Are there alien civilizations out there? — Sorry this video is no longer available
Sorry the above video is no longer available; and the author has been unable to find a satisfactory substitute video.
In reality, we have hardly begun to explore our galaxy for intelligent life… the stars are simply too numerous and many are hidden by the mass or our own galaxies stars, dust and gas as we orbit on one of its edges.
Take a moment to check out how big our universe really is
Shortened link to this video: Take a moment to check out how big our universe really is [music, astronomy pictures]: http://youtu.be/jhEBKr7rV18
Criticism of how we have been trying to detect intelligent alien races
There has been some criticism about how SETI is carrying out the search for alien civilizations. It would be reasonable to assume that an alien civilization would reveal itself through the advance technology they possess. In particular they would reveal themselves by the power sources they might make use of.
Scientists however are not ignoring this (even if it is not on SETI’s to do list) with one article hinting at the burning of strange matter might occur in advanced alien technologies. I assume if the aliens used this technology, it would have a unique signature that our civilization might easily pick up from the rest of the universe since strange matter burning is not common in today’s universe.
As mentioned below, an alien race colonizing our galaxy could take thousands of years to reach us if they expanded across the galaxy at close to the speed of light (a very likely expansion scenario) and their energy producing devices could not only be numerous, unusual and exotic, but could generate huge amounts of energy. These energy use signals might easily be detected across an entire galaxy and possibly from other galaxies as well!
Most power producing devices produce a signal of some sort as does the transportation of energy from one place to another.
Will an intelligent alien civilization harm us?
Anyone who has played a computer game where your race tries to invade a star-field gets the idea of how a rapidly expanding alien race would treat the earth. While you might assume that it would be to destroy us, in reality it’s quite likely they will ignore us because our solar system is not significant to their plans.
To a normal person it is hard to imagine the huge numbers of stars in our galaxy or how massive an expansion fleet expanding across our galaxy might be. To put it simply, we would find them a unstoppable tide should they take a interest in us. We also could not hide from them they would be expanding like a huge spherical wave rather then in a single ship like we might imagine captain kirk might do.
Our galaxy contains around 200,000,000,000 stars based on wolfram-alpha calculations. It is theorized that a galactic civilization would expand in a spherical pattern at close to the speed of light or faster (if possible). Our galaxy is around 100, 000 light years across according to wolfram-alpha, so it could take thousands of years to reach us if an intelligent alien race started to colonize the galaxy right now.
It is said that alien civilizations could have lived and died before humans came on the scene. I don’t think a galactic civilization would disappear so easily. When it reached us, it would have easily colonized over 100,000 (but most likely many more) star systems. To us they would be an unstoppable force that sweep through our system in 8 days or more (the diameter of Sedna’s orbit is 182.6 light hours). It would be up to the alien race as to what our fate is. If it is to harm us, then the best we could hope for is to delay them as their total star-ship fleet size or transport system would defy our imagination.
Thus for the case of a rapidly expanding alien race, the talk about if an alien will be friendly is just blind hope. There is no need for them to take us into consideration as we will be insignificant to them. My guess is that they will ignore us, treat us as a spectacle or zone our system as a sort of protected galactic park. By not engaging in conflict with us they can avoid resource waste and expand faster. They may also have left behind the conflict based thinking that we currently have in our world.
Fear mongers have suggested not contacting intelligent alien races
Given the above discussion, if alien civilization are coming this way, we can do little about it.
Some fiction novels have suggested earth is something special and aliens would travel millions of light years to get their tentacles and claws on it.
We are now finding that planets are a lot more common than we thought (around 4.6 billion planets in our galaxy).
I doubt that an alien civilization would invest huge amounts of time and energy into space travel and colonization if our earth were the only good place to go. Our own calculations indicate that colonizing another world like our own would only reduce population pressures for one generation or the time it takes for our population to double once rather than the thousands of years it took us to grow our population on earth. Since this is not the case anyway, I think this scenario is pure fiction.
If that is not enough, some on earth are going ahead and actively trying to contact alien civilizations.
If you are interested, there is also an organization called CETI that is actively trying to communicate with aliens.
At the very worst, contacting a rapidly expanding galactic civilization would give us some idea as to their intentions toward us and that can’t be a bad thing. They will come our way regardless of how we feel because on the scale of our galaxy, our star-system is insignificant and no barrier to expansion to the other 200,000,000,000 star systems!
Will an intelligent civilization expand across the galaxy
One odd theory suggest that it is unlikely that two intelligent civilizations would exist at the same time. I strongly disagree with this statement (I suspect there are around 680,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 Intelligent Alien civilizations in the universe)
Some have suggested that travel between the stars is impossible or at least extremely slow. That is a very bold statement given our current level of technology and understanding of the universe. I have been conservative here in assuming in general that travel at speed faster than light is impossible as is the cross over into other universes that are said to exist in parallel to our universe.
Others have suggested that we have not heard from an intelligent civilization because all intelligent civilization tend to destroy themselves if our violent history is anything to go by.
Others suggest that advanced civilizations destroy themselves as they open the equivalent of a Pandora’s box of dangerous futuristic technology. The current fear for example is that CERN will create a world killing particle that devours the earth. In the past and even now we have feared the possibility of world-wide nuclear war. With this scenario we could believe that some advanced civilization has already doomed our entire universe and we are simply awaiting it’s effects to reach us.
I don’t think doom day scenarios of self-destruction or words like impossible are useful in long-term planing.
We would expand across the galaxy if we could simply because it is in our nature. I know I would consider it and certainly our science fiction stories assume that the human race will expand across our universe. We can only assume that an intelligent alien race would not hesitate to expand across the galaxy if the technology were there to permit it.
It’s very possible that some alien race out there is expanding across our galaxy and/or most of the other numerous other galaxies.
Shortened link to article:
- Is There Alien Civilizations Out There Somewhere In The Universe? http://bit.ly/denayj, http://pear.ly/QbM1