Questing the other-worldly

Updated: Sep 25, 2018

The guide to find your cosmic mates and solution to the Fermi Paradox.

Staring at the scintillating night sky, have you ever wondered if some very distant creature is waving at your favourite star at the exact moment when you’re gazing at it too? Does the thought give you goosebumps? Then you’re at the perfect place, for the next few minutes would be your guiding light to eventually be able to meet your cosmic comrade.

Life on earth is 3.5 billion years old and it has been nearly 14 billion years since the Big Bang. The distance that the universe stretches to, or the number of the solar system-like systems and earth-like planets in this vast sea of gas, dust and stars is beyond our comprehension. Life in the universe has clearly had several chances in time and space to originate, enough to ascertain that your little blue book on space has a loophole when these words jump out of its pages- ‘oh how lucky and special is the blue planet!’

But if the presence of extraterrestrial life is the output of sheer logic, then why is its acknowledgement a thing that hasn’t been accomplished so far? “Where are the aliens?” This is the Fermi Paradox.

Well there are two possibilities: One, the nearest alien species is a very primitive civilisation, incapable of interpreting or noticing the signals or the music (yes!) sent out by us. Or two, our extraterrestrial neighbours are a type 3 civilisation, who have been able to fully exploit the potential of the resources in their local group and possess the abilities to conquer the universe. They might have spotted us already and overlooked our existence because of our insignificance, or they might not have found us yet because of the technological primitiveness of our attempts to reach out to them.

The Voyager message is carried by a phonograph record, a 12-inch gold-plated copper disk containing sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth. It was sent along the Voyager Mission.

Both ways, we need to keep amplifying telescopes in an attempt to obtain faint signs of extraterrestrial life. We’ll have to continue sending clearer and more distinct signals out there to catch their attention. Most importantly, we’ll have to be patient, perseverant, and hopeful.

Before we conclude, there’s yet another aspect of this whole circumstance that we must consider. We might actually be the only ones in this wide yonder of perfection. Sure, life would’ve existed in other parts of the universe before us, and it might exist after we’re gone, but as heartbreaking as it might seem, there might actually be no cosmic pal of ours waving at us from ‘the other side’ at this moment in time. Either way, exploration is the key to find out.

Written by: Bharti Kakkar

Bharti Kakkar is a student from India volunteering for Voyager Space Outreach to write Space/STEM oriented topics.

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