The purpose of this part is to evaluate the probabilities of encountering extraterrestrial civilisations, perhaps more advanced than us, with more accurate estimates for the Drake equation.
All the serious evaluations of this probability stubbornly show that «they» would be numerous, with a much longer evolution than us, so that their presence should be obvious. However we until now detected nothing, even with the most sensitive SETI programs.
This situation is generally named the Fermi Paradox: «If they are so numerous, why don't we see them»?
The actual results of the SETI project seem to disprove a StarWars type civilization. However, SETI is still very far from disproving the existence of smaller civilizations.
These experimental results clearly show that there is an element that we do not understand.
So, this part will review the terms of the Drake equation, factor per factor.
We shall see several possible solutions to the Fermi paradox, without trying to categorize the hypothesis between «reasonable» or not. Just because we have strictly no criteria to determine what is «reasonable» in this area.
My contribution to the Drake formula is to classify its factors according to their nature: astronomical, biological or spiritual. Indeed, these are three totally different areas, involving totally different issues and conclusions.
(Permalink) This chapter addresses the first factor of the Drake equation: the formation of planets, which is the very first condition for life. Since we now have experimental confirmations of the existence of exoplanets, there is little doubt left that at least a fair proportions of stars have some.
But I have another specific reason for this chapter: I do not agree with several current theories (discussion in the linked text):
-the Earth-Moon system resulted from a collision,
-planets spiralling around their sun,
-that planetary orbit resonances would appear after their formation.
To explain why I disagree, we need to discuss the formation of stars and planets.
I did a small simulation (finite elements, one dimension) of an interstellar cloud. It tells an interesting fact: the infalling does not start from the border, but from somewhere between the centre and the border. So that, a significant amount falls later. We shall see that this late fall can play an important role.
A real interstellar cloud has chaotic movements. They tend to all disappear, from friction.
However the global rotation has nothing to brake it. And, from conservation of rotation momentum, as the cloud collapses it will rotate faster and faster.
And at a moment, it rotates so fast that its equator is at orbital speed. At this stage, an equator ringlet will be simply left in orbit. And the proto-star will shrink and shrink, leaving a Saturn-like disk in orbit around it. When the compression ends, we now have a ring system around a star. And each ringlet is necessarily circular, similar to the previous, but on a smaller scale.
We clearly see here that several features of a planetary system are already in place: circular orbits, in the same plane, in a Titus-Bode-like exponential scale. Let us call this disk the primary accretion disk.
With the previous, all the stars should be flat ellipses, with their equator rotating at orbital speed. For real stars, the most common hypothesis is the formation of polar jets, which kinetic energy would evacuate the rotation momentum of the proto-star.
These jets are observed and known as Herbig-Haro objects. The most accepted explanation is a magnetic phenomenon, converting rotation energy into linear energy. See here and here.
The usual explanation of an accretion disk is different of above: matter falling toward the star also gathers in a regular disk, with circular orbits and a Titus-Bode law.
The late fall seen above can do that.
However the late fall is made of clumps arriving from all the directions, and hitting the primary accretion disk. Let us suppose a clump hits the accretion disk, opposite to its rotation. This dan disturb it, and even destroy it.
Few late fall will leave an undisturbed disk, like ours, or like the Trappist star, with circular orbits and a Titus-Bode Law. But a lot of late fall can destroy the disk, making oddities like elliptic or out of plane orbits, contra-rotating ringlets, see «hot Jupiters».
The classical thermal differentiation model explains that the heat of the sun chases out the volatile elements (gases, water) from the closest planets, while farther planets keep their gasses and ice. This model works well for our solar system.
Departures from this model can easily result from the late fall of clumps of matter with very different compositions, including pure ejections of a close supernova.
When the accretion stops, the disk already features all the traits of the future solar system.
And all the ringlets which are to become planets still have a much stronger interaction than today: the ringlets are much larger than a condensed planet, so that they can still encounter, while planets do not. For instance, a proto-Pluto ringlet can pass through a proto-Neptune stream, warping Neptune’s accretion disk, giving it its unique retrograde moon.
I see three very different processes for collapsing a disk into planet-forming ringlets.
Astrodynamic: tgravitation pushes matter in some orbits, and off others.
Convective: The ring is an hydrodynamic object, submitted to gas thermodynamics. And the centre is hot, while the outermost parts are cold. So we shall have convection currents, forming a zonal circulation. This will make some ringlets rotate faster or slower than their orbital speed. With orbital mechanics, this compresses some ringlets and depletes others.
Magnetohydrodynamic, works as with hydrodynamics, but with magnetic forces.
The interesting fact with the convective mechanism breaking the disk into ringlets, is that it involves the whole accretion disk, with all the parts linked and strongly interacting with each other. This can easily cause the resonances found into planetary orbits, like Mercury and Earth.
The unstable solutions are eliminated, by «collision» (mixing) of streams, without catastrophic explosions.
So it is clear now that the movements of the planets are already organized in a stable system where collisions are not likely to happen, and even not orbit shifts.
It is clear that there must be a strong mechanism involving the whole ringlet, as we never find couples of planets on the same orbit.
Even if the ring in its entirety is in weightlessness relative to its star, its different parts are still attracting each other. So, the least irregularity starts a flow toward it, all along the orbit, in a runaway process.
It is the geometric progression often observed in the diameter of planetary orbits. Each of the three processes described above provides with a satisfying explanation to the Titus-Bode law. Small or large departures like Pluto or Hot Jupiters would happen when the disk was damaged by the late fall.
The final compression of a planet plays again all the steps of the formation of a star: accretion disk, with all the oddities leading to irregular moon systems. And the formation of the planets too requires jets, to stop the mad rotation.
This relatively complex model explains very well all the solar systems we know, with a regular Titus-Bode law or without, with composition differences, and probably a lot of other oddities waiting to be discovered.
For scientists, the error was reasoning in terms of orbits for each grain of dust, which leads to hierarchical collisions. But the correct reasoning is in term of a thermodynamic «gas» of dust grains.
A first transition, the quasistatic hydrodynamic compression of a ringlet into a spherical cloud, necessarily leads to an object which is tidally locked, rotating one turn per year, in the same direction as the orbit.
However, when the cloud becomes spherical, this tidal braking stops operating, and the residual rotation will increase again. Here is the explanation of these common properties of planets: rotation axis parallel to the star axis, into the same direction, but faster than the yearly rotation.
The second transition is physico-chemical processes starting to happen into the cloud when it becomes hot enough.
Simulations shown that, in a fully gaseous spherical body, convection occurs under the form of vortexes, which axis is parallel to the rotation axis of the planet.
Without a solid core, we shall have a single tornado on the rotation axis. It can then separate heavier iron grains and gather them into a core, so that differentiation may be started well before the planet becomes liquid or solid! So, when the Earth-Moon system separated, this iron was logically not available to form the Moon. This is one of the possible explanations of the difference between Earth and the Moon.
A third transition would happen at this stage of rapid compression: the proto-Earth will get the shape of a flattened ellipse. This shape being unstable, it will turn into a peanut with two centres compressing separately, forming two distinct objects.
Many planets have moons, evidence that they once rotated much faster than today. If so, their equator should be still at orbital speed. However their today rotation speeds are always ten to hundred times slower. This is a clear evidence that a final process efficiently cancelled most of the remaining rotational speed.
It is likely that this process is magnetic, producing polar jets and braking.
For increasing planet sizes, the peanut process will happen sooner and sooner, relative to the end of the collapse. So this predicts that larger planets have more and more moons, as observed.
Not included in this summary
Not included in this summary, but a lot of them
A practical conclusion of this chapter is that we do not need extraordinary events to explain all the features of planets and orbits. And also, most stars have planets.
We are now fairly sure to have stable planets in the large majority of stars. Let us say from 80%, to 98%.
We are not sure to have planets around double stars. This makes a very conservative value of 0.4 for fp.
(Permalink) Once planets exist in a system, we need to know if there are some with suitable conditions on their surface: temperature, presence of water, of energy, chemical conditions, etc.
Planets were observed around stars with low metallicity, (Kepler-444), so that stars with any age or composition can have some.
Since all main sequence stars have a «Goldilock zone», their size is not relevant. Only Blue and white stars have a short life span. But we can discount them, since they are only 4% .
-Is the reddish light of red stars allowing for photosynthesis? I did the experiment: Cultivating Earth plants in the light of Trappist, and it worked.
Most systems following the Titus-Bode law have a planet in the Goldilock zone.
The few observations show very diverse sizes, often not following the patterns of our system. 0.2 > ne > 0.002.
The magnetic field of a planet is said to protect life from cosmic radiations.
In fact, temperature, water and magnetic field are probably interlinked, so that the contribution of magnetic field is included in the temperature sub-chapter.
It is generally assumed that all rocky planets have a similar composition: silicate rocks, with other elements in smaller proportions. So that this factor should count as one.
We have many water planets in our solar system, but icy. In the Goldilock zone, such a body appears as an ocean planet. If Earth had only three times more water, then there would be no place for human creatures. If Earth had much less water, probably it would not have plate tectonics. 1 > ne > 0.2.
It is very hard to assess any value for this sub-factor. However unsuitable conditions were already counted (thick atmosphere making photosynthesis impossible).
Since on planets with land and forests, the oxygen level is clamped at 20%, finding a peak at this value, even statistically, will immediately give a global and accurate indication of the product of the first terms of the Drake equation, fp, ne and fl.
Their probability largely depends on the place in the galaxy: larger in dense places, smaller in the halo, and intermediate in our position. 1 > ne > 0.1.
These are large volcanic events, climate variations and large meteorite impacts. It is hard to assess a probability, 1 > ne > 0.1.
Multiply all of the partial values found above, we find 0.1 > ne > 0.0000032. But values forbidding life cannot be all together optimistic or pessimistic, since they are independent phenomena. This makes 0.0075 > ne > 0.0002.
These values are true in the halo of our galaxy. They are lower in our vicinity. This makes 0.0075 > x > 0.00002 in our vicinity.
Multiplied with the latest results of the previous chapter on fp, this makes 0.003 > ne > 0.00008 for our neighbouring and 0.0008 for the galaxy halo.
Translated in terms of distance, this makes our closest neighbour between 30 and 100 light years.
Note: this s about planets capable of hosting a civilisation. Planets with only bacteria could be much more numerous.
(Permalink) This chapter seeks to determine the probability of life to actually appear a planet with suitable conditions for life. The next will seek to determine the probability that this like evolves to a civilisation, but the two studies are somewhat interlinked.
On Earth, 600 million years were needed to create the DNA, leading to the first procariote bacteria. This era is called the Hadean age.
There are today several scientific theories on the appearance of life. The main theory is that organic matter accumulated into the oceans.
Stanley Miller-like experiments including phospholipids showed that they can form liposomes, which may contain some of the varied molecules of the surrounding water. If a self-catalyst molecule appears at random, producing a better membrane, then one liposome becomes more stable than the others. So it can «reproduce», with a natural selection process, forming self-catalyst systems. So we get something resembling a bacteria, but still without DNA.
DNA appeared after, most probably in a multi-steps process:
- Catalytic molecules including nucleic acids
- RNA existing as many short free floating strands, expressing more or less at random.
- Last step being probably passing from RNA with two codons to DNA with three codons.
Once DNA exists, it seems to evolve naturally into a rich ecosystem with more and more complex and varied beings:
-First DNA bacteria 3.9 billions years ago
-first photosynthesis, 3.5 billions years ago
-Eucaryotes about 2 to 2.7 billions years ago,
-Multicellular beings about 1.5 billions years ago.
-Nervous system, about 500 millions years ago
-Intelligence some hundred thousands years ago.
What is striking with these dates is the huge times needed for each step to happen.
One of the challenges of the evolution of life is that star's heat output increases as they age. Fortunately there is a regulation of temperature by greenhouse effect with the carbon dioxide reacting with carbonates. So that, when statistics on the temperature of planets will be available, we may find an excess of Earth-like temperatures.
As our neurones need a lot of oxygen, then oxygen produced by plants is an indispensable factor for the appearance of consciousness, intelligence, technology, spirituality.
Problem, on Earth, high enough oxygen appeared only 600 millions years ago!
This makes two chains of conditions for civilisation to happen:
- The evolution of life itself
- The modification of the planet toward more suitable conditions (oxygen, clean water, food, climate regulation...).
Then civilisations can appear only when both chains of conditions come to a suitable state.
It was often said that, during the Hadean age, the 600 millions years after the formation of Earth, the surface was molten lava.
Simple considerations show that the Earth of the Hadean age quickly took its today appearance of a cool oceanic planet, with basaltic volcanoes here and there.
The oldest known minerals found to date are zircones 4.35 billions years old, in granites which form from subduction magmas, themselves forming from water soaked ocean silts, just like today.
So the date of the oldest rocks known today (4.35 billions years) does not mark the solidification of Earth crust, which occurred much sooner.
The interesting conclusion of this is that nearby the entire 600 millions years of the Hadean were available for the evolution of life from raw matter to DNA cells.
We can assess now the 4th factor fl (fraction of suitable planets where life actually appears). The value is quite close to 1, since, once the conditions are gathered, the chemical processes which lead to primitive cells seems mandatory. And it happens in a relatively short time (Less than 600 millions years on Earth).
(Permalink) Now that we have life, this chapter seeks to determine the probability of this life to evolve toward civilization.
We note that huge delays were necessary for some steps of the evolution of life. This is, of course, because the necessary mutations have very little chances to happen. This series of very unlikely mutations induced many to think that we just were extremely lucky, like winning many times in a row to the lottery, and that intelligent life would be rare. I say that, on the contrary, these mutations were mandatory, mechanically bound to happen, and in about the same sequence and delays in any other planet with suitable conditions. And I demonstrate this, in this chapter, thanks to a biological model of evolution that we have at home.
This model is not pleasant, but it is very pertinent for our analysis: the evolution of a cancer.
Indeed, to become dangerous, a cancer has to pass through several mutations. If we summarise a lot, if a given mutation has one chance in a billion to happen, we think that it will never happen. Right on the contrary, this mutation becomes mandatory, once the tumour has more than a billion cells.
This is how cancers evolve, mutation per mutation.
This is just standard probability laws, applied to the natural selection process.
My point is that the evolution of life on a planet obeys to very similar statistical laws.
The interesting conclusion of this model is that we can bring the delays needed for the different steps of evolution to a probability for this step to take place. So that all the events which actually happened on Earth were forced to happen, and within the observed delays. And they will do the same on other planets.
I think we can complete the Darwinian theory of evolution with this principle: any event will happen, even very improbable ones. It is just a matter of enough time.
This is why, Evolution on Earth advanced at a relatively regular pace.
The longest step, from monocellular to pluricellular life, was loger because it needed several invisible steps.
The evolution-selection process transforms a very unlikely series of events into a mandatory series of events, leading to mandatory results.
So, not only civilisation appears on all the planets with suitable conditions, but in more it does so in similar timeline.
These statistic considerations show that Earth is very far of being an exception, or even a very lucky case.
The 5th factor fi is the fraction of planets with life, where intelligence appears.
The conclusion of this analysis of Evolution is that intelligence is bound to appear. However this step takes a lot of time. Practical conclusion is that we can start to search for intelligent life in systems older than 3 billions years.
So that I do a rough estimate: fi= 0.5 (1 in the halo)
(Permalink) The probability of the appearance of intelligent beings able of a civilization was evaluated in the previous chapters, about astronomy and biology factors. Time is now to see how many time a civilisation can last, and how it evolves.
The traditional Drake equation considers two factors:
fc, the fraction of the previous able of emitting radio signals (or laser signals)
L, the average duration of a civilisation, in years.
Today we have two views:
Masochist: some want all civilizations to blow up themselves, so that we cannot find any.
Naive: others want a perpetual technological progress. But if so, they would have visited Earths billions years ago.
I say that both hypothesis are wrong, the pessimistic and the naive as well, as none accounts with spirituality.
How spirituality enters in the Drake equation is very simple: spirituality allows people for psychoeducation: the mastery of ego and neurosis. Such a faculty is precisely what will allow for a civilisation to last, by mastering and eradicating dangerous or irresponsible behaviours. So that, with psychoeducation, the L factor can be billions years. But without psychoeducation, it can be as low as some tens of years.
But there is another consequence: spiritual civilisations may choose to take very different directions than the above naive scenario. They may abandon technology, or even not pass through this step. If so, L could be very high, but fc very low.
This is why I warned from the beginning of this study: developing psychoeducation is THE crucial question. And it may also be also the key for understanding the whole problem of the Fermi Paradox: If civilisations are so numerous, why... aren't we one of them?
To start with, we cannot assess this probability. Indeed, psychoeducation is not something which happens, but something we do.
In more, it is clearly in progress now on Earth, with the advent of democracy and Human Rights. So that it would be just bound to happen as with the other steps of evolution, and even much faster.
Animal civilizations would be spiritually evolved civilizations, just lacking hands and technology. fc is null, but L can be any.
Technology does not allows for psychoeducation, which is a matter of spirituality. But it can secure it, with genetically engineered brains, or natively psychoeducated 3D printed brains.
Technology also allows for a better adaptation to varying astronomical conditions, allowing for higher values of L.
And civilisations with technology will discover radio and laser communication, making fc equal to one.
Robots are not conscious, even if they can be much smarter than people. They may be programmed for contact.
A civilisation mastering high spiritual means can live in much more comfortable ways, without technology. Still they may maintain their planet, but for reproduction only.
A high value for L, but a low value for fc.
Immaterial civilisations are the same as previous, but having abandoned their native planet, or this planet died naturally. But having severed all links with the material world, their fc is zero. Although their L is infinite.
Such civilisations could be at the origin of unexplained phenomena such as UFOs. Hence the interest of studying them seriously.
Interstellar civilisations are technological civilizations having colonized several planets, using interstellar travel.
Such civilisations have a nearby one fc value, and an infinite value for L.
(Permalink) The study of this chapter is made using the today known physics, but speculative physics is also considered at the end.
Transporting people is a huge endeavour, as it requests to launch a vast life support system, and people have to live during millennia. A terrible technological challenge is reliability. The worse challenge however is human: people would need to be saints to bear such travel conditions. Last but not least, they can bring seeds, but not «animal seeds»
(note 93 on the use of ©) Insemination probes are only carrying computer memories, containing the genomes of a lot of species. They also need a resuscitation machine, able of converting back these genomes into living cells. (Precedence claimed here, starting 2013).
They are much simpler, and much smaller too, making them possible for us now. The absence of living people, and even of any moving parts, make that they can cruise much longer, and thus go much farther.
However an human ovum is not enough to recreate an Human. An Human person needs... parents. A solution appeared recently (2015-2016): 3D printing of living bodies (Precedence claimed here, March 30, 2016). The advantages are ground shaking:
- The newly printed person is able to work in some days, without a long education process.
- Building a brain with an already existing connectome can make the newly created person already educated.
- But especially, the newly printed persons can be natively psychoeducated.
At the occasion of a close encounter of our sun with another star, interstellar travel could be much easier. This would allow to send first automated probes, and later passengers ships, which then find an already inhabitable world.
To be noted that such star encounters will certainly happen, in the three billion years available for Mankind.
This is using stars for gravitational assistance, to reach others. The most suitable candidates for this are... white dwarves, because they can be approached much closer.
A planet must have correct physical and chemical conditions. But if so, it may already have developed life of its own... So that life must not be already started on the planet. Besides the obvious ethical problem of invading a world and destroying its own evolution, there is a stringent practical reason: once there is life on a planet, it is impossible to eradicate it. So that the colonists would in fact live in a world ridden with diseases, poisonous plants or stinking matters. This reason alone may explain why Earth was never colonized, even if immoral civilisations had the occasion to do so.
Another solution is that they colonize planets of large stars, with not future evolution. This makes of them targets for SETI.
The only thing we know to do is nuclear fission. But a fission reactor is very dangerous to a spaceship.
This still makes a fission exploration probe possible, with the technologies we know today. Uranium can be extracted from the mines which were discovered on the Moon. Proposed technologies are:
- Zubrin's salty rocket.
- Dust plasma reactors.
Nuclear fusion is also theoretically possible, but yet we were unable to run any.
If this does not exist at all, then we cannot expect to find any Bracewell probe, paleoartifact and the like. But still a lot of electromagnetic emissions for the SETI.
This possibility creates a very strong Fermi paradox: such an intense activity would be noticed on Earth.
To the contrary of the previous, UFOs were noticed...
However the hypothesis we preferred in chapter VII-2, is that they would not be machines, but accidental interferences of the consciousness world into the physical world (psychical hypothesis). Yet contacts may happen in this way.
(Permalink) This chapter refers to a possible galactic civilization created by a network of several planetary civilizations communicating by messages, travels, or by psychical means.
We saw in chapter VIII-6 that we can safely assume that civilisations are largely psychoeducated, or they would destroy themselves. Psychoeducated planets are peaceful, and also there cannot be interstellar wars. This is a very safe result, if even the only one: if there were such psychoprimitive planets, they would have aggressed Earth since billions of years.
Also, immediate democracy and freedom are mandatory results of psychoeducation.
A psychoeducated civilization does not need either any common ideology, tenet or thought system (chapter I-9). So, even if planets have different purposes or philosophy, they will not act again each other.
At last, a very important point is that psychoeducated people are not limited by their ego. Which allows them to undertake endeavours in the millennia and even million years time scales.
Within billions of years, the civilisations have plenty of time to establish communication channels, using the methods described in chapter VIII-9. There may even be several such channels already targeting Earth.
This communication method allows for science exchanges. But a confirmation of the existence of spiritual civilizations would bring a well needed fresh air on Earth.
We studied in chapter VIII-7 how civilisations can spread, using insemination probes. Given that psychoeducated planets can exist since at leat 5 billions years in our galaxy, then very likely several networks of planets exist.
Otherwise, without a StarsWars-like technology for space travel, there is not much point at travelling between these worlds, because any space travel is much longer than any individual lifetime.
So SETI is not finding any Kardashev type III civilization.
They contain huge libraries of knowledge: chronicles of the beginning of our galaxy, billion years old cultural heritage, genomes, artistic creations, testimonies of people who saw our sun being created, novels, movies, music, and many more.
If there are any in our system, the best place known today is the Moon. They may manifest their presence with a magnetic field. Like in Rainer gamma on the Moon, and Olympus Maculae on Mars. On Earth, today the best candidate is the Moonshaft.
Hence the interest of checking the existence of any reported anomaly. Censorship is certainly the worse thing: people were perfectly ready to accept the Sputnik, the Moon landing or the first Ligo chirp, without «becoming gay».
Psychoeducated people do not deify technology. However they may have a lot of different ways to deal with it.
Low tech side, the most likely mix is living in nature, but using some specific high technologies in discrete and environment-friendly ways.
High tech side, we can have engineered planets, Dyson swarms, planetary shaders or mirrors, modified planetary orbits (chapter VIII-10), genetically engineered bodies, 3D body printers, printed brain connectomes, robotic bodies (where a consciousness lives in), living into virtual worlds, etc.
This increases the L factor, so very likely we have a galactic culture.
(note 93 on the use of ©) Animals and their environment can slowly adapt to each other.
Animal civilizations can be detected, by astronomy SETI or by exploration probes. Even colonization probes, if they land on such a planet, can teach their science or build communication means. This is how even animal civilizations and low tech civilizations can be connected to the galactic civilization network!
When people become psychoeducated, they soon become able to master psi means.
And the possible achievement of high technologies are nothing compared to the achievements of psi civilisations:
-Arrange a better physical planet. There may be a great number of them, but with low fc.
-Building paradise spiritual worlds. They may soon lose any contact with the material world, fc is null.
-Nursery worlds ©. (note 93 on the use of ©) Psi civilisations need to keep their home planet, for creating new consciousnesses (chapter V-2). Such planets may look like ours, but with a kind strong religion not concerned with long life or high technology. Nursery world may be many, and they may still be connected to the galactic civilization by the various means mentioned in this chapter.
(note 93 on the use of ©) (Reminding that the physical existence of UFOs has been scientifically demonstrated, chapter VII-2). The most interesting hypothesis on UFO is the one of John E. Mack: psychical interferences into the material world. I propose a theoretical frame in chapter VII-3 and chapter VII-4.
People having strong psi powers may have the capacity of using them for psi spaceships.
If such a thing exists, then we may find traces of such interferences on Earth.
(Permalink) The Fermi Paradox necessarily points at something we do not understand in this problem. Simple solutions may be just wrong estimates of one or another factor, more complex ones call to yet unknown parameters or features (like they moved to spiritual worlds).
Not only our most pessimistic estimates still confirmed that «they» are numerous, but it even showed other possible means of contact that scientists just hypothesized or even not imagined: laser communication, Bracewell probes, knowledge repositories, paleoartifacts, psi contacts, psi spaceships, etc.
This unfortunately makes the overall situation still more uncomfortable, with a strong Fermi paradox. All seems to happen as if the blocking point was in our own heads. But before wondering such things, let us assess the situation case per case.
It is the search of inhabited exoplanets, through the use of classical astronomy methods. If the existence of numerous potentially inhabitable exoplanets is now sure, we are still far from seeing them with enough details to assess if they are inhabited or not. So that we do not yet have a Fermi paradox here.
The lack of any clear detection so far is not so troubling: radio SETI would be unable to find Earth's unintentional signals at more than... one light year!!
However intentional signals should be already detected now. Unless they use lasers:
Lasers are much more directive than radio. So they probably are the preferred communication method between civilizations, and a much better choice than radio. There are some SETI projects searching for laser beams, but few are implemented yet, so that we have no results.
The continuation of this sub-chapter is my original contribution, so that I claim precedence for April 2016. more details in the linked chapter:
Stars have absorption rays, narrow frequency bands where their light is much less intense, so that a laser is much more detectable.
So that we need to:
-I think it is totally useless to look for variations of the global light of stars.
-Look for unexplained emission rays in the deepest dips of a star's spectrum, with no thermal Doppler spreading, or with a planetary Doppler.
-Look for modulation.
-A prism spectrometer would not be discriminant enough in frequency. I propose a superheterodyne receiver, based on a non-linear optic crystal, transposing the signal in radio frequencies, where a classical radio receiver can detect and filter them.
Since laser SETI it is not operational yet, we can bring no conclusions.
Paleoartifacts are objects or traces which may be found on Earth, from current or from past extraterrestrial visits. The most promising candidate is the Moonshaft.
Here again, the least we can say is that these objects are not so numerous as expectable from a situation where many civilizations are attempting contact.
Sometimes ancient legends are memories of real events, as it was checked in several instances.
Known physics allows for a large industrial power to reach Earth with nuclear-powered probes, but not for easy space travels as in science fiction.
Professional astronomers already tried to find Bracewell probes, without success until now. This is bothering, and brings a strong Fermi paradox.
This mostly supposes that some yet unknown physics allows to build space travelling machines for easy space travels, as in science-fiction stories. This would mandatorily lead to a Kardashev type 3 civilisation. Yet none was detected.
The lack of such visits does not arise a strong Fermi paradox: that no unknown physics exists is enough to explain it.
In chapter VII-2 we see that we can scientifically consider them as real.
The most interesting hypothesis, of the late John E. Mack, is that UFO appearances would be interferences of spiritual worlds into the material world. This book provides a theoretical frame allowing for such interactions to take place (Part III andpart VII).
Extraterrestrials mastering the spiritual worlds may use this phenomenon for real contact.
In this hypothesis, extraterrestrials mastering the psychical worlds may try to contact Humans using psi methods, like telepathy.
For now, there cannot be many observable results, for a very simple reason: receptive Humans are still very rare.
In any case, due to the huge number of fakes, a real contactee would need to give concrete proofs of the reality of his contacts, like an advance notice of an astronomy event. Which is not simple either.
This is about finding contacts, detections or objects which would already be known, but censored. We do not have credible stories yet, but some troubling statements make that some sort of SetiIeak would be useful.
For the spiritual factors of the Drake equation, the statistical considerations of chapter VIII-5 lead to very high values for L (average duration of a civilisation, in years), and high values too for fc (fraction of the previous able of emitting radio signals). This makes between a million and billions civilized planets in our galaxy (closest neighbour between 30 and 100 light-years).
However a thorough analysis of the cases above in this chapter, shows that the paradox much more affects intentional signals, while lack of detection of unintentional signals can be explained naturally.
This strongly suggests that the key of the Fermi Paradox is in the way civilisations behave.
In facts there are several hypothesis:
This is the favourite hypothesis among scientists: The ETs are able to contact Earth, but they avoid to do so, or even hide evidences. There are several possible reasons, mostly the possible negative impact of what would be felt as a colonization. But this attitude is going on since the beginning of Earth 4.5 billions years ago!
There is no Fermi Paradox in this case.
The idea here is that we have no practical mean to stop the violence, dictatorship, etc. which may go on in an ant nest.
Similarly, ETs would have no practical mean, or it would be too difficult for them, to help us to evolve. So that they would not try, and even not bother about us.
Many civilizations may appear, but something would destroy them at once: unexpected discovery in physics, society changes, etc. Or they would switch quickly from technology to psychical means:
As we saw, psi powers, and even fantastic things like moving from the material world to the spiritual world, happen soon after obtaining of basic psychoeducation. This makes moot all the technological development, including communication, lasers, spaceships.
Still worse, people living into spiritual worlds, would simply be unable to contact us using their methods.
So that, If there are contacts, they would appear as a kind of secret spiritual world government.
The five points above are interesting, because they can provide, each or in combination, with several credible solutions to the Fermi paradox.
I shall however still try a synthesis:
- There would be no intentional radio signals.
- Unintentional radio signals are still too hard to detect.
- Unintentional laser signals are rare, because we need to be on their very narrow path.
- Detecting intentional laser signals will solve the problem.
- Not detecting laser signals would point at some combination of ant nest hypothesis and psi hypothesis.
- Develop laser SETI in a priority, using the method described above (absorption rays of stars). Select a small set of best frequencies per star, and look for variable or unexplained emission rays. Monitor their modulation several times a day at random intervals, for pulses, or for low frequency modem-like modulations.
- Other electromagnetic frequencies, such as millimetre maser, should be investigated.
- Piggyback on the search for dangerous asteroids, for finding Bracewell probes.
- Check for artistic signals, not only for prime numbers or mathematical formula.
- Evaluate methods for UFO SETI and psi SETI. This book may help.
- Psi SETI may involves a kind of demand from us.
- Enjoy academic funding or state funding when it comes, but do not rely on it for base work, since it can be suppressed at whim.
(Permalink) This non-essential chapter is strongly summarized. After wondering if we have the right of terraforming planets, we envision how to do and for what expectable result.
Terraforming Mars seems very difficult (absence of essential resources) and pointless, if it is to live in boxes. For whatever purpose we may have up there, robots are simply better.
For mines, asteroids are much easier.
Terraforming Venus may be easier, as there already are a lot of elements in place. Start with a sun shade made of a chipped iron asteroid. However it will be very long, for the temperature to lower and the CO2 to be neutralized in carbonates.
Modifying the planet's orbits may seem impossible. However we can manoeuver asteroids in such a way that each close approach brings some energy to the planet (the source being Jupiter). This would take millions of years and more, but psychoeducated people having no ego, they can do that. This will be useful at least to bring the Earth further away from the Sun as it swells during its evolution.
Mining the Moon: Assuming it is not declared a reservation zone, it is the only planet where mining may be worth the effort. This is because the low gravity allows for a simple electromagnetic gun to send the mined metals on Earth, using the abundant solar electricity.
Interstellar travel and space colonization is practically impossible for transporting living people. Automatic interstellar travel is possible with the fission technologies we have in hand, but only fusion would allow it to scale up.
My contribution is that we can send DNA code, to recreate from scratch a perfect ecosystem, free of any disease, poisonous things, predators, invading species, a world without a single thorn, where we can walk naked and barefoot everywhere... However for people to be able to keep the marvel, we also need to send connectomes.
Europa Mission could work using a simple shell as a spaceship, which would burry itself in a patch of pink ice. I had proposed to have the Juno probe to serve as a relay, but nobody heed me, so that it is too late now.
A Venus lander is perfectly feasible. This part is a whole study of this. Mostly, if we use high temperature semiconductors, we do not need to cool the electronics. In more, it would easily fly with a small volume of balloon gaz, so that a single lander would be able to explore the whole planet. Especially the mountains, because it is the only place where we may find traces of life, if any.
A Venus sample mission return is very difficult, due to the high gravity and thick atmosphere. A balloon launch may help, to get up a very small capsule.
A Mars sample return mission is much easier, but dangerous, because if there are bacteria they may contaminate Earth and cause havoc. My contribution is that when the capsule arrives on Earth, it satellises itself, with the help of the Moon. It is then easier to catch and study in orbit, until we are sure it is safe.
A Moon rover can be much larger than the Mars rovers. In more it can be remote controlled in real time, allowing to travel all over the Moon. We need a lidar to find all the potholes up there before running in. With some design cautions, like clipping on parts, damaged parts could be repaired by remote control. In fact, the worse challenge is the sticky and very abrasive lunar dust.
Protection against dangerous asteroids. The idea of impacting them is bad, as it requires years of warning and an expensive spaceship. This is even worse with the idea of using atom bombs: all the meteorite debris, more the radioactive wastes, would simply continue their path toward the Earth, replacing a single threat with a grapeshot of threats.
What I propose is the The VishvaKunta project © (note 93 on the use of ©). It would be a large space station with a lot of solar panels, in orbit close to the Sun, and shooting a laser toward an incoming threat. The laser impact vaporises the rock (or ice), providing both reaction mass and its acceleration. This way, we can act with less than one hour of delay, and as many times as needed.
If we had VishvaKunta, we could have «sampled» 'oumuamua.
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