Space, Time, and Everything.
Where do WE and other intelligence’s fit into everything?
As there are no deities to fear or love, to tell us who to hate and why, or to have pissing contests with rival deities. What we are left with is the study of the Real. This is called Science. Science is a methodology, not a thing. It has self-correction mechanisms built in that gives it its power and the reason why it is confused by some. For some reason which is beyond me, to some people, Science is a stranger or at best an acquaintance. They were once introduced like a bad first date whom they never called back. I believe that each and every one of us has the innate ability to understand science. Science is not your intellectual bad first date but an old familiar friend in which you can trust. The kind of trust that is open for forgiveness. Science before it becomes science gets tested through like minds in whatever field is being investigated. Science is what the best minds in the field make of it. A scientific hypothesis is rigorously tested before it becomes a theory. Sometimes a theory has been proven to be less than complete when new better observational technologies come available. That does not make it wrong just because a better more encompassing hypothesis comes along. Science is self-correcting and always moving forward. It is this forward motion that has pulled out of the dark ages of religion and superstition and into the vastness of cosmological intelligences.
It is almost a logical truism that other planets throughout the universe hosted intelligent life long before Earth did. The probability of a civilization developing on a potentially habitable alien planet would have to be less than one in 10 billion trillion — or one part in 10 to the 22nd power — for humanity to be the first technologically advanced species the cosmos has ever known. Those are mighty slim odds. To myself with a fairly good grasp of probabilities I would take that bet that we are not the first, and as an extension that we are not the last.
Science and our powerful tools of enlightenment will lead us gloriously into this pantheon of galactic life. But how do we find it? Do they find us when we are ready? Here are the key pieces of information that you need to assimilate:
- The universe is ancient, nearly 14 billion years old.
- Human intelligence, in an anatomical sense, is pretty old too. Human control and use of fire go back a million years. Don’t think that takes some intellect, then try to do it not using modern matches or lighters.
- Human writing and city-states are recent, under 10,000 years.
- Human technology is more recent still. You pretty much have to date it as starting after the discovery of electromagnetism as almost all of modern technology builds off of that. This is on the order of 200 years old.
- We are now at the point where we are trying to read the gaseous atmospheres of distant worlds using telescopes. We are looking for Oxygen in the atmosphere under the assumption that oxygen reacts so readily that it requires an active pumping system to stay in the air in any appreciable quantities, and under the assumption that it is oxygen in the atmosphere that allows for the energy consuming creatures that we are. This detection is made possible by a concept known as spectroscopy.
- Oxygen began to be detectable in earth’s atmosphere as much as 800 million years ago.
- Our particular planet formed about 4.5 billion years ago but could have formed as much as 9 or 10 billion years ago.
- Despite our continual sense (going back as far into history as anything is written) that we are near some pinnacle of technology, this doesn’t seem to be the case. There’s no indication that technological advances are approaching an impenetrable wall at which we’ll cease to be able to advance.
- Everywhere we look the indications are that earth-like conditions isn’t that rare.
- The sun consumes (wastes) about 2 trillion times as much energy as we here on earth make use of.
- Everywhere we look (mostly) there are other stars burning away, equally wastefully.
- There is one area, about 1 billion light-years across, where there’s a great cold region, a void, an area unexpectedly cold that appears to be one of the largest structures in the universe. and
- There’s very good reason to believe that our on advances in artificial intelligence and robotics will greatly outperform humans in every way within less than a 100 years, and certainly within less than 500.
- There’s a Virgo supercluster of Galaxies with about a 1000 galaxies just 50 million light years away, and beyond that on the other side is a which has an estimated 100,000 galaxies in it, most of which are within 400 million light-years away.
How does this all play out?
The key thing to note is that there is no magic about the time that we decided to become technical as a species. Some other world could have done the same thing as much as 4 billion years sooner if their world had gotten its start in a region of space that was similar enough to ours, only 4 billion years sooner, perhaps in a smaller galaxy that was further from other large galaxies.
So the most unlikely event of all is the one most depicted in science fiction, that these intelligent life forms would be only slightly ahead of us, technologically. The odds are they are either savage animals or billions of years ahead of us.
The next thing to note is that there is no magic timing to the fact that we are just now looking around. If a super-civilization had begun looking around, our Oxygen rich atmosphere would have been noticeable as much as 800 million years ago. If you run your round trip estimates and assume some species with light speed travel, we may have been detectable on some world as much as 400 million light years away in time for them to take off and be arriving here now.
So I think there are 2 possibilities for what we’ll discover in the future, which lead to 3 likely ways we’ll meet up with intelligent life.
- It turns out that the huge waste of stars is not of concern to highly advanced technologies as they’ve acquired some technology that supersedes the efficiency of stars enough to have them not worry about what stars do. In which case the first aliens to take note of us is out there somewhere in the of galaxies. They have probably set up bases somewhere on earth by now and are just monitoring us to see if we are going to remain hostile brutes forever, or will eventually become civilized and worthy of talking to. In which case, the first encounter will be of the form, “Greetings earthlings. It’s about time you came to your senses.”
- Same scenario as in #1 above, but we don’t come to our senses and they realize that we are gaining on the maximum possible technology and might soon rival them in might without having redeeming qualities. So they execute their “red matter” earth destroying plan to wipe us out before we present any risk. It’s important to note for both of these that we are not close in technology, not even remotely close. This isn’t about them noticing our first radio waves. They’ve seen us going back for hundreds of millions of years and had millions of years to watch.
- The voids might turn out to be an indication of growing technological superpowers building every growing sphere in which they shut down their most wasteful stars (maybe leaving some as beacons or markers) so that the energy can be used more efficiently. These voids are just far enough that they might not have detected our oxygen signature yet, and might not for a few hundred million years. Meantime we, by watching the void grow over time, will come to the realization that these are not artificial, but intelligent events.
Science, including astronomy, searches for anomalies. We have calculated deviations and perturbations in solar orbits over light-year distances and created a rather long list of Exoplanets. These exo-addresses will be continuously observed for the presence of water on rocky planets. We theorize that high civilizations will have the radio or electromagnetic emanations radiating from them in complex patterns that should contain some sort of information.
Other possibilities include laser-like or x-ray like emanations that will presumably have information-containing patterns embedded within them. Other possibilities include gravitics or simple light radiation with their attendant embedded information.
We may not find them in our lifetimes or our children’s lifetimes, but we must look. We must never stop the scientific advancement of our tools of specialized vision. Each and every one of us has a need to know who and what we are. This missing piece which we are searching for will give us the information that we need to know what we are, who we are, and more importantly where we are going.
Science is the music of the Universe … Learn how to play.
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