Why don't we ever encounter aliens?
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
30-05-2012, 02:44 PM (This post was last modified: 30-05-2012 03:16 PM by Carlo_The_Bugsmasher_Driver.)
Why don't we ever encounter aliens?
As the universe is just so huge, with billions and billions of galaxies, each containing billions and billions of stars, planets, asteroids, comets, planetoids, moons, and nebulae, it's reasonable to believe somewhere in the universe life exists, possible intelligent and or very advanced intelligent life with advanced space colonization and space faring capabilities, the question arises as to why these forms of life have not been seen crossing the realms of interstellar and intergalactic space. And given the egocentricity of Homo Sapiens, why have they not noticed us?

It's not like humanity has tried to conceal itself from its possible interstellar neighbors. Earth is an extremely bright source of radio waves in the night sky. And to our knowledge, Earth is the only source of artificial radio wave activity in the cosmos. We have hurled massive radio transmissions deep into the cosmos as a calling card with the SETI program, and have sent various mechanical probes to our neighboring planets and beyond the realm of the Kuiper Belt for their departure into interstellar space.

It seems we signal but there's no answer. Where is everybody?
The reasons for not running into aliens very often, quite possible, can be determined by five factors.

1) MATERIALS AND LOCATION: In this we assume that lifeforms will be carbon or silicon based as we are and require liquid water to survive. First, we are going to need locations where water is abundant. Fortunately Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe and Oxygen is a very common byproduct of stars in their Red Supergiant death throes. So water is very common throughout both our own solar system and the universe. Next we need locations where liquid water is very common. This can be achieved either on a planet or moon which is at a correct distance from the star it orbits to facilitate liquid water on the surface of the planet or has subterranean liquid water kept in that state by geothermal means (e.g. Jupiter's moon Callisto). So out of the billions and billions of solar systems out there, we need planets with liquid water, not too far or not too close to the star they orbit or with a source of strong geothermal energy that can last a great deal of time.

2) ENERGY: Life needs a constant supply of energy to sustain itself. On Earth, life is almost entirely solar powered, relying on the energy of the sun to power the biospehere through a complex of solar food factories, food chains and vital gas exchange. Stars are excellent energy sources. The hydrogen they have amassed from local dust clouds provides enough fuel for several billion years of thermonuclear fusion, if not more. The energy output for most mid range stars is uniform and constant - relatively, which provides a steady, unwavering supply to sustain budding life and ecosystems for the eons until they become sufficiently advanced enough to fend for themselves. But stars do present hazards to a thing as fragile as life. The stellar furnaces pump out gargantuan amounts of X-rays, radioactive particles, plasma solar flares, and energetic emissions. Also large stars run the risk of going supernova. And blue supergiants and hypergiants near the planet or in neighboring star systems have so much mass, they may form a quantum singularity (black hole) in its core, consuming and destroying itself in a few seconds in a gargantuan hypernova thermonuclear explosion. Clearly life needs an energy source which will not do this and must not be nearby solar systems with such stars. Only mid-range stars will suffice for this role. So we need only planets in the right spots with liquid water and stars in the mid range with no large solar threats looming in nearby star systems. So this narrows the field a bit as well.

3) TIME: Provided all the necessary materials exist on the planet in question, it takes a great deal of time for original abiogenesis and evolution to ply their trades and produce living organisms. On earth, life is believed to have existed for approx 3 billion years prior to our arrival. If we could shrink all of life's history down to 1 year in length, where 12:00:00.00am, January 1 represents the point at which living things emerged and 11:59:59.99pm, December 31 is present date, we enter the picture very, very, very late. Bacteria appear somewhere at March 1, single celled Eukaryotes appear sometime around June 25. Autumn is spent largely with the development of basic multicellular eukaryotic organisms like slime molds, sponges, hydra, and cnidaria. The Cambrian Explosion takes place on November 18. The dinosaurs were wiped out on December 24. Mammals begin their rise to prominence on December 27. Homo Sapiens comes into being on 11:42:48pm, December 31. Our ancestors settled in the fertile crescent of Mesopotamia and developed agriculture on 11:58:45.88pm, December 31. Christ was crucified on 11:59:39.99, December 31. The Renaissance happened on 11:59:54.75, December 31. Humans walked on the moon on 11:59:59.55pm, December 31.

If we say that this is a typical length of time for lifeforms to have traveled from proto-organisms to very advanced, sapient multi-cellular creatures on the precipice of major space faring capabilities, then we could say that this is that any planet capable of life must have a stable environment with a mid range star capable of supplying constant energy and liquid water for this length of time. A planet has only a few billion years for all this to come together before the star it orbits burns out in a red giant finale, taking the planet and everything on it with it. If there are delays in the evolutionary process, it may leave too little time remaining before the end for evolution to produce a sentient species capable of space travel. All this effort would be for naught.

4) INTERNAL HURDLES TO PROGRESS: OK, so lets assume an alien species reaches this point where its ready to begin space travel. It still may face a series of internal social hurdles e.g. dogmatic beliefs, social taboos, and a lack of motiviation to explore. There may be internal strife (e.g. a global nuclear or anti-matter weapon exchange) that ruins the ecosystems and decimates the species or utterly destroys it altogether. Biological threats, like a global pandemic, might kill off the species. Cosmic events such as an impact by very large asteroids or comets may end advanced life here as well.

5) THE LIMITATIONS IMPOSED BY PHYSICS:
Even if our aliens are now sufficiently advanced technologically, they must now develop a means of space travel that allow them to travel the vast distances to other planets and stars. In the space time continuum, we have an imposed maximum speed limit of 186,000 miles/second. The problem is, even if you can get to that speed, it still takes several months to several years to reach nearby stars. Galaxies can be hundreds of thousands of light years in diameter. And galaxies can be separated by millions - or billions - of light years. Clearly some kind of propulsion system must be developed which can do this successfully, in a short period of time, and is not affected by the penalties of time dialation (as you go faster, time, at least for you, slows down.). Another problem is that any kind of light or radiation which would allow us to detect an alien race on another star system thousands of light years away will take thousands of years to reach us. There may be many alien cultures like us, sending messages into space. But like a message in a bottle bobbing in a vast ocean it will not arrive at its destination for many, many years to come. Even if it is possible to build some kind of machine for travel (e.g a tesseract machine, hyper-drive, etc.), the energy penalties imposed by such devices may be so large that they are impractical to use. So space travel past our own solar system may never be possible in short periods.

So we need a planet in the right place from a stable medium sized star, with liquid water, and enough time undisturbed so it can produce advanced lifeforms which can send messages or ships into space, before they die from a plague or blow themselves to hell with nukes or their suns burn out and their lives end before they make contact with us. This may be very rare, indeed. If this is true, then we will be, quite possibly, forever alone in the universe and truly unique creatures. It should give us great pause, when pondering this, to consider how we treat our world and ourselves.

"IN THRUST WE TRUST"

"We were conservative Jews and that meant we obeyed God's Commandments until His rules became a royal pain in the ass."

- Joel Chastnoff, The 188th Crybaby Brigade
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Carlo_The_Bugsmasher_Driver's post
30-05-2012, 03:34 PM
RE: Why don't we ever encounter aliens?
But we do encounter aliens all the time. The History Channel says so.

It was just a fucking apple man, we're sorry okay? Please stop the madness Laugh out load
~Izel
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 5 users Like Erxomai's post
30-05-2012, 06:23 PM
RE: Why don't we ever encounter aliens?
Any aliens coming to this planet would want their heads read.

As George Bernard Shaw once said......' If reincarnation is a fact we must be the cosmic lunatic asylum' Unsure
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Mr Woof's post
30-05-2012, 07:04 PM
RE: Why don't we ever encounter aliens?
Nice post, Carlo.

It's sorta like a super-extended version of the Drake Equation Smile (which I think in recent times has been updated)

I think if life is extremely rare that's it's an awful waste of space Unsure

Humankind Dodgy (a total misnomer)
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes aurora's post
30-05-2012, 07:07 PM (This post was last modified: 30-05-2012 08:29 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Why don't we ever encounter aliens?
The (Frank) Drake equation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drake_equation
The Drake equation states that:
[Image: 92df3d5260eaca523ca8bcfd474d3aaa.png]
N = the number of civilizations in our galaxy with which communication might be possible;
R= the average rate of star formation per year in our galaxy
fp = the fraction of those stars that have planets
ne = the average number of planets that can potentially support life per star that has planets
fℓ = the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop life at some point
fi = the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop intelligent life
fc = the fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence
L = the length of time for which such civilizations release detectable signals into space

Plug in your own numbers, and cook up your own estimate, (link below). Keep in mind, that within the last two years, the number of estimated stars was upped by 2/3 to 600 sextillion, (10 ^ 21). There are an estimated 100,000,000,000 galaxies. So multiply the Drake number by 100 billion.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/space/drake-equation.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bENTuGmw0Sg

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein
Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music - Friedrich Nietzsche
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Bucky Ball's post
30-05-2012, 07:30 PM
RE: Why don't we ever encounter aliens?
(30-05-2012 07:07 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  Plug in your own numbers, and cook up your own estimate, (link below). Keep in mind, that within the last two years, the number of estimated stars was upped by 2/3 to 600 sextillion, (10 ^ 21).
I went to a sextillion once. I forgot to bring a condom so they kicked me out.

It was just a fucking apple man, we're sorry okay? Please stop the madness Laugh out load
~Izel
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 6 users Like Erxomai's post
30-05-2012, 08:01 PM
RE: Why don't we ever encounter aliens?
(30-05-2012 07:30 PM)Erxomai Wrote:  I went to a sextillion once. I forgot to bring a condom so they kicked me out.

Never go out without your rubbers.

You need to join a horological society.
http://www.askmen.com/fashion/fashiontip...ction.html

The "traffic" can be heavy. http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...ity?page=2

Tongue

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein
Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music - Friedrich Nietzsche
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Bucky Ball's post
30-05-2012, 08:29 PM
RE: Why don't we ever encounter aliens?
(30-05-2012 08:01 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  You need to join a horological society.
http://www.askmen.com/fashion/fashiontip...ction.html
I was surprised to learn that people still wear watches. Big Grin

It was just a fucking apple man, we're sorry okay? Please stop the madness Laugh out load
~Izel
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
30-05-2012, 08:43 PM
RE: Why don't we ever encounter aliens?
There's a star man waiting in the sky. He'd like to come and meet us but he thinks he'd blow our minds.

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Hafnof's post
04-06-2012, 08:16 PM
RE: Why don't we ever encounter aliens?
(30-05-2012 02:44 PM)Carlo_The_Bugsmasher_Driver Wrote:  It should give us great pause, when pondering this, to consider how we treat our world and ourselves.

I'm running my neck, drinking Heineken, watching the kids playing Diablo. Tongue

[Image: klingon_zps7e68578a.jpg]
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply
Forum Jump: