Today’s Top Space Headline: “Alien Civilizations May Not Be Technologically Advanced”

 
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"Perhaps Earth was lucky to see technology arise (in the spirit of the novel Origin by Dan Brown)," observes Avi Loeb, chair of the astronomy department at Harvard University, founding director of Harvard's Black Hole Initiative and director of the Institute for Theory and Computation at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. He also chairs the advisory board for the Breakthrough Starshot project. The image above shows the finale of the Cassini Mission spacecraft.


As we discover numerous habitable planets around other stars in the Milky Way galaxy, including the nearest star, Proxima Centauri, one cannot help but wonder why we have not yet detected evidence for an alien civilization. As the physicist Enrico Fermi asked, “Where is everybody?” Even though the first interstellar object to be discovered in the solar system, 'Oumuamua, had an unusually elongated shape as might be expected from an alien probe, it does not appear to maneuver and is radio-quiet below the level of a single cell phone.

 

True, a signal from an alien civilization might be subtle or sophisticated, but the disappointing silence of the sky may also indicate that long-lasting extrastellar civilizations do not use technologies that would make them visible to our telescopes, writes Loeb, in Scientific American

Based on our own experience, we expect that civilizations much older than ours will be scientifically savvy and hence technologically advanced. But it is also possible that a simpler lifestyle rather than scientific prosperity has dominated the political landscape on other planets, leading to old civilizations that are nevertheless technologically primitive.

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