Monday, September 06, 2021

The Fermi Solution


For decades people have talked about the Fermi Paradox. This is simply the theory that if life is abundant in the galaxy, then there should be other sentient lifeforms out there as well. Given that many of the stars are older than the sun, it means that some of those civilizations would be farther advanced, technologically, than ours. Those civilizations should have colonized the galaxy, or, at the very least, visited Earth, according to the theory. Fermi wondered where they were. Why hadn’t they arrived?

Enrico Fermi
Although my recent discussions with Dr. Avi Loeb didn’t deal with the Fermi Paradox directly, I could infer an answer for it from that interview. Loeb was of the opinion that an object that had passed through the Solar System recently was something that was not part of the Solar System. It came from somewhere outside. While it seems that most of science would agree with that assessment, they parted company with his opinion that it was artificial creation.

Given the speed of the object, that is a tiny fraction of the speed of light, it must have been traveling for tens of thousands of years, whether or not it was artificial. The theory is that it would have been guided, repaired, and cared for by AI. That would prove that there is other intelligent life in the galaxy and by extension, in the universe.

However, it is a rather frightening proposition. Oh, not about AI or extraterrestrial intelligence, but that the speed of light is the limiting fact and that it means interstellar travel is, basically, impossible. It suggests that those more technologically advanced civilizations had not found a way to defeat the problems of interstellar travel. It means that they could only launch probes that would travel slower than light. It would mean that worm holes, and warp drive, and gravitationally bending time and space to allow for interstellar flight, while theoretically interesting, were just, well, flights of fantasy.

Dr. Avi Loeb

While such a theory does not eliminate interstellar flight completely, meaning that the civilization that created that artifact had not figured out how to travel among the stars when they launched the object nor does it mean that others haven’t learned how to do it. Actually, it doesn’t mean that the civilization that created the object didn’t have interstellar flight. It could be that the object was launched before they learned the secret. We have sent out probes that are just reaching into the deep space beyond the edges of the Solar System.

But for me this argument is somewhat moot. There have been dozens of UFO reports that suggest interstellar flight is possible. I believe, that had there not been an organized attempt to suppress UFO information that began in July 1947, we might have the untainted evidence that science demands. I can think of many cases in which there are multiple chains of evidence, multiple, independent witnesses, and information gather using instrumentation. UFOs have interacted with the environment, left landing traces, and have been featured in some very good, crisp photographs.

The problem is that no matter how good that evidence, there is someone in authority ready to show us how wrong we are. There are just too many out there who believe that interstellar flight is impossible, therefore alien visitation is impossible, so anything that suggests otherwise is just wrong. The tiniest imperfection in a sighting report is used to prove that the sighting is mundane, even when that imperfection is irrelevant.

Want an example. In the Lubbock Lights case, some reject the photographs because Carl Hart, Jr. didn’t copyright them. The thinking is that he didn’t obtain a copyright because he had faked the pictures. He was told if he did copyright them, then people would think they were faked because he was after the money. To this day, the photographs have not been explained.

All this means is that my solution to the Fermi Paradox is that they have been here, but like those passing a bar because there is a fight in the parking lot, those inside the flying saucers pass us by because there is a fight, a war, always going on somewhere here. Better to drive by than get sucked into the conflict.

Anyway, after talking with Avi Loeb, I had the horrifying thought that the alien probe that flew through the Solar System was telling us that interstellar flight by humans was impossible. But maybe, as Loeb said, it was meant as a monument and shouldn’t be seen as anything more and we shouldn’t deduce the impossibility of interstellar travel. Just thought I would mention it.


Louis Nicholson said...

There is always a lot of discussion about how there may be advanced civilizations on other planets more advanced than us. Has anyone smart like Dr. Loeb seriously discussed whether there may be intelligent life in the universe LESS advanced than us?

Just wondering. . .

starman said...

Flying saucers aren't passing us by; they've been around for 74 years, maybe much longer. Most conflicts have been small scale and they don't have to get sucked into anything.

Paul Young said...

Kevin Randle...The problem is that no matter how good that evidence, there is someone in authority ready to show us how wrong we are.

Or they confiscate the evidence!

Gordon Cooper on the UFO at Edwards AFB 1957...

“I had a camera crew filming the installation when they spotted a saucer. They filmed it as it flew overhead, then hovered, extended three legs as landing gear, and slowly came down to land on a dry lake bed!

“These guys were all pro cameramen, so the picture quality was very good.

“The camera crew managed to get within 20 or 30 yards of it, filming all the time. It was a classic saucer, shiny silver and smooth, about 30 feet across. It was pretty clear it was an alien craft.

“As they approached closer it took off.”

When his camera crew handed over the film, Cooper followed standard procedure and contacted Washington to report the UFO ­ and “all heck broke loose,” he said.

“After a while a high-ranking officer said when the film was developed I was to put it in a pouch and send it to Washington.

“He didn’t say anything about me not looking at the film. That’s what I did when it came back from the lab ­ and it was all there just like the camera crew reported.”

Sounds like compelling evidence to me...but that footage has never seen the light of day.

Ron said...

The good news for your "solution", Kevin, is that ET still thinks us interesting enough to hang around, if not interact with. (I'll assume that's good rather than a scary proposition.) Another theory would be that while FTL propulsion may or may not be feasible, the Great Filter prevents any stellar civilization from developing to the point that FTL travel can be discovered.

Divide all the sci-fi stories we've ever read into two groups: those that contain FTL drive, and those where FTL doesn't exist. The latter still make up some interesting novels. In real life, we can still have great adventures without wormholes and warp drive. Hopefully that would preclude empire building on our part as well as ET's.

Adam S. said...

"There have been dozens of UFO reports that suggest interstellar flight is possible."

In your opinion, which reports specifically suggest this? The majority of the better reports I have read suggest more of a laser or magnetic based propulsion method which would limit the object's flight to our atmosphere. Even some of the so-called mothership accounts can be accounted for terrestrially.

Additionally, you mention the Lubbock Lights photo but I believe it was in your book "The Government UFO Files" that you mention Ruppelt felt the explanation was Fireflies. Is this incorrect (it's been a bit since I read that book so not sure if that is still relevant)?

KRandle said...

Well, no matter what the propulsion system is used in the atmosphere, that these craft use a technology that is not available on Earth would suggest an off world technology. While it is certainly true that the majority of UFO reports are explained in the mundane, it doesn't account for events such as Levelland, and we certainly have to take a longer look at Socorro, given the description of the craft and the humanoids associated with it.

And Ruppelt certainly did suggest fireflies as an explanation for the Lubbock Lights, and even if we accept that explanation, it doesn't account for the photographs because I have never seen fireflies fly in a formation.

Adam S. said...

"these craft use a technology that is not available on Earth.."

Thing is, that statement is a bit inaccurate. I can
say since it is in the public arena that both magnetic (re:maglev) and laser propulsion have been tested with promising results. I believe it was Arthur Kantowitz who first published work on the latter back in the early 70s. So, the technology is there, with some R&D done.

Thanks for confirming about Ruppelt. I haven't seen Fireflies fly in a formation either, so I wonder what his consultants said (or presented evidence) which convinced him of this explanation.

KRandle said...

Adam -

While they are experimenting with that technology today, it did not exist for the Levelland sightings of 1957. If I took a modern fighter back to 1957, it would be a technology that did not exist at that time...

And I could cite the UAP report that mentioned technology that doesn't seem to be Earth-based, by why do that. The point is that some of the observed maneuvers, shapes, and speed do not exist on Earth... which is not to say that there might be mistakes made by the observers.

So, the point remains... the technology of some of the craft is not available on Earth.

Bob Koford said...

About Ruppelt:. In 1952 William Rhodes asked for his photos and negatives back. Ruppelt panicked as the ATIC did not have the originals and he did not know that the 4th AF (Western Air Defense under the Assistant Chief of Staff/Intelligence) had all of it, with complete descriptions of photos, with blow-ups. Why did Ruppelt not know it was all at Hamilton? He was head of Project: Blue Book.