Finding Life Outside Earth Andrew Mason

Understanding the Fermi Paradox

There are several theories as to why we haven't found life yet. These are all joined together in this paradox. The most common reasons are

  1. We haven't looked long enough. Humans have only been around for a microscopic fraction of the earth's and universe's time
  2. Life is simply exponentially more difficult to develop than previously thought. In this case there is a large filter as a civilization we must get through in order to be able to fully explore the universe.
  3. Finding outside life is self destructive in nature. The most pessimistic outlook suggests that as a civilization gets closer to finding other life it becomes too unstable to live and implodes.

Ultimately the conclusion we must reach as humans is to continue to look further and harder because we are dealing with a paradox meaning it can't truly be solved. The universe is infinite so it doesn't really help us there.

The best hopes for finding life outside the universe:

  1. Finding simple single celled organisms. This doesn't directly deal with the Fermi Paradox or The search for extra-terrestrial intelligence (SETI) but it would go a long way to changing perception on earth.
  2. Looking for water (hopefully liquid), an atmosphere and heat. Microorganisms are able to deal with extreme heat much better than extreme cold.
  3. Discovering more and more earth like planets. New discoveries are happening almost routinely from NASA and SETI.
  4. Developing more advanced technology to study distant planets from our solar system.

Potential Planet catalog in ~25 years:

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