“This one is just too ‘far out’ for most physicists, mathematicians and ‘theoreticians’… one of the greatest tools for searching for extraterrestrial intelligences may be PSYCHEDELICS!
A lifeform or conscious being may not only be non-carbon based… may not even exist in the realm of physics as we currently understand.
I personally don’t believe in alternative universes… I subscribe to Mills’ GUT-CP model of the Universe… but that leaves open to the possibility of conscious beings existing in the realm of dark matter (95% of the Universe). Beings that could be so far advanced that we would not only be able to perceive them, we wouldn’t even be able to fathom or comprehend if we did!
All throughout history,ancient archaic history since before we where even modern homo sapien, in every culture, every religion and spiritual belief system, shamanic cultures… people have claimed to have been visited by ‘extra-terrestrial’ beings of some kind, whether they be ‘angels’, spirits, ET’s, jinn… usually in dream states or altered states of consciousness… sometimes (BUT NOT ALWAYS) under the influence of psychedelic compounds (DMT, psilocybin)
… you ignore this avenue of research at your peril.
The late Terrence McKenna said something along of lines of…
“The psychedelic community has what the UFO abduction community doesn’t… repeatability!”
With what I understand of GUT-CP, hydrino and ‘dark energy’, I’m going down the avenue of… the Pineal gland being a light sensitive organ, that can perceive the realms of dark matter when activated, and the beings that reside within it. Activates your consciousness to a level not normally attainable in every day waking consciousness… … extra-terrestrial beings could be right in front of us and we wouldn’t even know it, unable to perceive them (unless under the influence of psychedelics!)If DNA is an artificial creation of intelligent design (billions of years old)… what the fuck designed and created DNA? What ever it is, I doubt very much it is comprised of molecules, and abides to the same ‘laws’ laws of physics we do!
We need to think about what consciousness is… how the Universe creates consciousness, how it becomes self-aware…
Alien life could be so advanced it becomes indistinguishable from physics.
By Caleb Scharf
Perhaps Arthur C. Clarke was being uncharacteristically unambitious. He once pointed out that any sufficiently advanced technology is going to be indistinguishable from magic. If you dropped in on a bunch of Paleolithic farmers with your iPhone and a pair of sneakers, you’d undoubtedly seem pretty magical. But the contrast is only middling: The farmers would still recognize you as basically like them, and before long they’d be taking selfies. But what if life has moved so far on that it doesn’t just appear magical, but appears like physics?
After all, if the cosmos holds other life, and if some of that life has evolved beyond our own waypoints of complexity and technology, we should be considering some very extreme possibilities. Today’s futurists and believers in a machine “singularity” predict that life and its technological baggage might end up so beyond our ken that we wouldn’t even realize we were staring at it. That’s quite a claim, yet it would neatly explain why we have yet to see advanced intelligence in the cosmos around us, despite the sheer number of planets it could have arisen on—the so-called Fermi Paradox.
For example, if machines continue to grow exponentially in speed and sophistication, they will one day be able to decode the staggering complexity of the living world, from its atoms and molecules all the way up to entire planetary biomes. Presumably life doesn’t have to be made of atoms and molecules, but could be assembled from any set of building blocks with the requisite complexity. If so, a civilization could then transcribe itself and its entire physical realm into new forms. Indeed, perhaps our universe is one of the new forms into which some other civilization transcribed its world.
These possibilities might seem wholly untestable, because part of the conceit is that sufficiently advanced life will not just be unrecognizable as such, but will blend completely into the fabric of what we’ve thought of as nature. But viewed through the warped bottom of a beer glass, we can pick out a few cosmic phenomena that—at crazy as it sounds—might fit the requirements.
For example, only about 5 percent of the mass-energy of the universe consists of ordinary matter: the protons, neutrons, and electrons that we’re composed of. A much larger 27 percent is thought to be unseen, still mysterious stuff. Astronomical evidence for this dark, gravitating matter is convincing, albeit still not without question. Vast halos of dark matter seem to lurk around galaxies, providing mass that helps hold things together via gravity. On even larger scales, the web-like topography traced by luminous gas and stars also hints at unseen mass.
Cosmologists usually assume that dark matter has no microstructure. They think it consists of subatomic particles that interact only via gravity and the weak nuclear force and therefore slump into tenuous, featureless swathes. They have arguments to support this point of view, but of course we don’t really know for sure. Some astronomers, noting subtle mismatches between observations and models, have suggested that dark matter has a richer inner life. At least some component may comprise particles that interact with one another via long-range forces. It may seem dark to us, but have its own version of light that our eyes cannot see.
In that case, dark matter could contain real complexity, and perhaps it is where all technologically advanced life ends up or where most life has always been. What better way to escape the nasty vagaries of supernova and gamma-ray bursts than to adopt a form that is immune to electromagnetic radiation? Upload your world to the huge amount of real estate on the dark side and be done with it.
If you’re a civilization that has learned how to encode living systems in different substrates, all you need to do is build a normal-matter-to-dark-matter data-transfer system: a dark-matter 3D printer. Perhaps the mismatch of astronomical models and observations is evidence not just of self-interacting dark matter, but of dark matter that is being artificially manipulated.
Or to take this a step further, perhaps the behavior of normal cosmic matter that we attribute to dark matter is brought on by something else altogether: a living state that manipulates luminous matter for its own purposes. Consider that at present we have neither identified the dark-matter particles nor come up with a compelling alternative to our laws of physics that would account for the behavior of galaxies and clusters of galaxies. Would an explanation in terms of life be any less plausible than a failure of established laws?
Part of the fabric of the universe is a product of intelligence.
The universe does other funky and unexpected stuff. Notably, it began to expand at an accelerated rate about 5 billion years ago. This acceleration is conventionally chalked up to dark energy. But cosmologists don’t know why the cosmic acceleration began when it did. In fact, one explanation with a modicum of traction is that the timing has to do with life—an anthropic argument. The dark energy didn’t become significant until enough time had gone by for life to take hold on Earth. For many cosmologists, that means our universe must be part of a vast multiverse where the strength of dark energy varies from place to place. We live in one of the places suitable for life like us. Elsewhere, dark energy is stronger and blows the universe apart too quickly for cosmic structures to form and life to take root.
But perhaps there is another reason for the timing coincidence: that dark energy is related to the activities of living things. After all, any very early life in the universe would have already experienced 8 billion years of evolutionary time by the time expansion began to accelerate. It’s a stretch, but maybe there’s something about life itself that affects the cosmos, or maybe those well-evolved denizens decided to tinker with the expansion.
There are even possible motivations for that action. Life absorbs low-entropy energy (such as visible light from the sun), does useful work with that energy, and dumps higher-entropy energy back into the universe as waste heat. But if the surrounding universe ever got too warm—too filled with thermal refuse—things would stagnate. Luckily we live in an expanding and constantly cooling cosmos. What better long-term investment by some hypothetical life 5 billion years ago than to get the universe to cool even faster? To be sure, it may come to rue its decision: Hundreds of billions of years later the accelerating expansion would dilute matter so quickly that civilizations would run out of fresh sources of energy. Also, an accelerating universe does not cool forever, but eventually approaches a floor in temperature.
One idea for the mechanism of an accelerating cosmic expansion is called quintessence, a relative of the Higgs field that permeates the cosmos. Perhaps some clever life 5 billion years ago figured out how to activate that field. How? Beats me, but it’s a thought-provoking idea, and it echoes some of the thinking of cosmologist Freeman Dyson’s famous 1979 paper “Time Without End,” where he looked at life’s ability in the far, far future to act on an astrophysical scale.
Once we start proposing that life could be part of the solution to cosmic mysteries, there’s no end to the fun possibilities. Although dark-matter life is a pretty exotic idea, it’s still conceivable that we might recognize what it is, even capturing it in our labs one day (or being captured by it). We can take a tumble down a different rabbit hole by considering that we don’t recognize advanced life because it forms an integral and unsuspicious part of what we’ve considered to be the natural world.
Life’s desire to avoid trouble points to some options. If it has a choice, life always looks for ways to lower its existential risk. You don’t build your nest on the weakest branch or produce trillions of single-celled clones unless you build in some variation and backup.
Maybe there’s something about life itself that affects the cosmos.
A species can mitigate risk by spreading, decentralizing, and seeding as much real estate as possible. In this context, hyper-advanced life is going to look for ways to get rid of physical locality and to maximize redundancy and flexibility. The quantum realm offers good options. The cosmos is already packed with electromagnetic energy. Today, at any instant, about 400 photons of cosmic microwave radiation are streaming through any cubic centimeter of free space. They collectively have less energy than ordinary particles such as protons and electrons, but vastly outnumber them. That’s a lot of potential data carriers. Furthermore, we could imagine that these photons are cleverly quantum-mechanically entangled to help with error control.
By storing its essential data in photons, life could give itself a distributed backup system. And it could go further, manipulating new photons emitted by stars to dictate how they interact with matter. Fronts of electromagnetic radiation could be reaching across the cosmos to set in motion chains of interstellar or planetary chemistry with exquisite timing, exploiting wave interference and excitation energies in atoms and molecules. The science-fiction writer Stanisław Lem put forward a similar idea, involving neutrinos rather than photons, in the novel His Master’s Voice.
That’s one way that life could disappear into ordinary physics. But even these ideas skirt the most disquieting extrapolations.
Toward the end of Carl Sagan’s 1985 science-fiction novel Contact, the protagonist follows the suggestion of an extraterrestrial to study transcendental numbers. After computing to 1020 places, she finds a clearly artificial message embedded in the digits of this fundamental number. In other words, part of the fabric of the universe is a product of intelligence or is perhaps even life itself.
It’s a great mind-bending twist for a book. Perhaps hyper-advanced life isn’t just external. Perhaps it’s already all around. It is embedded in what we perceive to be physics itself, from the root behavior of particles and fields to the phenomena of complexity and emergence.
In other words, life might not just be in the equations. It might be the equations.
Caleb Scharf is an astrophysicist, the Director of Astrobiology at Columbia University in New York, and a founder of yhousenyc.org, an institute that studies human and machine consciousness. His latest book is The Copernicus Complex: Our Cosmic Significance in a Universe of Planets and Probabilities.
This article was originally published on Nautilus Cosmos, in November 2016.
An invisible civilization could be living right under your nose.
By Lisa Randall
Even though we know that ordinary matter accounts for only about one-twentieth of the universe’s energy and a sixth of the total energy carried by matter (with dark energy constituting the remaining portion), we nonetheless consider ordinary matter to be the truly important constituent. With the exception of cosmologists, almost everyone’s attention is focused on the ordinary matter component, which you might have thought to be largely insignificant according to the energy accounting.
We of course care more about ordinary matter because we are made of the stuff—as is the tangible world in which we live. But we also pay attention because of the richness of its interactions. Ordinary matter interacts through the electromagnetic, the weak, and the strong nuclear forces—helping the visible matter of our world to form complex, dense systems. Not only stars, but also rocks, oceans, plants, and animals owe their very existence to the nongravitational forces of nature through which ordinary matter interacts. Just as a beer’s small-percentage alcohol content affects carousers far more than the rest of the drink, ordinary matter, though carrying a small percentage of the energy density, influences itself and its surroundings much more noticeably than something that just passes through.
Familiar visible matter can be thought of as the privileged percent—actually more like 15 percent—of matter. In business and politics, the interacting 1 percent dominates decision making and policy, while the remaining 99 percent of the population provides less widely acknowledged infrastructure and support—maintaining buildings, keeping cities operational, and getting food to people’s tables. Similarly, ordinary matter dominates almost everything we notice, whereas dark matter, in its abundance and ubiquity, helped create clusters and galaxies and facilitated star formation, but has only limited influence on our immediate surroundings today.
It seems very odd to assume that all of dark matter is composed of only one type of particle.
For nearby structure, ordinary matter is in charge. It is responsible for the motion of our bodies, the energy sources that drive our economy, the computer screen or paper on which you are reading this, and basically anything else you can think of or care about. If something has measurable interactions, it is worth paying attention to, as it will have far more immediate effects on whatever is around.
In the usual scenario, dark matter lacks this type of interesting influence and structure. The common assumption is that dark matter is the “glue” that holds together galaxies and galaxy clusters, but resides only in amorphous clouds around them. But what if this assumption isn’t true and it is only our prejudice—and ignorance, which is after all the root of most prejudice—that led us down this potentially misleading path?
The Standard Model contains six types of quarks, three types of charged leptons (including the electron), three species of neutrinos, all the particles responsible for forces, as well as the newly discovered Higgs boson. What if the world of dark matter—if not equally rich—is reasonably wealthy too? In this case, most dark matter interacts only negligibly, but a small component of dark matter would interact under forces reminiscent of those in ordinary matter. The rich and complex structure of the Standard Model’s particles and forces gives rise to many of the world’s interesting phenomena. If dark matter has an interacting component, this fraction might be influential too.
If we were creatures made of dark matter, we would be very wrong to assume that the particles in our ordinary matter sector were all of the same type. Perhaps we ordinary matter people are making a similar mistake. Given the complexity of the Standard Model of particle physics, which describes the most basic components of matter we know of, it seems very odd to assume that all of dark matter is composed of only one type of particle. Why not suppose instead that some fraction of the dark matter experiences its own forces?
In that case, just as ordinary matter consists of different types of particles and these fundamental building blocks interact through different combinations of charges, dark matter would also have different building blocks—and at least one of those distinct new particle types would experience nongravitational interactions. Neutrinos in the Standard Model don’t interact under the strong or electric force yet the six types of quarks do.
No one had allowed for the very simple possibility that although most dark matter doesn’t interact, a small fraction of it might.
In a similar fashion, maybe one type of dark matter particle experiences feeble or no interactions aside from gravity, but a fraction of it—perhaps 5 percent—does. Based on what we’ve seen in the world of ordinary matter, perhaps this scenario is even more likely than the usual assumption of a single very feebly or non-interacting dark matter particle.
People in foreign relations make a mistake when they lump together another country’s cultures—assuming they don’t exhibit the diversity of societies that is evident in our own. Just as a good negotiator doesn’t assume the primacy of one sector of society over another when attempting to place the different cultures on equal footing, an unbiased scientist shouldn’t assume that dark matter isn’t as interesting as ordinary matter and necessarily lacks a diversity of matter similar to our own.
The science writer Corey S. Powell, when reporting on our research in Discover magazine, started his piece by announcing that he was a “light-matter chauvinist”—and pointing out that virtually everyone else is too. By this he meant that we view the type of matter we are familiar with as by far the most significant and therefore the most complex and interesting. It’s the type of belief that you might have thought was upended by the Copernican Revolution. Yet most people persist in assuming that their perspective and their conviction of our importance are in keeping with the external world.
Ordinary matter’s many components have different interactions and contribute to the world in different ways. So too might dark matter have different particles with different behaviors that might influence the universe’s structure in a measurable fashion.
When first studying partially interacting dark matter, I was astonished to find that practically no one had considered the potential fallacy—and hubris—of assuming that only ordinary matter exhibits a diversity of particle types and interactions. A few physicists had tried to analyze models, such as “mirror dark matter,” which features dark matter that mimics everything about ordinary matter. But exemplars such as this one were rather specific and exotic. Their implications were difficult to reconcile with everything we know.
A small community of physicists had studied more general models of interacting dark matter. But even they assumed that all the dark matter was the same and therefore experienced identical forces. No one had allowed for the very simple possibility that although most dark matter doesn’t interact, a small fraction of it might.
You have no idea how cute dark matter life could be—and you almost certainly never will.
One potential reason might be apparent. Most people would expect a new type of dark matter to be irrelevant to most measurable phenomena if the extra component constitutes only a small fraction of the dark matter inventory. Having not even observed the dominant component of dark matter, concerning oneself with a smaller constituent might seem premature.
But when you remember that ordinary matter carries only about 20 percent of the energy of dark matter—yet it’s essentially all that most of us pay attention to—you can see where this logic could be flawed. Matter interacting via stronger nongravitational forces can be more interesting and more influential even than a larger amount of feebly interacting matter.
We’ve seen that this is true for ordinary matter. Ordinary matter is unduly influential given its meager abundance because it collapses into a dense matter disk where stars, planets, the Earth, and even life could form. A charged dark matter component—though not necessarily quite as bountiful—can collapse to form disks like the visible one in the Milky Way too. It might even fragment into starlike objects. This new disklike structure can in principle be observed, and might even prove to be more accessible than the conventional dominant cold dark matter component that is spread more diffusely in an enormous spherical halo.
Once you start thinking along these lines, the possibilities quickly multiply. After all, electromagnetism is only one of several nongravitational forces experienced by Standard Model particles. In addition to the force that binds electrons to nuclei, the Standard Model particles of our world interact via the weak and strong nuclear forces. Still more forces might be present in the world of ordinary matter, but they would have to be extremely weak at accessible energies since so far, no one has observed any sign of them. But even the presence of three nongravitational forces suggests that the interacting dark sector too might experience nongravitational forces other than just dark electromagnetism.
Perhaps nuclear-type forces act on dark particles in addition to the electromagnetic-type one. In this even richer scenario, dark stars could form that undergo nuclear burning to create structures that behave even more similarly to ordinary matter than the dark matter I have so far described. In that case, the dark disk could be populated by dark stars surrounded by dark planets made up of dark atoms. Double-disk dark matter might then have all of the same complexity of ordinary matter.
Partially interacting dark matter certainly makes for fertile ground for speculation and encourages us to consider possibilities we otherwise might not have. Writers and moviegoers especially would find a scenario with such additional forces and consequences in the dark sector very enticing. They would probably even suggest dark life coexisting with our own. In this scenario, rather than the usual animated creatures fighting other animated creatures or on rare occasions cooperating with them, armies of dark matter creatures could march across the screen and monopolize all the action.
But this wouldn’t be too interesting to watch. The problem is that cinematographers would have trouble filming this dark life, which is of course invisible to us—and to them. Even if the dark creatures were there (and maybe they have been) we wouldn’t know. You have no idea how cute dark matter life could be—and you almost certainly never will.
Though it’s entertaining to speculate about the possibility of dark life, it’s a lot harder to figure out a way to observe it—or even detect its existence in more indirect ways. It’s challenging enough to find life made up of the same stuff we are, though extrasolar planet searches are under way and trying hard. But the evidence for dark life, should it exist, would be far more elusive even than the evidence for ordinary life in distant realms.
Dark life could in principle be present—even right under our noses.
We have only recently finally seen gravity waves from enormous black holes. We stand little to no chance of detecting the gravitational effect of a dark creature, or even an army of dark creatures—no matter how close all of them might be.
Ideally, we would want somehow to communicate with this new sector—or have it correspond with us in some distinctive manner. But if this new life doesn’t experience the same forces that we do, that’s not going to happen. Even though we share gravity, the force exerted by a small object or life-form would almost certainly be too weak to detect. Only very big dark objects, like a disk extending throughout the Milky Way plane, could have visible consequences.
Dark objects or dark life could be very close—but if the dark stuff’s net mass isn’t very big, we wouldn’t have any way to know. Even with the most current technology, or any technology that we can currently imagine, only some very specialized possibilities might be testable. “Shadow life,” exciting as that would be, won’t necessarily have any visible consequences that we would notice, making it a tantalizing possibility but one immune to observations. In fairness, dark life is a tall order. Science-fiction writers may have no problem creating it, but the universe has a lot more obstacles to overcome. Out of all possible chemistries, it’s very unclear how many could sustain life, and even among those that could, we don’t know the type of environments that would be necessary.
Nonetheless, dark life could in principle be present—even right under our noses. But without stronger interactions with the matter of our world, it can be partying or fighting or active or inert and we would never know. But the interesting thing is that if there are interactions in the dark world—whether or not they are associated with life—the effects on structure might ultimately be measured. And then we will learn a great deal more about the dark world.
Lisa Randall is the Frank B. Baird, Jr., Professor of Science at Harvard University, where she studies theoretical particle physics and cosmology. @lirarandall
Our limited understanding of dark matter and the fact that we’re focusing on the wrong things might be preventing us from discovering alien life.
A Cosmic Gorilla
You know that experiment where you’re supposed to count the number of basketball passes, and you’re so focused on the ball that you don’t even see a bear moving through the picture? Researchers believe something similar might be happening on a cosmic scale. We’re so focused on one thing that we’re completely missing the other — and in this case, ‘the other’ might mean alien signals.
Writing in the journal Acta Astronautica, neuropsychologists Gabriel de la Torre and Manuel García, from the University of Cádiz, say that when it comes to detecting alien signals, we might be looking in the wrong direction. They say that we’re looking for aliens that act similarly to us when that might really not be the case.
“When we think of other intelligent beings, we tend to see them from our perceptive and conscience sieve; however we are limited by our sui generis vision of the world, and it’s hard for us to admit it,” says De la Torre, who prefers to avoid the terms ‘extraterrestrial’ or aliens by its Hollywood connotations and uses more generic terms, such as ‘non-terrestrial’.
“What we are trying to do with this differentiation is to contemplate other possibilities,” he says “for example, beings of dimensions that our mind cannot grasp; or intelligences based on dark matter or energy forms, which make up almost 95% of the universe and which we are only beginning to glimpse. There is even the possibility that other universes exist, as the texts of Stephen Hawking and other scientists indicate.”
Hardwired to miss it
In order to test their hypothesis, they had 137 (HA!) people distinguish aerial photographs with artificial structures (such as buildings or roads) from others with natural elements (such as mountains or rivers). In one of the images, a tiny character disguised as a gorilla was inserted to see if the participants noticed. As expected, participants tended to miss the gorilla. It’s normal because we’re hardwired to miss it — we’re looking for something else. Similarly, if we’re looking for a specific kind of signal, we might completely miss an unrelated type of signal, one we weren’t expecting.
“If we transfer this to the problem of searching for other non-terrestrial intelligences, the question arises about whether our current strategy may result in us not perceiving the gorilla,” stresses the researcher, who insists: “Our traditional conception of space is limited by our brain, and we may have the signs above and be unable to see them. Maybe we’re not looking in the right direction.”
In another example presented in the article, researchers showed participants an apparently geometric structure that can be seen in the images of Occator — an impact crater of the dwarf planet Ceres, famous for its bright spots. Inside the crater appears a strange structure, looking like a square inside a triangle. The point researchers were trying to make is that we sometimes see patterns that just aren’t there, due to the way our brains are wired.
“Our structured mind tells us that this structure looks like a triangle with a square inside, something that theoretically is not possible in Ceres,” says De la Torre, “but maybe we are seeing things where there are none, what in psychology is called pareidolia.”
But the opposite might also be happening, they say. We might have the signal right in front of our eyes, and simply miss it — kind of like a cosmic gorilla effect.
Types of civilizations
We’re not really sure what to expect in terms of potentially advanced alien species, but the most commonly used scale is the Kardashev scale, proposed by Russian astrophysicist Nikolai Kardashev. The scale has three main categories, and it focuses on different stages of energy capture and use, which seems to be a vital requirement for an advanced species:
A Type I civilization (a planetary civilization) can use and store all of the energy which reaches its planet from the parent star.
A Type II civilization (a stellar civilization) can harness the total energy of its planet’s parent star and use it on a planet.
A Type III civilization (a galactic civilization) can control energy on the scale of its entire host galaxy.
If you’ll look at it closely, you’ll see that humans aren’t really even on a Type I level yet, so the Kardashev scale has been extended, both upwards and downwards, including:
A Type 0 civilization (humans) that harvests a significant part of its planet energy, just not yet to its full potential.
A Type IV civilization (a universal civilization) that can control energy on the scale of the entire universe. This is already a virtually indestructible civilization. This hypothetical civilization would be able to interact with and harvest dark matter and dark energy.
A type V civilization (a multiversal civilization) — this already steps into the realm of metaphysics and assumes there is more than one universe, and a civilization that’s able to span and populate several universes.
A type VI civilization (deities) that would have the ability to interact with universes outside of time and space, similar in concept to an absolute deity.
Already, it’s becoming quite clear that we don’t even know how to understand very advanced alien civilizations, assuming that they exist. We might be able to understand a Type 0, I, or II civilization, assuming that they do share some similarities with us. But should we come across the higher levels of civilization, would we even realize what we’re looking at? This is what de la Torre and Garcia are asking. For all we know, dark matter and dark energy might hold the traces of such an advanced civilization. Of course, the researchers themselves admit the inherent shortcomings when you’re classifying something you know nothing about.
“We were well aware that the existing classifications are too simplistic and are generally only based on the energy aspect. The fact that we use radio signals does not necessarily mean that other civilizations also use them, or that the use of energy resources and their dependence are the same as we have,” the researchers point out, recalling the theoretical nature of their proposals.
The duo also proposes a different civilization scale, with 3 types. Type 1 is essentially ours, ephemeral, vulnerable to a planetary cataclysm, either natural or self-made. Type 2 is characterized by the longevity of its members, able to explore galaxies and overall much more durable. Type 3, as you’d expect, would be constituted by exotic creatures with eternal or near-eternal life, with an absolute dominion over the universe.
Naturally, this is all a bit speculative. We don’t really know whether we’re looking for the right thing or not, we don’t even know if there is a right thing or not. How likely are we to miss an alien signal, in the case that it exists? Impossible to tell right now. So this study definitely goes a bit ‘out there’, but it poses some intriguing questions.
If anything, the main takeaway is that we should perhaps take a step back and reconsider what alien life might look like. In other words, we shouldn’t only be counting the passes — we should keep an eye out for any gorillas.
Journal Reference: Gabriel G. De la Torre, Manuel A. Garcia. The cosmic gorilla effect or the problem of undetected non terrestrial intelligent signals. Acta Astronautica, 2018; 146: 83 DOI: 10.1016/j.actaastro.2018.02.036
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