Could Humans Handle An Alien Invasion in 2099?
by, 04-12-2012 at 10:23 PM (708 Views)
Senior Space 2099 Member al-feersum mentioned on the forums that:
Something that's been bugging me for some time is the likelihood that we, as a species, would ever encounter aliens with advanced technology.
There are so many people claiming CE3-6, yet before Lowell misinterpreted Schiaparelli's maps and Wells wrote 'War of the Worlds', there were no aliens. And after WWII and the various 'mysterious sightings' from pilots, and the subsequent events of the 'Roswell Incident', aliens appear to be visiting us every damned day.
But lets look at the science.
The Drake Equation attempts to identify how many technologically advanced civilisations that are willing to communicate could exist. The formula is based on the number of stars in any given galaxy, the number of planets etc.
Based on current ideology, and pessimistic but realistic figures, i.e. advanced life is rare, then we could be potentially alone in the galaxy. Slightly more optimistic, there could be just two other civilisations in the whole galaxy willing and able to communicate. Someone who wants to see life in our galaxy could argue. That's great - we can do the maths and say 'Yeah! It's probable that there are other civilisations out there! We could meet 'em!'
But all this pales into insignificance when we consider the Fermi Paradox, which effectively states: 'if there are all those intelligent species out there, then why haven't we seen them?'
So... whilst I personally wouldn't suggest that we are 'alone' in the galaxy, I would suggest that technologically advanced life is incredibly rare.
Here's a look at the math as Originally Posted by 'pedia
...making some more optimistic assumptions, assuming that planets are common, life always arises when planets are favorable, 10% of civilizations become willing and able to communicate, and then spread through their local star systems for 100,000 years (a very short period in geologic time):
R* = 20/year, fp = 0.5, ne = 2, fl = 1, fi = 0.1, fc = 0.1, and L = 100,000 years
N = 20 × 0.5 × 2 × 1 × 0.1 × 0.1 × 100,000 = 20,000
(there are quite a few civilizations, and the closest one would be about 350 light years away based on N/R^2=1/r^2 where R is the radius on the galaxy and 1/r^2 is the average area that contains one galaxy).
Another senior member mlindroo chimes in:
This is yet another reason why Space:2099 requires a network of wormholes (or similar) created by some Mysterious Unseen Force for a purpose. It does not matter if the nearest ETs are billions of light years away in that case. All the interesting places of the universe would be deliberately interconnected in that case.
One interesting by-product of the Fermi Paradox seems to be that any extraterrestrial civilization encountered by man ought to be fantastically advanced as it most likely has existed for millions of years. Archaeological remains of dead civilizations may be more common.
Arthur C Clarke explored both concepts in "2001 A Space Odyssey." Another interesting idea is moderately advanced civilizations such as ours could represent just a fleeting transitional stage...we will either destroy ourselves (see THE TESTAMENT OF ARKADIA) or rapidly evolve into something beyond comprehension to modern man.DISCUSS: So what are we to make over the definition of intelligent life? Are we too limited by our own world to envision a comprehensive understanding of alien life forms, or perhaps is our definition of "space" and "alien life" lacking enough specificity?
Is space a physical border that divides the Earth's elements with that of the rest of the galaxy or is it simply an artificial construct that allows us to ignore possibilities that could distract us from our daily tasks on Earth?
If Space 2099 were to focus on exploring human interactions with different species, would that tell us more or less about who we are as humans?