypothesis.”

Kaufman says that like the surge in finding exoplanets, astrobiology is likely the next area of science where breakthroughs will happen.

“Scientists almost unanimously believe there is other life out there, but we just don’t have the technology to find it yet,” he said. “Even with the recent potential cuts in NASA’s budget for planetary missions, and even if NASA is not able to send up as many missions, there is a broad movement going on in college campuses and institutes – from working on synthetic life, to studies in cosmology, and astrochemistry — all of those things are moving forward because there is a real sense that something is within reach. This area of science is just going to blossom.”

So if tomorrow (or on April 5, 2063) a spaceship shows up, how would we respond?

“On one level, I’d hope there would be a huge amount of wonder and awe and a recognition of the vastness of the Universe. But I also imagine there would be a lot of defensiveness, as well,” said Kaufman, referring to some, like Stephen Hawking, who say we shouldn’t send messages out into space — because if a more technically advanced civilization comes to Earth, the outcome for the less advanced (us) would likely be bad.

But Kaufman has hope that Earthlings would welcome a visit.

“Look at the continuing fascination of Roswell or UFOs,” he said. “Throughout history, humans have looked to the skies and thought that we’ve experienced something ‘out there’ – be it angels or gods or spaceships. There is, I believe, a deep human craving that we aren’t alone, and that would be a significant part of our response.”

Explore further: Best evidence yet for coronal heating theory detected by NASA sounding rocket

More information: habitablezones.com/

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Lurker2358
2.4 / 5 (14) Apr 06, 2012
Look at the continuing fascination of Roswell or UFOs, he said. Throughout history, humans have looked to the skies and thought that weve experienced something out there be it angels or gods or spaceships.


Yes, well, you un-wittingly hit the nail on the head.

This is potentially very, very bad because humans have a very long history of worshiping just about anything they encounter, be it animals in India, or a statue of Baal in the middle east, or a pop music singer, or a feathered serpent, etc.

Now imagine if a deceptive group of aliens with extremely advanced technology shows up...

Moreover, our own history shows that we aren't exactly likeable beings in terms of cross-cultural encounters, and both the more advanced and less advanced civilization have historically been hostile to one another.

There has almost never been a human encounter during all of history up to the age of exploration that didn't turn into a genocidal blood bath.
TrinityComplex
2.3 / 5 (6) Apr 06, 2012
I find it unfortunate that you're correct, Lurker, but if they come to us the only thing we can hope for is that we've learned from our past enough that we won't repeat the same mistake. Trying to speak for what 'they' might do seems pointless since there's no way of knowing what kind of culture their history has shaped. It could very well be something that we have never even conceptualized.
Eric_B
2 / 5 (9) Apr 06, 2012
just in case anyone wants to take a look at the most intriguing information regarding this;

a cable tv operator aimed a giant satellite dish at the space station and shuttle missions (during the time that NASA was not encrypting the video) and recorded many hours of video, some with anomalies.
http://www.youtub...ture=s2l

one of the most compelling and entertain sources for the info is LunaCognita on youtube. here is a compilation of NASA videos;
http://www.youtub...N_Jcg1pc
NASA tether incident;
http://www.youtub...CjTEWz78

skylab incident
http://www.youtub...=mh_lolz

Maj Gordon Cooper speaks;
http://www.youtub...=mh_lolz

Mike Wallace in 1958
http://www.youtub...=mh_lolz

Eric_B
1 / 5 (6) Apr 06, 2012
HERE ARE SOME FAKES AND QUESTIONABLES;
this one is fake and amusing
http://www.youtub...=related

i don't know what to make of this guy, but he was murdered soon after this was recorded.
http://www.youtub...=related
Eric_B
1.6 / 5 (7) Apr 06, 2012
in my opinion and experience, it is very easy to gain personal, private proof that there are people who are not human involved with matters on earth, at least in the form of a scientific study (them studying us).

the information is a bit of a shock to the mind and the ego for a while, but one gets used to it. not a big deal in any sense of threat, that is obvious enough.

we are the biggest threat to us.
Deathclock
3.1 / 5 (15) Apr 06, 2012
Eric, this is not a website that panders to conspiracy theorist nonsense. There are plenty of sites that do, this is not one of them.
Lurker2358
1.6 / 5 (9) Apr 06, 2012
There is another paradox in intelligent life in space exploration, i'd call it an "energy boundary".

Sure, theoretically anti-matter and even fusion rockets could theoretically move a crew from one star to another inside human life times over distances of just a few light years, but these would be extremely expensive, one-way colony trips.

In order to travel significant distances of 50 or more light years you really need something beyond anti-matter. Anti-matter can ideally get you up to somewhere around 0.7 to 0.8c, but that is idealism. In reality, it probably won't exceed about half that.

So here's where the paradox comes in; in order to travel that far in a reasonable time period, you probably need some exotic energy like zero point energy or wormholes.

However, if you have zero point energy, it seems unlikely that you'd be interested in space exploration any more anyway, since you could likely just manufacture any elemental material you need through particle colliders.
Lurker2358
1 / 5 (7) Apr 06, 2012
Additionally, a species that was using fusion or anti-matter drives would not necessarily be THAT much more advance than us, since computers are already nearing the physical limits, and we could, in principle create a fusion-powered generation star ship today, with existing technology, if we threw enough funds and resources at the project.

Thus a fusion or anti-matter based alien technology would most likely still be very vulnerable to conventional rocketry and nuclear weapons if a conflict emerged, even if they had plasma shields. After all, "real" plasma shields will not be perfect and will have defects and weaknesses, unlike science fiction, meaning there will still be some sort of vulnerability.

If a species has Zero Point energy or something similar, it may be impossible to anticipate their capabilities in weapons and defense, since they will have almost unlimited resources and energy anyway. However, as stated, they wouldn't have much motivation to start a war at that point...
Eric_B
1.7 / 5 (6) Apr 06, 2012
Deathclock; "Eric, this is not a website that panders to conspiracy theorist nonsense. There are plenty of sites that do, this is not one of them."

Did you read the title of this article?

Your response to my postings is a nice contribution to answering the question.

Watch some of the video links i put on here and PLEASE, I BEG YOU FOR THE SAKE OF MY MENTAL WELL_BEING, disabuse me of my false, conspiracy theories.

The first videos I put on here are straight from NASA. So...

I think it might be you who is paranoid and your conspiracy that you believe is that your limited conception of reality ultimately makes itself absolutely true.

I am open to factual or even hypothetical refute.

You have offered none but that you don't want to even make casual conversation.

Poor thing.
Deathclock
1.9 / 5 (12) Apr 06, 2012
Eric:

According to our current knowledge there is no way to travel to a another star system in a time span that would allow it to be meaningful to do so.

The fastest a human has ever traveled in space is 0.000037c... proxima centauri is the closest star at 4.2 light years... at that speed it would take us 113,513 years to get there.

Obviously other intelligent life forms may have superior technology, but the closer you go to light speed the less and less likely you are speaking in the realm of reality instead of fantasy. Even at 1% light speed, or about 300 times faster than we have ever gone, it would take 420 years to make the trip.

Want to go faster? Then you are talking about acceleration forces that would crush steel...

The scales involved are insurmountable. The idea that we have been visited by other intelligent life is fantasy, the "evidence" for it, if you can call it that, is tenuous at best, and downright worthless in the majority.
Deathclock
2.3 / 5 (12) Apr 06, 2012
You do understand that to attain a speed high enough to reach even the CLOSEST star to our own in the span of hundreds of years or less you would have to maintain constant acceleration to the half-way point and constant deceleration from then on and the force of this acceleration/deceleration would FAR surpass that at which any known life form could survive... It's not just about attaining the raw velocity, it's about surviving the G-Force of that acceleration and subsequent deceleration.
Eric_B
1.6 / 5 (5) Apr 06, 2012
Lurker2358

I agree with you that we can see what the possibilities for these hypothetical propulsion systems would consist of, based on our current level of tech and knowledge.

If after discovering higgs, we find a way to manipulate it, we might be able to find a way to directly manipulate gravity/time/space. eventually, with space based solar power coupled with new methods of storing or generating massive amount of energy, we could open the solar system and the stars.
axemaster
2.8 / 5 (4) Apr 06, 2012
This is potentially very, very bad because humans have a very long history of worshiping just about anything they encounter, be it animals in India, or a statue of Baal in the middle east, or a pop music singer, or a feathered serpent, etc.

Now imagine if a deceptive group of aliens with extremely advanced technology shows up...

They wouldn't even have to be very far ahead of us. Keep in mind, people just 300 years ago worshipped their kings as god-chosen. It wouldn't take much at all to take us back there.
Lurker2358
2.3 / 5 (9) Apr 06, 2012
Deathclock:

Acceleration forces have nothing to do with it.

You can accelerate at 10m/s^2 for 35 days to get to 0.1C.

Accelerating slowly is probably the safest and most energy efficient method, since you can more realistically deal with dissipating heat waste and other issues.

the problem is not in acceleration at all. the problem is in the particles and micro-meteors which will hit the front of the ship.

there are several theoretical nuclear powered star-ship concept designs which have been around for decades, capable of theoretical speed of 0.1C, and there's no good reason any of them shouldn't work, in principle, if you could get the funding to do the project.

But the reality is, a realistic 0.1C star ship even with the most primitive workable technology will certainly cost at least several TRILLION dollars to construct, and if you were building something that expensive you want a return on investment, or at least a permanent colony on a habitable planet...we haven't found.
kaasinees
0.5 / 5 (26) Apr 06, 2012
This is potentially very, very bad because humans have a very long history of worshiping just about anything they encounter, be it animals in India, or a statue of Baal in the middle east, or a pop music singer, or a feathered serpent, etc.

Now imagine if a deceptive group of aliens with extremely advanced technology shows up...

They wouldn't even have to be very far ahead of us. Keep in mind, people just 300 years ago worshipped their kings as god-chosen. It wouldn't take much at all to take us back there.

And many poeple still do worship their leaders or celebreities as "gods".

I dispise idolism.
Lurker2358
2.3 / 5 (6) Apr 06, 2012
Also, unless you really do have Zero Point energy or gravity drive or something like that, abusing the time dilation from acceleration just is not practical or worth it in resources.

Accelerating to top, reasonable speed and then "coasting" most of the way is by far the most fuel efficient method of transport.

in an IDEAL anti-matter rocket, it would take about 16 times more fuel to accelerate to 0.8C than it does to 0.1C. In a realistic anti-matter rocket it actually takes several thousand times more fuel to get to 0.8C than it does to get to 0.1C, which means it really just is not practical or economical in any way to travel faster unless you already have so much energy it's worthless anyway.

I've discussed this in the past several years ago, since the fuel costs in an anti-matter or fusion based star ship are actually 99.9% of the entire build cost...
Eric_B
2.7 / 5 (10) Apr 06, 2012
Deathclock, imagine technology 1000 years past mastery of knowledge of the higgs boson and beyond our current capabilities and concepts in the field of nanomaterials and/or dark matter-energy.

we are not talking about chemical or nuclear rockets. who would volunteer for such a mission? i wouldn't.

but, there is more that we don't know than there is that we do know.

you started with, "According to our current knowledge"...please. Let's not be so impressed with ourselves. Technology for 20 years ago could have begun construction of a maglev accelerator to shoot payloads up the side of a mountain and into space, those payloads being solar panel arrays among other materials at a twentieth of what it cost to go to orbit today.

We could be on the verge of the first shoot as we speak, but for our bickering and lack of imagination.

That is my conspiracy theory, a conspiracy of small and corrupt minds.
Deathclock
2.3 / 5 (9) Apr 06, 2012
Deathclock, imagine technology 1000 years past mastery of knowledge of the higgs boson and beyond our current capabilities and concepts in the field of nanomaterials and/or dark matter-energy.


Speculation.

Why are you confusing blatant speculation for an argument?
Deathclock
1.4 / 5 (10) Apr 06, 2012
Deathclock:

Acceleration forces have nothing to do with it.

You can accelerate at 10m/s^2 for 35 days to get to 0.1C.


Space is not a true vacuum, resistance exists, even in interstellar space. The terminal velocity at 10m/s/s acceleration is likely far less than 0.1C

ryggesogn2
1.3 / 5 (12) Apr 06, 2012
"A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals, and you know it."
K, MIB

Read more: http://www.finest...rIPKB5Mk
"
Vendicar_Decarian
0.7 / 5 (42) Apr 06, 2012
Proof that there is "negative intelligence" life on earth.

http://www.youtub...=related
Vendicar_Decarian
0.6 / 5 (41) Apr 06, 2012

RyggTard quotes from "Quotes from the movie Men in Black" -

What an idiot.
Vendicar_Decarian
0.8 / 5 (42) Apr 06, 2012
And now the same mindset causes them to worship money and offer sacrifice at the altar of a mythical beast they call the "free market".

Different cattle, eating the same old garbage.

"Keep in mind, people just 300 years ago worshipped their kings as god-chosen." - AxeMaster
Lurker2358
3.2 / 5 (9) Apr 06, 2012
V_D:

Pretty much.

Have you noticed the "reverse mortage" option for retirees?

Rather convenient that they really just started pushing this trend around the time of the financial meltdown.

It's a perfect strategy for banks and other financial firms:

1, Sell people a mortgage which ends up costing them about 2.5 times the homes market value.

2, Destroy middle aged and elderly people's life savings and retirement investments in a market meltdown whereby trillions of dollars mysteriously disappear in one way or another.

3, since everyone is broke now, push reverse mortgages on the retirees, "buying back" their house at a fraction of the original value.

4, make trillions by bilking everyone during the market collapse.

5, Make trillions more by buying back all the land and homes at a fraction of their value, and then re-selling them again 2.5 times above value a few decades later.

"They Live" was exactly right.

"All you really are is livestock!"
ryggesogn2
1.4 / 5 (11) Apr 06, 2012
Refer to Clarke's Childhood's End.
SF has been thinking about this for decades.

Star Trek is nearly 60 years old and still going strong. People must not be too worried about seeking out new life, new civilizations.
Vendicar_Decarian
0.2 / 5 (38) Apr 06, 2012
Reality is far more mundane.

"SF has been thinking about this for decades." - RyggTard

Meat has no business in space, and the intelligent machines that are probably currently traversing space, have little in common with planetary meat bags. Neither will they have much of an interest in such trivial things.

kaasinees
0.4 / 5 (28) Apr 06, 2012
The reapers should come early this cycle, some people make me embarrased to be human.
Parsec
3.7 / 5 (3) Apr 06, 2012
The posters here are taking an entirely human-centric view in their estimates of the speeds required for interstellar travel. There are a variety of reasons, radiation being among them, why .1c is probably around the top rate of travel. However, if a species had a lifetime of say 1000 years, or longer, and had developed (either naturally or using technology) methods of suspended animation, there is no reason why a much more workable .05c wouldn't be more than adequate. One way colony ships traveling at those speeds makes a great deal of sense in a variety of scenarios.

For example, if a species was experiencing a set of challenges to its existence for any number of reasons, the economics are easily trumped by survival of the species motivations. Overpopulation, ecosystem collapse, etc. add other reasons.
ryggesogn2
1.7 / 5 (12) Apr 06, 2012
"Whatever the red circular object was that Jividen and his crew encountered that night in 1975, two things made a lasting impression on him.

"First, there was no radar contact with it. Clearly, by the silhouette and movement of my aircraft, this was a solid, self-propelled object.

"I don't think our physical science is advanced enough to evaluate what these things are. There's some physical phenomena going on that we just can't clearly interpret or evaluate -- it's obviously intelligently controlled, but it may not be ET.""
http://main.aol.c...945.html
People would respond quite well. Govts...not so well because the govt would be exposed as impotent. Better to hide the data to keep the illusion of control.
ryggesogn2
1.8 / 5 (11) Apr 06, 2012
We have witnessed how the govt and conventional science respond, hide the data or kill your career.
mrlewish
3.1 / 5 (7) Apr 06, 2012
If you have the technology to colonize other planets you don't need to. We are around a nice sun on a very nice planet. Why would we want to move?
Caliban
5 / 5 (7) Apr 06, 2012
Going on the assumption that first contact is not by accident, then really, only two scenarios are likely.
In one, the aliens are bent upon conquest and exploit.
In the other they want to be good neighbors.
Unless they are some kind of itinerant steampunk aliens, they wouldn't have need of our resources, since plenty of whatever they need is bound to exist in greater quantity elswhere, and much closer to home. If their technology is advanced enough to get them to our planet, it is most likely sufficient to satisfy their resource requirements, unless they are some kind of life-energy vampires or something...

So, if they don't immediately commence their efforts to exterminate us, then cautious optimism is probably in order.

Lurker2358
1.3 / 5 (4) Apr 06, 2012
Parsec:

I actually reached the same conclusion a couple years ago both for manned missions and un-manned probes.

It turns out to be much cheaper just to build a bigger ship with better life support systems and travel more slowly, which is what I was getting at above. Suspended animation would be ideal, but might not be practical.

My reasoning for space probes is simply that you aren't necessarily in as big a rush as you might think, after all, if you send a probe at 0.01C to maybe 0.05C you save so much money on fuel and can do multiple missions even for the same investment.

Additionally, by the time an actual manned mission happened, the technology would presumably be more advanced, so it would make more sense to send cheaper probes first...who knows, maybe in the intervening time period humans on Earth discover much better technology to use on the actual star ship, but the probe will already be out there collecting data for you anyway.
Lurker2358
3 / 5 (8) Apr 06, 2012
So, if they don't immediately commence their efforts to exterminate us, then cautious optimism is probably in order.


Most science fiction alien invasions involve a big build up and then they attack hours or days later.

A slightly more realistic alien invasion would be like the Zerg or Protoss in the original Starcraft. Just show up and start annihilating everything from high orbit. Like the confederacy bombing the planet Korhal by simply sending over 1000 of a Giga-ton class nuclear warhead and smashing the planet from every angle.

Blizzard had it right in the original game lore.

In a real invasion, you'd probably never "see" the attacking alien fleet.

They'd just hang out somewhere by Sedna or Pluto or something, and send in a barrage of a couple thousand nukes or anti-matter bombs, or plasma weapons.

By the time anyone knew Earth was under attack, the planet would be incinerated and sterilized.
Russkiycremepuff
2.2 / 5 (16) Apr 06, 2012
I personally don't believe in such garbage that Earth has been visited by outer space aliens. If it were true, where are the pictures? At the most, all you can see are blurred objects every time. Blurry pictures are no proof of alien visitors. It's all a hoax and a waste of time.
Russkiycremepuff
1.4 / 5 (9) Apr 06, 2012
There was a story written but I can't remember the name of the author. He said that God or some intelligence causes a backdrop of stars, planets, asteroids and intergalactic objects in deep space that can be seen with the human eye using science instruments, but everything other than the planets in our own solar system is not really there. The backdrop would be similar to scenery on a Hollywood sound stage. He said that God made the human eye capable of seeing certain objects that are relatively nearby but only within this solar system because these are the things that God made for man to discover. But everything else such as other galaxies and the Milky Way and the far reaches of the universe don't really exist, even though our eyes make us think that we see it.
Russkiycremepuff
1.4 / 5 (9) Apr 06, 2012
He also said that because Man was highly specialized above all other animals, God allowed Man to evolve in intelligence and form, and did not intercede because Mankind was supposed to evolve into a higher plane of reasoning and intelligence on his own volition, and to overcome all emotional levels that prevents Man from achieving the ultimate level of intellect. Only after achievement of that level would God reveal his secrets of the universe and Man would then be elevated to godhood. But until that time, Man only sees what he wants to see, because he is still more of an animal than a god.
Man is tied down by ego and bristles with rage, all driven by emotions. The author believes that until these many things are overcome, Man will never achieve those things which God intended.
Vendicar_Decarian
Apr 06, 2012
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Deathclock
2.3 / 5 (9) Apr 06, 2012
There was a story written but I can't remember the name of the author. He said that God or some intelligence causes a backdrop of stars, planets, asteroids and intergalactic objects in deep space that can be seen with the human eye using science instruments, but everything other than the planets in our own solar system is not really there. The backdrop would be similar to scenery on a Hollywood sound stage. He said that God made the human eye capable of seeing certain objects that are relatively nearby but only within this solar system because these are the things that God made for man to discover. But everything else such as other galaxies and the Milky Way and the far reaches of the universe don't really exist, even though our eyes make us think that we see it.


Well that's stupid.
harryhill
4.3 / 5 (3) Apr 06, 2012
If we do make first contact. Problem is the 'contact' will be our bacteria and their bacteria.Course, you could say that we would have closed systems to exclude such. But, bacteria get everywhere.
Nice present for your home planet. War of Worlds...remember?
CardacianNeverid
5 / 5 (2) Apr 07, 2012
According to our current knowledge there is no way to travel to a another star system in a time span that would allow it to be meaningful to do so -deathsdoor

We don't have the tech yet, but we do have the knowledge.

Then you are talking about acceleration forces that would crush steel -deathsdoor

You dont know what you're talking about.

to attain a speed high enough to reach even the CLOSEST star to our own in the span of hundreds of years or less you would have to maintain constant acceleration to the half-way point and constant deceleration from then on and the force of this acceleration/deceleration would FAR surpass that at which any known life form could survive -deathsdoor

The first part is true, the conclusion utter bullshit!

At a distance of 4.3ly and at a comfortable acceleration of 1g (assuming turnaround midway) it would take 5.9 yrs from Earth's ref frame or 3.6 yrs by the traveler's clock. Very doable if you can maintain 1g accel for the duration.
Spaceman78
4.8 / 5 (6) Apr 07, 2012
The people that say "if there is so much life out there the why haven't we encountered it?", I don't think people really understand just how incredible far away we are from other star systems and galaxies. It's a measurement that is hard to fathom. Just to get to Mars, which is "next door" to us, it would take years of space flight at a speed of 25,000 mph (That's a guess-timate. They may be traveling faster than that). Even if there is a star system out there with a planet containing intelligent life that is capable of traveling thru space, there are still more stars in the sky than sand on all the beaches of Earth, and maybe more if the universe truly is an infinite abyss. So the fact that we haven't been visited or found by extraterrestrials in a matter of a small sliver of time, really isn't that surprising or illogical, at all. It's hard to get your head around unless you understand the laws of the universe, space and time.
Au-Pu
2 / 5 (4) Apr 07, 2012
I doubt that our response would be as friendly as the SF shows suggest. We instinctively distrust anything that is different or that we do not understand. That is why despite our technology we remain savage barbarians. We would probably try to attack them first and then ask why did you come.
As for Aliens having been here for ages, if they have they certainly haven't taught us much of any value.
We are still racing towards our own extinction.
Someone suggested we learn from our history and our mistakes. That is a fallacy, we simply repeat then all in a different guise over and over again. Socially we must be the slowest learners in the history of evolution.
It would be wonderful if some of the more optimistic attitudes were even half real, at least there might be some hope for us.
Change in the area of civilising our species, but that process is so slow that our problems will almost certainly overrun us before we get there.
SleepTech
5 / 5 (1) Apr 07, 2012
I personally don't believe in such garbage that Earth has been visited by outer space aliens. If it were true, where are the pictures? At the most, all you can see are blurred objects every time. Blurry pictures are no proof of alien visitors. It's all a hoax and a waste of time.


Photography has been around a very short period in relativity to the age of the Earth. Mankind itself has been around a relatively short time in relativity to the age of the Earth. It is entirely possible, and impossible to disprove, that extraterrestrials visited this Earth many times before our race even existed. To assume aliens could have never come to Earth simply because we don't have any hard proof that they visited us in the past 100 years or so doesn't exclude the possibility that they could've come here before humans knew how to communicate to one another "I saw something crazy in the sky, cavebro"
SleepTech
5 / 5 (3) Apr 07, 2012
I think Humans always fear that extraterrestrials would be just like us- greedy, unforgiving, and violent. It's a big fear of ours that we may one day be treated the way Humans have treated other species(and one-another).
Sinister1811
2.7 / 5 (14) Apr 07, 2012
How would humans respond to first contact from an alien world?

I think that, firstly, there'll be the jokes, the ridicule, and the denial. And then there'll be the suspicion, fear and distrust. That's for the majority of Humans. Certain people would probably see them as Gods, and create new religions based upon these extra-terrestrial dieties. Personally, I think it would be an eye-opening experience to know that we are not the only ones in the universe, and also just to see how an extra-terrestrial lifeform and culture (assuming they live in such) lives and thrives. Either way, it would be a fascinating experience.
Cynical1
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 07, 2012
Additionally, by the time an actual manned mission happened, the technology would presumably be more advanced, so it would make more sense to send cheaper probes first...who knows, maybe in the intervening time period humans on Earth discover much better technology to use on the actual star ship, but the probe will already be out there collecting data for you anyway.


This was the plot line for a story I read 30 years ago or more...
The original crew was celebrated as heroes - for having the balls to take the 1000 yr trip - and for providing the needed info to produce better/faster probes, inasmuch as humans could now make the same trip in just a few days - and had.
Cynical1
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 07, 2012
He said that God made the human eye capable of seeing certain objects that are relatively nearby but only within this solar system because these are the things that God made for man to discover. But everything else such as other galaxies and the Milky Way and the far reaches of the universe don't really exist, even though our eyes make us think that we see it.

Well, i don't think our science probes have human eyes...
Cynical1
3 / 5 (6) Apr 07, 2012
Anyway, it would seem to be much more logical to assume that the "ruling" species of each Archealogical eon (amphibians=greys, dinosaurs=reptilians, et al) are just still watching (over?) us.
This would eliminate the need to explain how to travel vast distances on a useless one-way trip...
And, why would ANYONE travel so far for resources? The same stuff is present in a LOT more galactically accessible places than this little blob of dirt. The only motivation would be pure curiousity.
antialias_physorg
4.7 / 5 (3) Apr 07, 2012
some thought son the subject at hand:
which says that if there is so much life out there, why hasnt it visited us yet?

Because we're not interesting. We are neither very advanced compared to any spacegoing species nor do we have anything that they would want or need. In such circumstances: why WOULD any species contact us?

As for intelligence: Evolution does not seem to be heading towards intelligence in any case. Look at the dinosaurs. 120 million years they ruled the Earth without going for intelligence. Their approach is, to date, much more successfull than ours (if survival time is to be the deciding factor).

So if tomorrow (or on April 5, 2063) a spaceship shows up, how would we respond?
Diversely. Some would throw a fit. Some would bow down. Some would go out and say 'hi'. And most certainly all other nations would nuke the one nation that the aliens land on first.
Isaacsname
4.2 / 5 (5) Apr 07, 2012
" if there is so much life out there, why hasnt it visited us yet ?"

So the MJ-12 program was all a farce ? Interesting that in 1947, right after the Roswell crash, in the same month, we get the creation of :the CIA, the Department of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the National Security Council, all from the National Security Act of 1947. Claude Shannon was mentored by Vannevar Bush, for years, Bush was also part of the MJ-12 program, both were instrumental in the creation of the things we call " computers. "

Etc, etc.

Fermi's statement surprises me with a lack of logic, seriously.

I know for certain they exist, I caught one of their " black triangles " hovering 30-40 feet over my house at 3 in the morning :P

You ain't so sneaky

* shakes fist in defiance *
Russkiycremepuff
1.1 / 5 (7) Apr 07, 2012
When I was at University in my own country, many of my comrades and I discussed the possibility of Man moving out to a more Earth like planet if one was found in a nearby star system. We all agreed that if and when such a thing happens, there would have to be a necessary change in the physical cellular structure of human astronauts that would enable them to survive the cosmic radiations that would enter their spacecraft and play havoc with their DNA and such.

The fact that the components of each cell in the body are precisely those which would best enable humans to survive in our own atmosphere and other conditions on the home planet through millions of years of trial and error to evolve commensurate to those conditions, would necessitate some modification of that evolution to help adjust to the new environment. That is, providing that exact measurements of the new planet's environmental paradigms are available beforehand.
Russkiycremepuff
1.1 / 5 (7) Apr 07, 2012
The cellular structure would, first of all, need to be modified to accept the cosmic radiation factor without any damage to cell walls, nuclei and other cell components. It would be imperative to also set up some form of shielding from temperature fluctuations that would maintain an ambient temperature to the operating system. That operating system includes the intake of nutrients and normal output of excesses and waste products which can be processed while the organism sleeps.
The ambient temperature would depend entirely on the mean temperature of the new planet to which the human organisms will need to adjust and adapt their life processes. The gravity and electromagnetic forces of the new planet would also have to be taken into consideration and the amount of pure liquid H2O available and the purity of the rainfall.
Russkiycremepuff
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 07, 2012
We also discussed the possibility of the human organism having the capability of traveling in a starcraft in deep space at a fraction of c or better, After several deductions involving the aging process, etc., one in our group said that the "Star Trek" response to the problem of travel at c, more or less, would be the dissolution of each cell into its atoms and preserving all of the organisms atoms in a special container on board the ship as the ship cruises toward c. I then asked how such cosmonauts would be enabled to recombine all of their atoms into their former cellular structures. I believe they are all still working on that problem.
I bring these up because if an alien space traveler were to cross such distances, their bodies would also have to be shielded or modified to survive the radiation.
Russkiycremepuff
1.4 / 5 (9) Apr 07, 2012
He said that God made the human eye capable of seeing certain objects that are relatively nearby but only within this solar system because these are the things that God made for man to discover. But everything else such as other galaxies and the Milky Way and the far reaches of the universe don't really exist, even though our eyes make us think that we see it.

Well, i don't think our science probes have human eyes... - Cynical1


Telescopes and eyeglasses; magnifiers and contact lenses; all are manufactured according to the structures and sight capabilities of the human eye, not that of a cat or dog's eye. Humans manufacture these products for other humans that relate to those certain visual changes of each individual pair of eyes. So too, software and measurements are acceptable within the parameters of human eyes.
Although the author of the story gave the story metaphysical connotations, I think that he was mindful of the limitations of human eyes and instrumentation
MorituriMax
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 07, 2012
I am starting to think that the universe we live in is a pocket universe off of the one we started in, all the other intelligent life is there, the only "intelligent" life here are the religious extremists and nutcases that nobody wanted in the original universe.

Either that or our observable universe is a giant game preserve with a giant sign that says, "Intelligent life keep out, and for Bang's sake, don't feed the animals when you tour their planet in your UFO safari."
jscroft
1 / 5 (2) Apr 08, 2012


You just know when they show up they're all gonna be frigging socialists.
MorituriMax
3 / 5 (2) Apr 08, 2012
I shit you not, the other day at work one of the resident christians was talking to another christian, and he said that God made seasons so people could only grow certain foods at certain times of the year or in certain places on Earth.

I guess God, with all his intelligence and omniscience never figured that people could slap together a wood frame, cover it in plastic sheeting, and Voila!, bypass the whole Seasons/food thing he had in place.

Another clue why aliens may not want to waste their time contacting us yet.
dogbert
1.5 / 5 (8) Apr 08, 2012
It is certainly fun to imagine that the universe is filled with life -- even intelligent life. Fantasy is a popular genre, which may account for the fact that a journalist for the Washington Post gets an article on Phys.org .

For all the fun speculation, remember that there is no evidence for life except in this solar system -- none at all.

Zero, zilch.

Believing that there is life elsewhere in the universe with a total absence of evidence is illogical at least.
Vendicar_Decarian
not rated yet Apr 08, 2012
Socialism and Capitalism will both be completely outdated concepts to aliens who are self sufficient.

"You just know when they show up they're all gonna be frigging socialists." - iscroft
Vendicar_Decarian
0.5 / 5 (38) Apr 08, 2012
There is no evidence for volcanoes outside of the solar system either.

"For all the fun speculation, remember that there is no evidence for life except in this solar system -- none at all." - DogBerTard

That statement will no longer be true if made 20 years from now.
Vendicar_Decarian
0.3 / 5 (36) Apr 08, 2012
I was once told that winter was "earth's cold season".

"he said that God made seasons so people could only grow certain foods at certain times of the year or in certain places on Earth." - Morit

Something like 20% of Ameircans believe the the sun revolves around the earth, and that the seasons occur because the earth is farther away from the sun.

Percentage of Americans who have consulted a psychic.
1990 - 1996 - 2009
14 - 17 - 15

Percentage of Americans who have seen a ghost.
1990 - 1996 - 2009
9 - 9 - 18

Percentage of Americans who have contacted the dead.
1990 - 1996 - 2009
17 - 18 - 29

77 Percent Of Americans Believe In Angels

http://www.inquis...dps3U.99

kaasinees
0 / 5 (21) Apr 08, 2012
angelus is latin for messenger.
you should rather ask them if they believe in gods messengers.
Tennex
1 / 5 (1) Apr 08, 2012
77 Percent Of Americans Believe In Angels
But the feeling of angels still can be real and testable. (video) Not everything must be utter nonsense just because it appears so...
Lurker2358
1.8 / 5 (5) Apr 08, 2012
Socialism and Capitalism will both be completely outdated concepts to aliens who are self sufficient.


At least you're right about that.

I don't see how capitalism as we know it could survive in a type 2 civilization, or rather, a Type 2 civilization could never emerge under capitalism. There simply is not enough long term planning, cooperation and collective management of resources and technology for it to happen.
dogbert
1 / 5 (3) Apr 08, 2012
77 Percent Of Americans Believe In Angels


It is probably a higher percentage than that. Encouraging that most Americans are able to accept reality, isn't it?
MorituriMax
1 / 5 (1) Apr 08, 2012
dogbert
For all the fun speculation, remember that there is no evidence for life except in this solar system -- none at all.

Zero, zilch.

So you've never been to any of the places on Earth where people claimed there was no way there could be life there, eh?
Vendicar_Decarian
0.4 / 5 (38) Apr 08, 2012
It is encouraging to witness American civilization collapsing as a result of the failure of American capitalist ideology.
dogbert
1 / 5 (3) Apr 08, 2012
No, Vendi. Capitalism is not failing. Incidious socialism its causing the failure of America today. And a return to capitalism is the only hope of recovery.
Tennex
1 / 5 (1) Apr 08, 2012
LOL, guys - cannot the failure of capitalism manifest itself like the incidious socialism? You would be both right, after then - and we all happy...
Vendicar_Decarian
0.3 / 5 (38) Apr 08, 2012
"No, Vendi. Capitalism is not failing." DogberTard proclaims as his nation turns to dust before him.

MorituriMax
3 / 5 (2) Apr 08, 2012
Vendicar
It is encouraging to witness American civilization collapsing as a result of the failure of American capitalist ideology.

the same ideology, by the way, that created the computer and the internet you are using. You did notice that neither was invented in Iran, Russia, North Korea, or Cuba, right?
Lurker2358
2.1 / 5 (7) Apr 08, 2012
No, Vendi. Capitalism is not failing. Incidious socialism its causing the failure of America today. And a return to capitalism is the only hope of recovery.


Megacorporations and monopolies are not a good thing for civilization.

Historically, they eventually make slaves out of their laborers.

Without wage laws and safety laws, socialist concepts, the mining companies and energy companies would literally own everyone right now.

I don't know why I keep having to remind people of this, but oppressive employers and monopolies are historically the problem in the U.S.

Haven't you ever heard of any of the insurrections which happened because the employers in mining industries owned the laborers? At one point, the coal companies actually hired gunmen to keep the laborers in check, and keep them living like dogs in company owned housing.

That's what un-regulated capitalism always degenerates into: a master/slave relationship.

So-called "Free enterprise" is anything but "free".
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Apr 08, 2012
Aliens aren't likely to be capitalists. Should just be a reminder of how wrong we are barking up that particular tree.
rikvanriel
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 08, 2012
Given that the energy requirements for traveling interstellar distances quickly exceed the energy availability of our entire planet, it should not matter whether the visiting aliens are capitalists or socialists: we have nothing of economic interest that is worth hauling back.

Instead, visiting aliens would be here for non-economical reasons: scientists, tourists and missionaries.
Isaacsname
not rated yet Apr 08, 2012
Such an interesting topic, although entirely new to me.

I found out a few months ago that one of the original members of the MJ-12 program ( Roswell, etc ) was my great uncle, or something to that extent. Apparently he was one of the physicians who conducted the autopsies from Roswell.

Detlev Wulf Bronk

I got a great framed photo of him that my mother left me :)

Idk you guys/gals. I was the biggest skeptic about these things until recently....
ryggesogn2
1.7 / 5 (6) Apr 08, 2012
Aliens aren't likely to be capitalists. Should just be a reminder of how wrong we are barking up that particular tree.

They certainly couldn't be socialists as socialism kills innovation and the economic growth needed to create the capital assets for interstellar travel.
mcausal
3.7 / 5 (3) Apr 08, 2012

the same ideology, by the way, that created the computer and the internet you are using. You did notice that neither was invented in Iran, Russia, North Korea, or Cuba, right?


oh well, the fruits of capitalism ...

the first computer was funded by the national socialists.
http://en.wikiped...omputer)

ARPANET was funded by the DoD
http://en.wikiped.../ARPANET

the WorldWideWeb was developed at CERN.
http://en.wikiped...dWideWeb

have a nice day!
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (2) Apr 08, 2012
"6 Dont be alarmed, he said. You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.

8 Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid."

Gospel of Mark, Ch 16

I suspect this would be, or has been, the response of anyone who encounters an alien.
Without concrete evidence, 'modern' science won't accept.
kaasinees
0.3 / 5 (23) Apr 08, 2012
Funny how most technologica advancement that science relies on was nvented in socialist/centric countries.
Cynical1
2.9 / 5 (7) Apr 08, 2012
It is encouraging to witness American civilization collapsing as a result of the failure of American capitalist ideology.

It is NOT the capitalist ideology that fails. It's the improper USE of it by a few that do not understand the proper flow and growth of it, that causes the failure.
By definition, capitalism means to carefully reinvest your holdings to create more. It does NOT mean take from another by hook or crook...
kaasinees
0.3 / 5 (24) Apr 08, 2012
It is encouraging to witness American civilization collapsing as a result of the failure of American capitalist ideology.

It is NOT the capitalist ideology that fails. It's the improper USE of it by a few that do not understand the proper flow and growth of it, that causes the failure.
By definition, capitalism means to carefully reinvest your holdings to create more. It does NOT mean take from another by hook or crook...

And guess where that "more" comes from?
Right, goldman sachs stole a trillion dollars worth of housing in dollars.
Where does it come from? The general population.
No my friend capitalism fails in its very essence.
Well it doesnt fail for the corporations and banks who get to fill their pockets and see how superior they are to the poor.

http://www.youtub...6hNkGkS0
MorituriMax
not rated yet Apr 08, 2012
rikvanriel
Given that the energy requirements for traveling interstellar distances quickly exceed the energy availability of our entire planet, it should not matter whether the visiting aliens are capitalists or socialists: we have nothing of economic interest that is worth hauling back.

Instead, visiting aliens would be here for non-economical reasons: scientists, tourists and missionaries.

Well, if they ARE capitalists and they use energy requirements exceeding an entire planet, then there IS reason to wonder what they would want from us to justify the expenditure, since we don't have anything they want. Maybe our brains? Those might be complex enough that perhaps even highly advanced aliens haven't been able to make yet.
Cynical1
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 08, 2012
[q oh well, the fruits of capitalism ...

the first computer was funded by the national socialists.
http://en.wikiped...omputer)

have a nice day!

Actually, it was Charles Babbage.

Arpanet was funded by the DoD for access to larger computer research centers around the country - BY UNIVERSITIES.
See this "Wik"icle for some interesting facts about PC dev.:
http://en.wikiped...atapoint

"WOrldwideWeb" was just a browser program developed at Cern.
It was concurrent with others, such as Mosaic, etc.
THE world wide web was descendant of the Arpanet program.

Sheesh... READ the articles you quote on here...
Cynical1
1 / 5 (1) Apr 08, 2012
To paraphrase Ronald Reagan -

Hello. We're from wtvrstruwntus2bfrm - and we're here to help...
ryggesogn2
1.7 / 5 (6) Apr 08, 2012
Funny how most technologica advancement that science relies on was nvented in socialist/centric countries.

Why did the communist USSR and China have to steal US technology?
The only 'technology' inspired by USSR was stealth. And the USSR had no idea as it was allowed to be published in open journals.
kaasinees
0 / 5 (21) Apr 08, 2012
Funny how most technologica advancement that science relies on was nvented in socialist/centric countries.

Why did the communist USSR and China have to steal US technology?
The only 'technology' inspired by USSR was stealth. And the USSR had no idea as it was allowed to be published in open journals.

I wasnt even talking about USSR and China.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (3) Apr 08, 2012
Funny how most technologica advancement that science relies on was nvented in socialist/centric countries.

Why did the communist USSR and China have to steal US technology?
The only 'technology' inspired by USSR was stealth. And the USSR had no idea as it was allowed to be published in open journals.

I wasnt even talking about USSR and China.

Why did they have to steal the technology?
rikvanriel
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 08, 2012
rikvanriel
Given that the energy requirements for traveling interstellar distances quickly exceed the energy availability of our entire planet, it should not matter whether the visiting aliens are capitalists or socialists: we have nothing of economic interest that is worth hauling back.

Instead, visiting aliens would be here for non-economical reasons: scientists, tourists and missionaries.

Well, if they ARE capitalists and they use energy requirements exceeding an entire planet, then there IS reason to wonder what they would want from us to justify the expenditure


Cruise ships do not dock at some uninhabited tropical island because there is something to get: instead, they dock because there is something to enjoy.

An alien society with the energy to do interstellar travel casually is likely to have interstellar tourism. If we're lucky, we'll get to work at a resort and learn some tricks.
PoppaJ
1 / 5 (2) Apr 08, 2012
How would humans respond to first contact from an alien world?
This is the title. The article really had nothing do do with the title. The article was about the discussion on the perceived potential of life. This article disappoints me. The title story still needs to be written.
Vendicar_Decarian
0.1 / 5 (35) Apr 09, 2012
Information can never be stolen, since information can never be property.

"Why did they have to steal the technology?" - RyggTard

Poor Randite RyggTard. Always wrong on every issue.

By the way Tard Boy... You still haven't answered why your hero - Ayn Rand - decided to become a welfare queen.

Joe_Strout
not rated yet Apr 09, 2012
Kaufman's own logic is terribly faulty. The Fermi paradox is quite right, and it's exactly NOT Earth-centric; it's based on the standard assumption that Earth is close to average.

Based on this, we expect that technological civilizations arise, on average, somewhere around 13 billion years after the formation of the galaxy they're in. Now, what do you suppose is the standard deviation of that distribution? In order to get a Star Trek style universe, where multiple civilizations in a single galaxy are apparently only a couple of hundred years apart in development, you'd have to propose a coefficient of variation of about 0.000008%, which is ridiculously, ludicrously, absurdly small.

OK then, so try on a more reasonable coefficient of variation, like 10% -- still very tight, but more reasonable. This gives a standard deviation of 1.3 billion years. That means more than 2% of all civilizations would beat the average (us) by at least 2.6 billion years.
Joe_Strout
not rated yet Apr 09, 2012
OK, so there are about 300 billion stars in the milky way... suppose maybe only 1% of those could evolve life... that's 3 billion civilizations, and 2% of those, or 60 million of them, beat us to the punch by 2.6 billion years or more. (And 0.1%, or 3 million of them, beat us by almost 4 billion years!)

So what do they do, wait around 2.6 billion years for us to come along so they can send us radio signals? No. Natural selection applies at all levels, and it drives expansion into new niches. It takes only a few hundred million years to completely settle a galaxy, assuming no faster-than-light travel.

And there's the problem. If anybody was out there, and assuming Earth's development time has been average, then they should have evolved billions of years before us, and long since filled the galaxy. Yet we see no sign of this. The Fermi paradox is real.
Joe_Strout
not rated yet Apr 09, 2012
There are only two sensible solutions to the Fermi paradox that have ever been proposed. One is that the aliens really are out there, but hiding from us; we're in some sort of giant nature preserve. Seems to defy Occam's razor, but it is possible.

The other possibility is that Earth is NOT average; the mean time to develop civilization is much much longer, or the percentage of star systems suitable for life is much much lower (or both). In other words, WE are the outlier, evolving billions of years before the mean, and so we wake up to find ourselves in an apparently empty galaxy.

Either of these is consistent with the great silence that is all we've found after many decades of searching. And of the two, only one is parsimonious. Much as I enjoyed Star Trek as fiction, I think we need to face the very real likelihood that in real life, there is no one out there to invite us to join the galactic federation.
Eric_B
5 / 5 (1) Apr 09, 2012
no onne said anything about any of these bits i posted... did anyone look at them?

RIP Make Wallace...

ust in case anyone wants to take a look at the most intriguing information regarding this;

a cable tv operator aimed a giant satellite dish at the space station and shuttle missions (during the time that NASA was not encrypting the video) and recorded many hours of video, some with anomalies.
http://www.youtub...ture=s2l

one of the most compelling and entertain sources for the info is LunaCognita on youtube. here is a compilation of NASA videos;
http://www.youtub...N_Jcg1pc
NASA tether incident;
http://www.youtub...CjTEWz78

skylab incident
[url][url]http://www.youtub...=mh_lolz[/url][/url]

Maj Gordon Cooper speaks;
[url][url]http://www.youtub...=mh_lolz[/url][/url]

Mike Wallace in 1958
[url][url]http://www.youtub...=mh_lolz[/url][/url]
Vendicar_Decarian
0.1 / 5 (35) Apr 09, 2012
You seem to have over-estimated by several orders of magnitude.

"suppose maybe only 1% of those could evolve life" - Joe
Joe_Strout
not rated yet Apr 09, 2012
You seem to have over-estimated by several orders of magnitude.

"suppose maybe only 1% of those could evolve life" - Joe


I was trying to be generous in the direction of the SETI folks. It really doesn't matter what percentage you choose. Make it 0.001% (three orders of magnitude less). That still means 60 thousand civs more than two and a half billion years older than us, and three thousand civs more than 4 billion (4 billion!) years older than us, if Earth is typical. And it only takes one to colonize the galaxy.

Indeed, in any normal distribution, there are always outliers which are quite a few standard deviations away from the mean -- and these are considerably more spread out than the ones closer to the mean (of course). So, it's quite likely that the very first civilization to arise could completely colonize the galaxy before the second one even begins.

We see no such ancient civilizations, so the simplest explanation is that WE are the first civ in the Milky Way.
Vendicar_Decarian
0.1 / 5 (35) Apr 09, 2012
You would certainly have individuals working outside of a capitalist system, working for a common social goal, working with a common ownership to the spacecraft and it's equipment, and doing so in a clearly cooperative manner.

"They certainly couldn't be socialists as socialism" - RyggTard

Sounds like socialism to me.
Vendicar_Decarian
not rated yet Apr 09, 2012
I sympathize.

"Make it 0.001% (three orders of magnitude less)." - Joe Strout

But what makes you think that it isn't 10 orders of magnitude less still?

We only now have 1 term in the drake equation.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Apr 09, 2012
Could we please ditch the Drake equation?
It was a tongue-in-cheek way of setting an agenda for a conference (Green bank conference in 1961). It was not meant to be a scientific equation in any way. Only laymen think it has any meaning.

Even if you (foolishly) take it at face value: Any equation that contains even one variable that is pure guesswork is completely useless. Such a formula conveys no information whatsoever. The Drake equation has several such variables.
rubberman
2.6 / 5 (5) Apr 09, 2012
Would intelligent people walk past a gang fight in a burned out neighbourhood and decide it was a good idea to go check it out? We have demonstrated clearly to any potential visitors that they should just keep going. Our planet is surrounded by floating garbage, at any given time there are 10 locations on the planet where we are killing each other in multiples. A snapshot of our power generation and it's effects clearly point to massive environmental degradation. If beings have figured out how to traverse the immense distance and deal with all of the hazards associated with interstellar travel, 30 seconds in orbit measuring us with instrumentation as advanced as theirs would send them packing....then the helmsmen would look at each other and one would say "Can you believe these idiots are still here?". But they may note that we do have particle acceleration tech and if we stop acting like idiots and clean s**t up we'd be worth a second look...
Joe_Strout
not rated yet Apr 09, 2012
Could we please ditch the Drake equation?
It was a tongue-in-cheek way of setting an agenda for a conference (Green bank conference in 1961). It was not meant to be a scientific equation in any way. Only laymen think it has any meaning.


Laymen, and SETI researchers, who still frequently quote it. And yes, you're absolutely right: it's utter rubbish, because it assumes a static state, which is obvious nonsense. To properly model population growth (such as the spread of civilization in a galaxy), you have to apply the equations of population dynamics.

But as soon as you do that, you're forced to admit that it just doesn't take very long (on a cosmic scale) to fill up the whole galaxy... leading right back to Fermi's paradox. Fermi's paradox is inconvenient for SETI researchers (as well as Star Trek fans like Kaufman), so they ignore or discount it, despite having no logical basis for doing so.
Joe_Strout
not rated yet Apr 09, 2012
"Make it 0.001% (three orders of magnitude less)."
But what makes you think that it isn't 10 orders of magnitude less still?


Make it whatever you like. If you make it so small that it's extremely unlikely that life will EVER arise in a galaxy, then fine, that solves the paradox: we're a fluke, and we're the only ones here.

Or, make it slightly bigger, but greatly increase the mean time to develop civilization -- maybe 100 billion years is typical, and we're the outliers five sigmas ahead of the mean; then that solves the paradox too: we're a fluke, and we're the only ones here.

I'm fine with either of those possibilities (or some combination), and pointed them out in my first post.

What is NOT fine is hand-wavy argument of the form "the universe is huge, there must be other civilizations out there at about the same tech level as us." That's just silly. If we're not one of the very first, then somebody else should have filled the galaxy billions of years ago.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Apr 09, 2012
it assumes a static state

Assuming dynamic population growth is as foolish as assuming static states. Why do we procreate? Because it's a biological necessity for the species to stay existent.
Will we procreate once we have reached immortality (in whatever form)? That question is unanswerable - but a real possibility is: "No we won't"...because there will no longer be a reason to.

Another scenario is that we will remain biological/non-immortal. In that case we'll also not colonize the galaxy because no planet will be viable for our type of life...too many specifics necessary to maintain human life without major intervention (full enclosure or terraforming). At that point living in space colonies is easier than going planetside.

There's really no point (or stage in a civilization's evolution) where trying to settle on other planets makes sense.
Deathclock
1 / 5 (1) Apr 09, 2012
a real possibility is: "No we won't"...because there will no longer be a reason to.


You could write a thesis on this idea alone.

I don't think it's true that the only reason to procreate is to replace the dead. Even in a population that is immortal variation would still be valuable, and the greater number of individuals the greater variation in their ideas and subsequent accomplishments. Assuming we are still individuals and not largely homogenized (which is possible) then it would still be the case that a single individual could have an idea that changes the entire society for the better, and the greater individuals that coexist the quicker you will reach such discoveries.

Think of each individual as another core in a CPU working on a massively parallel search algorithm. You may not know what you're searching for until you find it, but the more CPU cores you have doing the searching the faster it will be found so long as each one searches differently.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Apr 09, 2012
Even in a population that is immortal variation would still be valuable

If we're that great we can try out variations on ourselves. No need to punish offsprig with possibly detrimental mutations.

You may not know what you're searching for until you find it, but the more CPU cores you have doing the searching the faster it will be found so long as each one searches differently.

Assuming that the speed of light remains the fastets there is, then spreading out precludes any meaningful interaction/information passing. If we want 'massive parallelism' then staying together is better.

Immortality would also bring another aspect with it: aversion to risk. Living in a house that will collapse some time in the next 200 years is acceptable for an entity that lives 50 years - but not to an entity that lives 500. An entity that potentially lives billions of years would not even want to live close to stars/galaxies. Too risky.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Apr 09, 2012
You may not know what you're searching for until you find it, but the more CPU cores you have doing the searching the faster it will be found so long as each one searches differently.

What would we be searching for by means of mutation/variability after attaining immortality? The whole POINT of mutation is increased survivability in a dynamic environment. Once that is 'solved' there is no real need to use that mechanism any more.

Using variability for the search of other things (e.g. knowledge) can be achieved without breeding. Knowledge/intelligence is not the point of evolution.
Genetic algorithms are already a reality. Simulation of dynamic environments in which these algorithms search for 'answers' would be the next logical step.
Deathclock
1 / 5 (1) Apr 09, 2012
What would we be searching for by means of mutation/variability after attaining immortality? The whole POINT of mutation is increased survivability in a dynamic environment. Once that is 'solved' there is no real need to use that mechanism any more.

Using variability for the search of other things (e.g. knowledge) can be achieved without breeding. Knowledge/intelligence is not the point of evolution.
Genetic algorithms are already a reality. Simulation of dynamic environments in which these algorithms search for 'answers' would be the next logical step.


No, I meant different people lead different lives which give them different perspectives and a different set of unique talents and one specific individual may have the right brain chemistry at the right time to think of an idea that changes the world. Any given person may live forever and not come up with that idea. Individuals are unique, and that uniqueness is the variance I am talking about, nothing to do with genetics.
Deathclock
1 / 5 (1) Apr 09, 2012
Unique Minds. Your mind changes through time with each new second of experience but it is ALWAYS influenced by your past experiences. Unless we develop the technology to "reset" peoples minds and cause them to develop into completely different people on a regular basis we will never be able to recreate this constant stream of new perspectives that lead to innovation.
Isaacsname
5 / 5 (1) Apr 09, 2012
Fermi's paradox still makes a ridiculous assumption that ET's would have any interest in exposing themselves or trying to communicate with us. It would be no more ludicrous if Humans tried to communicate with ants. You guys really think a race/s quite possibly billions of years older than ours, wouldn't take advantage of a unique opportunity to peer into their own history ?

Interstellar cultural anthropologists would know better then to disturb the development of an uncivilized race such as humans, if they did, they'd likely introduce themselves and their technology with a " crash " on the alien world, then observe how the " ET's " handled themselves with rudimentary technology.

In our case, not so good.



Joe_Strout
not rated yet Apr 10, 2012
Fermi's paradox still makes a ridiculous assumption that ET's would have any interest in exposing themselves or trying to communicate with us.


No it doesn't. It makes the assumption that if some ancient civilization colonized every star in the galaxy billions of years ago, there would be SOME detectable sign of this. "Every star" would include Sol (why not?), unless they were nice and decided to avoid our star system (and were somehow able to enforce this ban for billions of years) because of the single-celled organisms swimming around in Earth's oceans at the time. But even then, we ought to notice the Dyson sphere around the next star over, or SOME engineering work that such an advanced civilization would surely create.

Yet when we look out into the galaxy, we see nothing that looks artificial at all. Everything we see appears to have a much simpler natural explanation. The galaxy appears empty, yet it can't be empty, except to the very first civilization to arise.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Apr 10, 2012
But even then, we ought to notice the Dyson sphere around the next star over

I would not be so sure that we would notice really advanced beings at all.

1) If advancement means 'survivability'(immortality) then we're looking at massively distributed beings (systems). Think E-Dust.
2) You're assuming that beings would be either surface, ocean or atmosphere dwelling types. However, beings that REALLY strive to maximize their living space would live in the volume of the planet - not on/near the surface.
3) Why would any advanced species want to be planet-bound in the first place?

race/s quite possibly billions of years older than ours, wouldn't take advantage of a unique opportunity to peer into their own history

Sure - but when you go birds-watching you make sure you are not observed yourself. Reason being: Birds that feel observed don't behave in a natural way.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Apr 10, 2012
Yet when we look out into the galaxy, we see nothing that looks artificial at all.

The more abilities a being has the less artificial tools it needs. What does a being that is unaffected by the elements need houses? A truly immortal - and for all intents and purposes invulnerable - being would not need to build anything.

Humans are already trying to integrate into nature - by trying to build buildings that fit into the landscape.
We're already reducing our radiofrequency visibility to the universe at large by using directional beams to sattelites.
It's not so hard to imagine that an even slightly more advanced species than humans would live on a planet that is indistinguishable from a 'wild' one.

antialias_physorg
not rated yet Apr 10, 2012
Unless we develop the technology to "reset" peoples minds and cause them to develop into completely different people on a regular basis we will never be able to recreate this constant stream of new perspectives that lead to innovation.

I see two possibilitiesd here:
1) As soon as we have a "theory of the mind" we may be able to construct minds and/or have such variability (random or planned)
2) As son as a species is immortal/invulnerable for all intents and purposes I'm not sure that innovation will be a driving factor. Currently it is because it helps us survive and because there are things we want.

Once you have everything you want the drive (or need) for innovation may well cease.
Cynical1
1 / 5 (1) Apr 10, 2012
Unique Minds. Your mind changes through time with each new second of experience but it is ALWAYS influenced by your past experiences. Unless we develop the technology to "reset" peoples minds and cause them to develop into completely different people on a regular basis we will never be able to recreate this constant stream of new perspectives that lead to innovation.


Mother Nature already has a plan that does this - it's called procreation.
bishop
1 / 5 (1) Apr 11, 2012
You people don't get it? It is not a matter whether Mankind will react the right way (defense, offense, ignore them, consider them respectfully, start to worship them, fear them, go catatonic)...

IMHO, I don't believe they will come in peace. Why the trouble to respect us? Our planet may not be unique but it may be a rare one in the universe.
So we have to consider the very real possibility that in this case we will be the indigenes and that the new comers will be settlers/conquistadors in spacesuits travelling the space with their spaceships, remember Christophe Colomb, Cortes & cie. Enslavement (middle case scenario) or genocide (worst case scenario) inside!

So people, before stupidly sending our position or a signal in the deep space, consider the fact that we are desperatly outgunned, shipless, scientifically outmatched.
bishop
1 / 5 (1) Apr 11, 2012
If They come, it needs to be in a future very far (100-200 years at least!) or we will have to hope/pray very hard that they come in peace and are willing to share their technology wonders and their thousands years old wisdom (best case scenario with the ignorance of our insignifiant specie at the moment).
antialias_physorg
2 / 5 (1) Apr 11, 2012
Our planet may not be unique but it may be a rare one in the universe.

If it's rare then they likely originated on a planet that is very different - so there's really no point for them in coming here.

Seriously: Chances that a species originating on planet X can live on planet Y without at least a suit are astronomically small.

A species so advanced as to be able to terraform doesn't need Earth.
A species that can survive unaided under a wide range of conditions doesn't need Earth.
A species that needs resources doesn't need Earth, either (if you're already spacegoing then mining in space is much easier than going up and down a gravity well)

If there are contactophile aliens out there they will at the very least wait until we don't have nation states anymore.

As for being peaceful: The concept of 'war' makes no sense on interplantary/interstellar scales, anyhow. That only makes sense if land/resources are scarce - and space has plenty of both.
TrinityComplex
3 / 5 (2) Apr 11, 2012
@antialias: Another thing to consider; if they came about on a world completely different from ours (say a gas planet) and were looking for another possible planet to inhabit, why would they even look at a world like ours? We are currently looking for other planets like ours, so it would stand to reason that they would look for other planets like theirs, making it even less likely that we'd come into contact with each other.

However, speculation on this almost seems pointless, since it's not us, at this point, that would initiate contact, but them. The best we can do is continue to gather knowledge about other worlds and hope we see something promising. As observation of other planets is faster than exploration perhaps the best chance of contact is to see signs of a civilization and then attempt to direct communications at them.