Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Great filter theory: why don't we find extraterrestrial life?

 According to the most recent estimates, the number of stars in the universe reaches the unfathomable number of 700 trillion. Planets revolve around most of them and it is assumed that, in theory, there may be life in many of them. So, from a statistical point of view there must be plenty of advanced civilizations, but so far there is no clear evidence that they exist. If the probability of life in our galaxy's exoplanets were only 0.1%, this means that there would be one million planets with life. So where are the aliens and why are we not in contact with them?

 There is probably something that prevents the emergence of an intelligent life that can somehow manifest. 'Big filter' is the name of the theory that tries to find an explanation for this," said Miller, professor of economics at Smith College in Massachusetts, USA. "It could be that all civilizations in the universe are destined to disappear," explained the scientist. 

 The concept of the "great filter" emerged in 1996 and advocates the idea that there is a barrier that prevents technically advanced civilizations from colonizing the universe. Everything can be very simple: life doesn't appear at all on other planets, or it does, but it doesn't develop to a sufficiently intelligent state. The most dire scenario is whether numerous advanced civilizations have emerged on different planets over the years. "Civilizations that learned how to do calculus, that landed on their moons, but then something happened that didn't allow them to go any further," Miller said. "In that case, perhaps we too are doomed to disappear," he suggested.

If civilizations like ours were something common, we would have received some evidence of it, the only explanation is that something caused them to disappear. If we found any evidence of the existence of extinct extraterrestrial civilizations, it would be bad news for us Earth dwellers. That would mean that we too are doomed to perish," Miller explained. The inevitable obstacle facing civilizations could be the destruction of nature, nuclear war or something else, explained the writer. However, according to Miller, Earth has a small advantage because of the age of our planet. It is estimated that the age of our universe is 13.8 billion years, but our sun only appeared 4.6 billion years ago. 

 If the 'great filter' has really destroyed most of the other civilizations that have existed before our own, we have an advantage in any case. If we were born in the early stages of the universe's development, it wouldn't be all that surprising that we were alone. But our civilization emerged relatively late, so it's strange that we haven't found evidence of extraterrestrial life," Miller stressed. According to the scientist, this is why we have compelling reasons to invest more in astronomy and in the search for extinct civilizations. If it turns out that there were other civilizations that died, we can find out why they died out and avoid such consequences with our civilization.

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