The paradox raises a fascinating question: Why has no evidence of intelligent life been found if the universe is so vast and old? There are many possible answers to this enigma, but all of them make us reflect on how little we know about the cosmos and our role in it.
Why, if the universe is so big and there are so many galaxies and stars, has no concrete evidence of extraterrestrial life been found? This is where the Fermi paradox comes in, which is an enigma that has remained unsolved for decades and raises a perplexing question about whether we are alone in the universe.
The paradox takes its name from Enrico Fermi, a prominent Italian physicist known for his contributions to various fields of physics. While this person carried out important research in areas such as nuclear structure and the behavior of quantum particles, he was also notable for his ability to make quick estimates based on simple compositions.
What is the Fermi paradox and how did it arise?
The estimates, known as Fermi problems, included questions as varied as the average number of hairs on the head or the number of piano tuners in the city. However, Fermi’s paradox arises in a different context and at a time when he was working on the Manhattan Project, whose goal was the development of the atomic bomb.
In the summer of 1950, Fermi was spending the day with fellow scientists, including Edward Teller, Herbert York, and Emil Konopinski. During the conversation, the topic of the possible existence of extraterrestrial civilizations in our galaxy arose.
Fermi, always passionate about the exploration of the universe, was enthusiastic and began to propose a series of assumptions. He reasoned that, if there are so many extraterrestrial civilizations, then there should be plenty of opportunities for them to have contacted us.
It is estimated that the Milky Way contains around one hundred billion stars, many of them are similar to the Sun, and some are even much older. In many of these star systems, there are likely to be planets with conditions suitable for life.
In this way, the scientist suggested that, given these astronomical figures, It is very likely that some civilizations outside of Earth have had enough time to develop technologically and undertake space travel..
While it is true that these civilizations could not move at speeds faster than light, they would have had plenty of time to reach our planet. Then Fermi asked the question: Where is everybody?
The puzzling contradiction of the Fermi paradox
There are many possible explanations for the Fermi paradox, and among the most common is that it is possible that extraterrestrial life is so rare or so difficult to arise, that there simply are not many civilizations in the universe.
On the other hand, it is also very likely that these civilizations have a tendency to self-destruct before reaching a level of technological development that allows them to travel to outer space. Likewise, also It is proposed that there are beings from other worlds on Earth, but they prefer to remain hidden.
Despite advanced technology for astronomical observation and the continued search for higher intelligence, no concrete evidence of extraterrestrials has yet been found. Of course, there are several reasons for this.
One reason is that the universe is a very big place and habitable planets are difficult to find. Another possibility is that the life may be very different from the life we know on Earth or that they use technologies that we cannot detect, and that they have biology that we cannot recognize.
This enigma has generated a wide range of theories and speculations. Some experts argue that intelligent life is extremely rare in the universe, which would explain our lack of contact. Additionally, others claim that advanced civilizations can self-destruct before they can explore interstellar space.
Fermi’s paradox challenges us to consider the apparent contradiction between the immense size of the cosmos and the absence of evidence of other non-human beings. In any case, there is still a lot we don’t know about what lies outside the galaxy and we may never find evidence answers.