Why has humanity never been visited by aliens (that we know of)? The question has confounded scientists for decades, but two researchers have come up with a possible — and disturbing — explanation: Advanced civilizations could be doomed to either stagnate or die before they get the chance.
The new hypothesis suggests that, as space-faring civilizations grow in scale and technological development, they eventually reach a crisis point where innovation no longer keeps up with the demand for energy. What comes next is collapse. The only alternative path is to reject a model of “unyielding growth” in favor of maintaining equilibrium, but at the cost of a civilization’s ability to expand across the stars, the researchers said.
The argument, published on May 4 in the journal Royal Society Open Science, attempts to find a resolution to the Fermi Paradox. Taking its name from the casual lunchtime musings of Nobel Prize-winning physicist Enrico Fermi, the paradox draws attention to the contradiction between the immense scope and age of the universe — two things that suggest the universe should be teeming with advanced alien life — and the lack of evidence that extraterrestrials exist anywhere in sight. “So where is everybody?” Fermi is thought to have remarked.
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