Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Unknown

How can we account for our loneliness in this world? We have estimated the age of our galaxy to be around ten thousand million years. Enrico Fermi, an Italian physicist who lived during the first half of the 20th century, asked the question: “Where is everybody?” Fermi realized that, given the age of the galaxy, life should be present all around it. So how come we are struggling to just find a glimpse of life? There are three possible answers to this question: aliens exist and do interact with us, aliens exist but have not gotten in contact, or they do not exist (anymore).

Given the age of the universe, I personally find the first and third answers to be the most likely. If we were able to reach the level of technology we are currently at in such a (relatively) short time, it should be likely that some other race has reached a level similar to ours, if not have surpassed it. If this is the case, then perhaps they have already found us. If they have already found us, why do we not know? There are so many potential explanations for this situation. Perhaps they were the ones who colonized us. What if instead, the universe was stuck in an endless cycle? Each race of people on a planet would advance to a certain point. At this point, either the people destroy themselves or they destroy their planet. When this occurs, a group of people are sent out to colonize a new planet; a new planet in which the existence of the old planet is wiped away from history. Or what if we are basically just a farm? A concept similar to the one shown in the 2015 movie, Jupiter Ascending, could be in play here. Our planet is left to grow until it reaches a certain point, and then we are culled (this could be the reason for the extinction of dinosaurs as well).

On the other hand, it could be possible that the aliens just cannot reach us, because they are not technologically advanced enough, or we did not develop in the similar ways, so we cannot understand each other. There are many possible ways to communicate. It is possible that aliens have been sending out signals as well; we just cannot understand or receive these signals. It is also possible that no race has been able to reach the point of communication because they were beset with a catastrophe and were wiped out first. However, there previous existence, as of now, cannot be proved. Finally, there is the frightening prospect that we are the only ones living in this universe. At this point, we would either be the only surviving race or the first living, technologically advanced race. Each and every one of these possibilities is plausible, but there are also problems with each. We have yet to find solid proof for any of these possibilities. As a result, we are still stuck in the unknown.

- Stephanie Bao