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The billion year gap


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A powerpoint I did for a speech in an astrobiology course.

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The billion year gap

  1. 1. Sam Kiesinger – Astronomy 310
  2. 2. If there is other intelligent life in the universe,why haven’t we seen clear evidence of it yet? The Fermi Paradox Enrico Fermi - 1950
  3. 3.  200 billion stars in the milky way Anywhere from 100 to 500 billion galaxies Life chemicals are not “unique” to our solar system Terrestrial planets while not as common as Jovian do not appear to be “exceptionally rare”
  4. 4. Statistically intelligent life should exist somewhere in our universe Why haven’t we heard from it?
  5. 5.  Intelligent life might be so rare and sparsely distributed we might as well be alone Intelligent life might self-destruct thanks to survival of the fittest instinct Destructive natural phenomenon may wipe out life. Impacts, super novae, etc. There are too many paths to the argument “we are alone” to cover
  6. 6. We got here late
  7. 7.  Median age of terrestrial planets is 1.8 GA greater than earth If evolution remotely resembled earth’s there may be civilizations 1.8 GA older than ours
  8. 8.  The oldest art is around 35,000 years old The advances between then and 1900 were astonishing Due to the exponential growth of technology 1900 to 2000 accomplished more than the previous 35,000(powered flight to landing on the moon in 66 years) The next 100 years will accomplish more still
  9. 9.  35,000 years is 0.0000175% of 2 GA To visualize this stack 5 pennies next to the Empire State Building. That’s how far along this timescale we are Not to scale
  10. 10.  Despite natural or intelligence-made disasters as long as a viable genetic group remains they have time to bounce back and overtake us many times over. Their technology and even existence today may be far beyond our current comprehension of the physical universe “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” -Arthur C. Clarke
  11. 11.  Much of our efforts to listen for intelligence has been radio waves. A technology just under a century old More advanced races may use wholly different technologies for communicating
  12. 12.  Freeman Dyson theorized a race may surround its star with artificial constructs to make total use of the light and heat emitted  GAs of “free” power  Reduce the odds of discovery by other civilizations  Could theoretically create livable space orders of magnitude greater than a planet The search for “Dyson Spheres” and their signatures should be considered as important as radio signals We know this is viable technology, “Space Based Solar” is already being developed by our civilization; that is the
  13. 13.  Planetary formation and evolution did not cease 1.8 GA ago but we may have missed the peak of civilizations developing concurrently with ours We may still find species that we can communicate with and perhaps someday visit but the odds are smaller now if this theory is correct