A-lien Sleeps Tonight
Spectating alien life from afar, millions yearn for a life that is right out of an episode of The X Files. However, scientists and theorists have failed to come up with tangible evidence of extraterrestrial existence. Several questions have risen while debating life beyond Earth, some even discussing the possibility of extraterrestrial life ever being visible to humans and the sheer probability of its existence.
The Fermi Paradox is the first tangible lead into this expedition for proof of alien life. It explains how our vision is restricted to just 1% of the entire Milky Way Galaxy. With that in mind, what lies in the hundred billion galaxies of the observable Universe remains a tricky riddle that is yet to be solved. Indisputably, humans are likely not alone in the Universe.
Deriving influence from the Fermi Paradox, researchers at the University of Cádiz think that the lack of evidence is because of something called the Cosmic Gorilla Effect. Based largely on the human tendency of inattentional blindness, this theory states that while witnessing a particularly enrapturing game of basketball, observers might fail to notice a large, conspicuous gorilla casually strolling by. This phenomenon could be deceiving humans while we try to detect non-earthly signals, with them camouflaging into dimensions that we fail to perceive.
Neuro-psychologists have questioned the direction in which scientists have been looking—human minds are built in ways that limit their vision. We often cannot fathom to think beyond the obvious.
Eventually, another question came into being—what if life on other planets ended before leaving behind a detectable trace? Microbial life may very well have existed on several planets in the past. But if the atmosphere would not have been habitable, life forms would stop evolving and would eventually disappear without a trace. This is the Gaian Bottleneck Model.
“Feedback between life and environment may play a dominant role in maintaining the habitability of the few rocky planets where life has been able to evolve,” Dr. Aditya Chopra from the Australian National University Research School of Earth Sciences writes in his paper published in the journal Astrobiology. “When we do start to visit other planets, it’s possible we may find fossil evidence of extinct microbial life,” Chopra continues, “not from multicellular species such as dinosaurs or humanoids that take billions of years to evolve.”
He believes that species evolution is fragile in its first stages, which means it may not be compatible with drastic climatic changes on a planet. Mars and Venus may have been habitable 4 billion years ago, however, because they subsequently became too hot or too cold, they can no longer sustain life.
Other scientists speculate that while extraterrestrial life may exist, we cannot detect their messages since they encrypt their data. Aliens may very well be trying to talk to us, it might just be that we can’t break the code. NASA has even released a book on how we could possibly have a heart-to-heart with E.T.. Instead of focusing on hard data or theoretical science, the book explores anthropological and archaeological perspectives into how we should approach interaction with foreign beings and their cultures.
Extraterrestrial life may very well be around the corner, perhaps waiting for the perfect opportunity to pop over and borrow some sugar. Whether the absence of communication can be attributed to their lack of etiquette, or us trying to read all the wrong signs, is something only time will tell.
Featured Image Courtesy: Youtube/ Kurzgesagt