If we are alone in the universe, why? (Fermi Paradox part 2) April 3, 2014Posted by oktyabr in personal.
Another rainy morning and a cup of coffee post.
This one is a reply to thread started in a group that began with this hypothesis:
“If even one civilization in our galaxy became spacefaring in it’s 10+ billion year history, it would only take about 50 million years to explore the entire galaxy. So, we can, it seems, say that never has a civilization arose to have explored the galaxy in it’s entirety.”
And my reply (so far):
Humans with enough knowledge and technology to even consider space flight have only existed a couple hundred years or so. This is a blink of an eye in geological terms which are usually measured in thousands, tens of thousands or hundreds of thousandsof years, and a truly insignificant amount of time in cosmological terms that is measured in millions or billions of years.
Our sun and our planet were formed roughly at the same time, about 4.5 billion years ago. Our Milky Way galaxy is thought to be about 10 billion years old and the universe only a handful of billions of years older than that. In cosmological terms our universe is a newborn, with a long, long life, thought to be in the trillions… or thousands of billions… of years still ahead of it.
More so, if the big bang is considered fact, even though all the matter and underlying structure in our very young universe was probably formed during the first few minutes it took much longer for stellar evolution to produce the heavier elements required for complex life such as our selves.
All the elements heavier than hydrogen and helium required processing in the nuclear forges of first and second generation stars, each generation taking millions of years and possibly billions of years for the ejecta to reassemble into the next phase of stellar evolution. All the iron in your blood, the calcium in your bones, the gold in your teeth or wedding ring, is actually billions of years old and required both supernova and the ejecta of collapsing red giants to have collected here on Earth, most of it processed more than once in the hearts of stars that formed, ignited, burned their fuel, and died… passing on their material for it to happen again and become further processed… billions of years before the sun, the Earth, or you and I were formed.
We may not be the first intelligence in the universe but cosmologically speaking, in the terms of thousands of billions, perhaps millions of billions of years, we are all very early comers to the show.