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Still others suggest aliens may have visited in the past, or that they’re avoiding us on purpose, having grown intelligent enough to be suspicious of everyone else.Now comes a paper that rebuts Sagan and Newman, as well as Hart, and offers a new solution to the Fermi paradox that avoids speculation about alien psychology or anthropology.There’s also what Frank calls “the Aurora effect,” after Kim Stanley Robinson’s novel , in which settlers arrive at a habitable planet on which they nonetheless cannot survive.
He and Wright say that now we need to look harder for alien signals, which will be possible in the coming decades as more sophisticated telescopes open their eyes to the panoply of exoplanets and begin glimpsing their atmospheres.
“We are entering an era when we are going to have actual data relevant to life on other planets,” Frank said.
Relative sizes of planets that are in a zone potentially compatible with life: Kepler-22b, Kepler-69c, Kepler-62e, Kepler-62f and Earth (named left to right; except for Earth, these are artists’ renditions). 26, part of a careful robotic approach to exploring the red planet.
But human exploration of Mars will inevitably introduce Earth life.
“This couldn’t be more relevant than in the moment we live.” Seth Shostak, an astronomer at the SETI Institute who has studied the Fermi paradox for decades, thinks it is likely to be explained by something more complex than distance and time — like perception.
It's established Mars was once a planet with surface-level water.So with multiple MARS missions starting next year, the key to seeking out martian life may instead lie in the contents of its 'dust'.As more than a million people have indicated plans to partake in a citizen 'raid' on the famed Area 51 to 'see them aliens,' a scholar on the search for extraterrestrial life weighs in on the hype.“There is lots of time for exponential growth basically leading to every system being settled,” Carroll-Nellenback said.But the fact that no interstellar visitors are here now — what Hart called “Fact A” — does not mean they do not exist, the authors say.While some civilizations might expand and become interstellar, not all of them last forever.On top of that, not every star is a choice destination, and not every planet is habitable.“Stellar motions alone would get you the spread of life on time scales much shorter than the age of the galaxy.” Still, although galaxies can become fully settled fairly quickly, the fact of our loneliness is not necessarily paradoxical: According to simulations by Carroll-Nellenback and his colleagues, natural variability will mean that sometimes galaxies will be settled, but often not — solving Fermi’s quandary.The question of how easy it would be to settle the galaxy has played a central role in attempts to resolve the Fermi paradox.Anders Sandberg, a futurist at the University of Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute who has studied the Fermi paradox, said he thinks spacecraft would spread civilizations more effectively than stellar motions.“But the mixing of stars could be important,” he wrote in an email, “since it is likely to spread both life, through local panspermia” — the spread of life’s chemical precursors — “and intelligence, if it really is hard to travel long distances.” Frank views his and his colleagues’ new paper as SETI-optimistic.