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By Seth Shostak
Ask your friends why scientists have failed to find extraterrestrials and you can be sure that at least one of them will offer the following answer: People are not worthy .
We are wrong beings. We routinely threaten each other, not to mention other species and the environment. It doesn't sound very civilized, and it provides a plausible explanation for the lack of foreign contact. Perhaps the extremists know that we are here, but do not want to handle us ̵
This idea is infinitely appealing. That is also old. In 1973, MIT radio astronomer John Ball published a paper in which he suggested that the lack of success in uncovering cosmic companies was not due to lack of aliens. It was because these other world-renowned people have accepted a hands-off policy.
They have kept their distance not because we are imperfect but because of our right to pursue our own destiny. Diversity is something that everyone in the cosmos is believed to appreciate so that the deadly worlds must be left to their own evolutionary evolution.
It may seem to you that Ball's idea sounds like Star Trek's famous "primary directive," which forbade space-going members of the federation from doing anything that could interfere with other cultures or civilizations, even though this interference was favorable. The MIT astronomer suggested that we did not have contact with foreigners because we are not worthy, but because we are worthy – the way in which endangered eel is.
Ball went ahead and suggested that we can live in a metaphorical zoo – a kind of cosmic Eden. Aliens of the galaxy have somehow arranged things so that our planet is shielded by those with one-way rods: they can observe us, but we cannot observe them.
A nice thing about this presumption is that it provides a solution to a long-standing puzzle known as Fermi's Paradox. Broached nearly 70 years ago by physicist Enrico Fermi, rests on the fact that the universe is very old. Therefore, if intelligent life is common, then some of it is certainly advanced enough to have colonized the entire galaxy. We should see evidence of foreigners everywhere. The fact that we cannot be explained by Ball's hypothesis – we are deliberately isolated.
The zoo hypothesis has been in the news recently because it also entitles to an activity known as METI, short for Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence. Simply put, METI practitioners transmit radio signals to space hoping to provoke a response from any foreigner who might pick them up. In 2017, a Norwegian antenna was used to beam a message to a star system 12 light years away.
Earlier this month, this entire business was discussed by researchers at a meeting in Paris. Douglas Vakoch, chairman of METI International, a San Francisco-based organization that organized the Norwegian transmission, claimed zoological hypotheses as a possible justification for broadcasting. If the hypothesis is correct, it is understandable why our efforts to find signals from space have failed. We have been mindlessly pacing our earthly cage while aliens keep their distance and watch.
But as Vakoch claims, this one-way scenario can be changed. On the other hand, if a zoo animal suddenly begins to bark through the rods and says "I am here and I think you are out there", they can respond.
Simply put, METI's conscious transmissions can lead to a discovery of cosmic corporation because broadcasts would tell foreigners that we no longer need their helicopter parents. We are adults enough to get in touch.
However, zoological hypotheses depend on the fact that earthly life is really important – our existence is apparently significant enough to dictate the behavior of society, which may be millions or more years more advanced. And Ball & # 39; s idea requires a galaxy-covering compact to preserve all evidence of intelligent inhabitants – radio signals, laser flashing ends than the construction of easily discovered megastructures – from being visible to Earth's earth. How would you do it, even if you are a very advanced stranger?
Moreover, the idea that all extraterrestrials are eager to keep evolution on our planet free and natural sounds strange, self-centered and a little too altruistic. Let's see it: The main directive has never been in fashion with us. In fact, we seem to prefer the opposite: On the ground we constantly disturb each other's cultural development.
So the zoo hypothesis seems more than a little forced. On the other hand, I have to admit that it is cagey.
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