Read More: Futurism
We have accomplished a lot in our (relatively) short time on Earth. We’ve sent humans to the Moon and to live in space, developed massive and sophisticated telescopes to see the farthest reaches of the cosmos, and even rocketed rovers to Mars and probes to the edge of our solar system. However, a number of organizations have taken humanity’s voyage into the final frontier a step farther. NASA, the European Space Agency, and the research collective behind the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) have been working tirelessly to find out if we are alone, once and for all. Already, a number of projects exist that scan the stars for signs of intelligent life. And despite the fact that many of them have been looking to the skies for decades, we have yet to make contact. And that’s a bit of a problem. The Paradox That Started It All To put it mildly, our solar system is very old. In fact, scientists are still figuring out just how old — clues gathered from meteorites suggest it is almost 5 billion years old, and surrounding star systems are likely billions of years older. While interstellar travel still seems to be a distant dream, new technology is born every year that allows us to scan the skies for signals from civilizations in the most distant corners of the cosmos. The number of known alien worlds and star systems discovered through these technologies continues to rise, but our creative methods of listening to space have not yet revealed anything that resembles extraterrestrial communications or civilizations. Given the size and age of our universe, it seems like we should have made contact. We, of course, have not. In the early 20th century, physicist Enrico Fermi asked himself a now-famous question: Given the scope of our universe, why haven’t we found intelligent extraterrestrial life yet (or why haven’t they found us)? This is sometimes called the Fermi Paradox or the Great Silence. Scientists have floated many possible answers in the century since Fermi first asked this question. Here are some of the most plausible reasons why he haven’t made first contact.