Archive for July 13th, 2012

July 13, 2012

Fermi Paradox

The Descent of Man by SMBC

Fermi’s paradox asks why, given the age and size of the universe, we have not detected any other alien civilizations. Unless the Earth is very atypical, extraterrestrial life should be common. In an informal discussion in 1950, Italian American physicist Enrico Fermi questioned why, if a multitude of advanced extraterrestrial civilizations exists in the Milky Way galaxy, evidence such as spacecraft or probes is not seen.

Another common name for the phenomenon is silentium universi (‘the silence of the universe’). There have been attempts to resolve the paradox by locating evidence of extraterrestrial civilizations (e.g. SETI), along with proposals that such life could exist without human knowledge. Counterarguments suggest that intelligent extraterrestrial life does not exist or occurs so rarely or briefly that humans will never make contact with it.

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