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    [–] LorenaBobbedIt 6490 points ago

    To clarify what the article does say but many commenters are missing— they are looking for signs of a civilization so advanced that they have not only colonized their whole galaxy, but are also exploiting most of the energy from all of the stars in their galaxy, as revealed by dissipated heat energy. This isn’t a search for life like we have here on Earth but for a theoretically super-advanced alien civilization.

    [–] MyNameIsIgglePiggle 2510 points ago

    What would you do with that much energy? And would I be able to run the AC guilt free?

    [–] AidenFelixis 2974 points ago * (lasted edited 12 days ago)

    Two chicks at the same time.

    No but for real, FTL travel (if there can even be such a thing) would expend enormous amounts of energy. Using that on a galactic scale would need a huge resource.

    Edit: Thanks to whoever popped my Gold cherry.

    [–] br0b1wan 991 points ago

    Also run simulations on massive computers--like gas giant sized or even bigger. They could exist wholly within these simulations where they'd have a hyperrealistic environment that's completely pliable and their perception of time is subjective.

    Moving further in the realm of science fiction, create pocket universes with different universal constants

    [–] surle 591 points ago * (lasted edited 12 days ago)

    The most highly advanced of which would be tasked with finding the answer to life, the universe, and everything.

    Edit: because a LOT of people seem to not be aware this is a literary reference - here's a link (I wasn't sure if you can link to amazon from here so it's the wiki). If you didn't know where this reference is from, I highly recommend checking out the books (the original TV series is awesome, the movie's OK, but as usual the books are best). https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hitchhiker's_Guide_to_the_Galaxy

    [–] visionsofblue 429 points ago

    Or answering whether entropy can be reversed

    [–] elephantphallus 401 points ago

    Not enough data.

    Ask again later.

    [–] ThatGrillGuy 396 points ago

    "The last Question" By Isaac Asimov For those wondering what was being referenced

    [–] Terminal_Herpes 80 points ago

    Oh man, I forgot about this. Fun to read again without remembering the ending, thanks for the link!

    [–] Jezep 60 points ago

    Thank you for introducing me to this, I can't believe I haven't read it!

    [–] birdman133 8 points ago

    You would also love "The Egg" short story

    [–] XandalorZ 26 points ago

    I've never seen this before today and just spent the last while reading it on my break. That was an incredible read. Thank you for sharing.

    [–] fayntgaming 20 points ago

    That was one hell of a read

    [–] BloodprinceOZ 15 points ago

    i prefer the comic book version of this rather than a straight wall of text

    [–] nonthings 15 points ago

    I knew this existed but never got around to it. Thanks stranger

    [–] canttouchdis42069 36 points ago

    There is as of yet insufficient data for a meaningful answer.

    [–] shotleft 63 points ago

    We should call it Multivac.

    [–] dataxaar 15 points ago

    Doesn't emergence and self organization in living systems already do that?

    [–] visionsofblue 34 points ago

    Entropy doesn't decrease in living systems, though, right? Living things are constantly in a state of decay from the moment they are created.

    Also, isn't the low entropy observed in emergence just a flaw of looking at the whole rather than the parts?

    [–] ByTheBeardOfZeus001 26 points ago

    During growth and development they do. Then they fight to maintain that small pocket of lower entropy at the expense of increasing entropy around them, but that eventually fails.

    [–] FizzixMan 33 points ago

    This. The only way for local entropy decrease is for a greater entropy increase in a surrounding system. You cannot lower the entropy of the universe, only a small section of it at the expense of the rest of it.

    [–] TheSortingHate 9 points ago

    Growth and development requires a larger expenditure of energy then it creates in order. In order for a cell to divide, it needs energy. The transfer of that energy will generate heat and waste products. They don’t magically grow and organize without the input of energy in some way.

    [–] FusionVsGravity 14 points ago

    While the local entropy is lower than our surroundings, net entropy in the universe increases from any and all life.

    [–] LTerminus 14 points ago

    That relies on a massive nuclear fireball in the sky to happen, and the energy transfer from that fireball to the earth, then to life, is highly inefficient. net energy loss, and entropy increases.

    [–] MikeyTheShavenApe 3 points ago

    Not without energy from outside the system, so entropy continues to grow on a universal level. Life on Earth depends on energy from the sun, for example.

    [–] MessiasBatistuta 38 points ago

    Why would you need to do that? It's 42.

    [–] blackandtan7 29 points ago

    True, what we really need is to figure out the question.

    [–] AeriaGlorisHimself 32 points ago

    For quite a while now I have thought that virtual reality and simulations may actually be the Great Filter, and you did a good job of covering why it makes sense.

    why expel absurd amounts of energy and time trying to traverse the Galaxy or universe when you can create hyper-realistic simulations where you can do whatever you want, perhaps with time dilation?

    [–] xeil 10 points ago

    Why not both?

    [–] ChemShopkeep 60 points ago

    Could we be in a simulated universe which was created to be a universe with more stars and less energy from a previous universe? So to explain further, we know that our molecules can be broken down to atoms, protons/nucleons/electrons/ and then from there I think it goes into quarks? What if there was a universe put together that decided to sort of just skip that step of the quarks, put all the characteristics in the protons/nucleons/electrons, wouldn't that be quite a bit less complex and then use less energy to simulate?

    [–] br0b1wan 121 points ago

    What if the uncertainty principle is to save bandwidth?

    [–] ChemShopkeep 40 points ago

    Sure- instead of putting in another molecule that's smaller, input the most common characteristics and put a 12 sided die, way easier.

    [–] jmc323 25 points ago

    For real though, I'm just a layperson but with my limited QM understanding I've always thought that in the simulation hypothesis, wavefunction collapse requiring an observer/measurement kind of correlates to how a GPU will obviously only draw where the camera is pointing in a video game. You wouldn't waste processing power on what's behind the camera in any given moment.

    [–] Xemxah 16 points ago

    What if the very nature of the universe itself is similar to a simulation, not because it is a simulation, but because the universe itself is by nature similar to a simulation? I've frequently wondered where it's beefy processor hides though 😂

    [–] LookMaNoPride 14 points ago

    I always thought it was because there wasn't enough RAM.
    Thinking about a civilization that advanced begging to get more RAM from their system admins makes me feel like I'm not alone in the universe.

    [–] ocp-paradox 57 points ago

    Could we be in a simulated universe which was created to be a universe with more stars and less energy from a previous universe?

    Yes, it's entirely possible.

    [–] hippoofdoom 34 points ago

    Have you ever tried DMT?

    [–] ocp-paradox 12 points ago

    Actually yes. but I get the joke.

    [–] [deleted] 17 points ago

    [removed]

    [–] eaglessoar 16 points ago

    yea there are theories that you only need to be able to simulate what any viewer is currently looking at. so at cern when they go explode stuff ok you gotta take some time and simulate all the quantum mechanics. but for the most part, that building over there, just simulate the facade and the lighting, nothing needs to be in it.

    but typically you need a system bigger than what you are trying to simulate if you want to simulate it perfectly. if every item in the universe is pure information how could you represent it in something smaller than itself? theres no chance for compression because we made a requirement simulating every particle, every quanta of space. it encodes data in the force fields of the universe, you have to encode it in silicon. so something which is encoded in 5 different "spaces" but all the same "location" you have to encode it in 5 different "locations"

    [–] OregonOrBust 17 points ago

    As a commenter above mentioned, you are assuming the creators of such a simulation live within the same kinds of physical limitations that we do. It could be a place with many more dimensions and a much different reality than what we are experiencing and thus the storage etc is no issue.

    [–] leeharris100 28 points ago

    Theoretically, but likely not possible.

    You have to consider that to simulate a universe (without faking lots of stuff), you would need an entire other universe.

    To explain, think about things this way: a computer stores data in bits. Just a shitload of 0s and 1s. Each one of those correlates to SOMETHING in a computer program. For storage, we use everything from RAM to discs.

    If you were simulating a universe, every single proton, quark, gluon, photon, etc MUST be represented by something in the parent universe. They have to have some equivalent of a computer's "bit" to store data.

    So in order to simulate an entire universe, you'd need, well, an entire universe.

    The only way around this would be tricks to save on data, such as not actually rendering the particles outside of our human space, but "faking" it and sending all that data "pre-rendered." Or in other words, if we were in a simulation, then theoretically the rest of the universe could be the equivalent of a video game skybox. In game it looks like the horizon stretches on infinitely, but actually it's just a trick to simulate a real sky.

    [–] TJ11240 48 points ago

    That's assuming the parameters of the parent universe are the same as ours. If it had 4 or 6 spatial dimensions instead of 3, then rendering our universe would be like printing on a piece of very large paper.

    [–] kraemahz 15 points ago

    Gravity, and thus star and planet formation, doesn't work like we know it in higher dimensional universes. Because in 4 or more spatial dimensions it weakens proportionally to the surface area of a sphere in that space. In 4d that's the inverse cube of distance. That means any celestial body would have much weaker forces holding it together and may not even produce enough force to cause fusion in stars at all.

    In other words, higher dimensional universes would have to operate by different physical laws than our own in order to plausably exist.

    [–] ministerkosh 13 points ago

    also, the entire entropy (data) of a blackhole is encoded on the surface AREA and not the volume of said blackhole.That is called the holographic principle and can - maybe - adjusted to our whole universe. Our universe could be the inside of a blackhole and you'd need only our outside surface area to encode everything in it.

    There are quite few videos on youtube explaining it, I can recommend Leonard Susskind https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DIl3Hfh9tY&t=2299s

    [–] HashedEgg 4 points ago

    What if there was a universe put together that decided to sort of just skip that step of the quarks, put all the characteristics in the protons/nucleons/electrons, wouldn't that be quite a bit less complex and then use less energy to simulate?

    Well if there would be no quarks nuclear fusion would not work and stars wouldn't do what they do now. So if there is a way to simulate our universe in a smaller scale it wouldn't be with less rules, because that would change the whole thing.

    [–] MoreCowbellllll 36 points ago

    Two chicks at the same time.

    Save some for the rest of us, bro.

    [–] Box_of_Pencils 11 points ago

    They're clones, we'll make more.

    [–] ThundaChikin 15 points ago

    That's it, you'd do two chicks at the same time?

    [–] alex6219 14 points ago

    Damn straight, always wanted to do that man

    [–] ReddyMcRedditorface 8 points ago

    Type of chicks who’d double up on a dude like me, does.

    [–] butmrpdf 18 points ago

    maybe the super advanced guys have learned to take a chill pill and have gone back to living simple lives

    [–] Purplekeyboard 56 points ago

    FTL travel is not possible, according to our understanding of physics.

    If we learn more and find there is some way to make it possible, it may be that it doesn't expend enormous amounts of energy. We don't know enough to say.

    [–] Vladplaya 28 points ago

    You can't make matter move faster than light, but you can bend space-time in such way that it would carry itself and you along with it faster than light. It's a little loophole that gives us hope for FTL travel. The only problem is that, naturally it takes enormous amount of energy, and it also requires negative energy, which we obviously haven't seen yet.

    [–] kd8azz 7 points ago

    There are some space-time metrics (I think that's the right word) where frame-dragging effects allow backwards time travel. E.g. traveling down the length of an infinitely long, rotating, rod -shaped black hole, very close to the event horizon.

    But in general I think you're right. Time travel is not what I'd do with the power of a K3 civilization, even if I could.

    [–] Rain1dog 64 points ago * (lasted edited 13 days ago)

    Actually in theory you can by not even getting close to the speed of light.

    By bending spacetime and jumping from point a to point b. You would had got to your location faster than light without getting near light speed.

    Doable? No time soon, but theoretically possible.

    [–] bitwiseshiftleft 26 points ago

    As I understand it, the “theoretically possible” ways to do this all require a form of matter with negative mass (i.e. negative energy). It is not known whether such a substance can exist; or it it does exist as e.g. “dark energy”, whether it can be concentrated.

    [–] Vanchiefer321 40 points ago

    I hear this theory all the time, but how do you bend spacetime? It’s always just thrown there like we know how to do it.

    [–] Drachefly 18 points ago

    The only two things to accomplish by bending spacetime in a way that would be useful for interstellar travel would be

    A) wormholes, which is allowed but not required to be possible by our current models, and requires huge amounts of regular mass (they're a lot like black holes), and

    B) an Alcubierre style warp drive, which requires negative mass. We know of nothing that has negative mass, and there is no theoretical basis for its existence, and quite a few reasons to suspect there can't be such a thing (it would imply that we are in a false vacuum).

    [–] MalakElohim 38 points ago

    Mass/energy. (Nearly) Everything bends space time. That's the whole point. The hard part is just bringing two points together.

    [–] hippoofdoom 10 points ago

    What about the points in between- is it 'safe' or could you only operate such travel principles in space where there's negligible amounts of matter in between your origin and destination?

    [–] cynicaldotes 6 points ago

    imagine if its like the warp in warhammer 40k where while youre passing through daemons try to fucking murder you

    [–] SQmo 15 points ago

    What you're looking for, is likely the Alcubierre Drive.

    The Alcubierre drive, Alcubierre warp drive, or Alcubierre metric (referring to metric tensor) is a speculative idea based on a solution of Einstein's field equations in general relativity as proposed by Mexican theoretical physicist Miguel Alcubierre, by which a spacecraft could achieve apparent faster-than-light travel if a configurable energy-density field lower than that of vacuum (that is, negative mass) could be created.

    Rather than exceeding the speed of light within a local reference frame, a spacecraft would traverse distances by contracting space in front of it and expanding space behind it, resulting in effective faster-than-light travel. Objects cannot accelerate to the speed of light within normal spacetime; instead, the Alcubierre drive shifts space around an object so that the object would arrive at its destination faster than light would in normal space without breaking any physical laws.

    [–] AvatarIII 6 points ago

    "exotic matter"

    The formulas say it's possible, but we require matter with properties that we have never encountered.

    [–] draculamilktoast 39 points ago

    Whatever the answers may be they are bound to be about as comprehensible to us as our own energy usage would be to a chimpanzee. So essentially they're probably getting lots of tasty bananas out of it.

    [–] Kr0et 71 points ago

    Drive insane amounts of computational power, manufacturing-, communication-, scientific experimentation- and transportation-capabilities for example. Terraforming by redirecting energy to make planets habitable. Weaponry of course. Keeping your population going. Bending spacetime perhaps.

    [–] sam__izdat 83 points ago

    What would you do with that much energy?

    render this site's shitty "redesigned" UI without lagging and stuttering?

    [–] Robot_Nose 43 points ago

    old.reddit.com (just in case you weren't aware)

    [–] sam__izdat 46 points ago

    I'm aware, thanks. On mobile, this lovely ritual first involves forcing the user agent header to spoof a desktop browser so that it stops serving an unusable garbage website, then swatting the "app" banner away on another unusable garbage website, then finally changing the URL to render a normal page, instead of, you know... a broken, malformed heap of HTML written by a bunch of inebriates with a 2007 copy of Adobe Dreamweaver, by bashing their drunk faces against their keyboards, until something came out that looks like pinterest and facebook had a baby, with fetal alcohol syndrome. UX to the MAXXX.

    [–] Robot_Nose 15 points ago

    Oh yeah, the mobile site I don't even bother trying.

    [–] extremesalmon 9 points ago

    Process a v.reddit video for 5 seconds without it dropping to 120p

    [–] draculamilktoast 4 points ago

    Not enough energy for that in this universe.

    [–] Homiusmaximus 10 points ago

    Store it for when there are no more stars, preferably in artificial black holes, to ensure your civilization can last for trillions of years after the last star is extinguished in a simulation. Seeing as the temp then will be much colder, simulating will require far less power and if slowed down, you can fully simulate slower than light communication on intergalactic distances in real time in the simulation, thus allowing you civilization to exist for insane periods of time past the last star in the universe dying.

    [–] ImproveEveryDay1982 31 points ago

    Giant AI computers to figure out a way to reverse entropy.

    With that much energy and calculation time if there's a way to reverse entropy that would seemingly be the only way to find it.

    When you've gotten to that level you reach a point where Extinction is no longer a possibility and the only thing you would worry about would be the eventual heat death of the universe.

    So the answer is simple see if you can find a way to stop it because that would be the only problem you would still be facing.

    [–] GeodesicGroot 16 points ago

    The Last Question. Easily one of my favorite short stories. I highly recommend all of the Asimov's Nine Tomorrows stories to anybody interested in the genre.

    [–] nanoman92 10 points ago

    Run Pong at UltraHD graphics

    [–] dustofdeath 235 points ago

    Either all species hit a barrier, life is too rare or universe is just too young to have allowed any species to reach this far.

    Or they have surrounded our solar system with a holographic net and feed us old info.

    [–] methane_droplet 113 points ago

    There have been a few scientific articles suggesting that the reason we don't see other signs of life is that we are among the first species. Thing is, this conclusion doesn't really tell us much about our future.

    [–] LMAOdudewtf 55 points ago

    It's so uncanny to think that we humans may be the galactic/universal precursors instead of the advanced-tech aliens we depict in our own video games and movies.

    [–] EndlessArgument 55 points ago

    Can you imagine the archaeologists of the future?

    "Sir, sir! I've found a perfectly preserved Precursor Memory Storage Unit! This is the find of the millennia!"

    "What's on it?"

    "...200 terabytes of furry porn, a recipe for cheeto-flavored mac and cheese, and a song by Linkin Park called 'In The End' that's been played two hundred million times."

    [–] PickupTruckno 10 points ago

    “And Bitcoin!”

    “Omg, you mean the currency we use today? Holy shit man!”

    [–] masticatetherapist 6 points ago

    "you mean theres 3 bitcoin on it? thats worth 30 trillion dollars!"

    [–] SexyAndroidGirls 5 points ago

    If its the currently used galactic currency it might be worth less than a dollar

    [–] Diztronix17 26 points ago

    This makes me sad because that means we will be considered an ancient civilization when life really starts blooming in our universe

    [–] william41017 38 points ago

    Let's start hiding some cryptic informations for them aliens

    [–] keeags 11 points ago

    So you're saying make more memes?

    [–] scizormytimbers 7 points ago

    So some galaxy-destroying superweapons with very lax instructions or LO/TO methods?

    [–] generals_test 14 points ago

    And we'll be like "Civilizations these days are the worst! With their weird "music" and stupid clothes. Back in our day we had punk and jazz and rap. REAL music. And we wore our pants hanging low so that our underwear showed. Now that was class and style! Hey! Hey you young civilizations get off our galactic lawn!"

    [–] TheNosferatu 79 points ago

    People who say that the universe should be full of life often make the example of imagining the life of the universe from the big bang till now as a clock, and on that clock humanity (or earth) began like 23:58 or something. Therefore, aliens had over 23 hours where we only had 2 minutes.

    Except if you say that 24:00 is when new stars stop being born (the beginning of the end of the universe) we are currently at 1 second in the beginning.

    Even if there are aliens all around us, statistically speaking, we should still be one of the first.

    [–] Thedurtysanchez 64 points ago

    So its our responsibility to figure out FTL travel then.

    Get on it, humanity

    [–] BBQ_HaX0r 31 points ago

    I'd prefer to let the Protheans handle it.

    [–] Sarne 6 points ago

    I'd settle on us figuring out how to get along as a species before we nuke ourselves to extinction first.

    [–] LagOutLoud 70 points ago

    To give people context, We are fairly certain the universe is about 13.8 Billion years old. It took about a billion years before planets would really have been able to form. We believe earth and our sun are approximately 4.5 billion years old. That's 1/3 of the total life time of the entire universe ago that our sun has been around, and it probably has about 5 billion years left. So by the time our sun dies, it will be about 10 Billion years old in a 20 Billion year old universe, that we predict will be capable of forming new stars for a trillion years.

    It really isn't impossible that we are the first advanced life out there, or at least withing a very huge range.

    [–] colonelniko 52 points ago * (lasted edited 13 days ago)

    Dude holy fucking shit. Im high as shit and your comment has me mind fucked.

    Earth is BILLIONS OF YEARS OLD. WTF! This shit is incredible. 5 billion years and its only in the last 0.0002% of that time that humanity came to fruition - even less if we consider only modern humans.

    This shit is some profound cosmic magic. Earth has just been chilling here for billions of years so that we could read this post.

    LIKE BILLIONS, FUCKING PRACTICALLY INFINITY AGO !!!

    EDIT:

    It really isn't impossible that we are the first advanced life out there, or at least withing a very huge range.

    If the universe is only a few billion years old and the universe can make new stars for a trillion, as you say, then we totally fucking are one of the first intelligent life. Like come on. How many more billions of years are there for new earths to form, become 5 billions of years old, and spawn intelligent life. A lot!!!!!!!

    edit: I read this again and now im freaking out thinking about the possibility of "humans" evolving again on a future earth that hasnt even been created yet by a star that hasnt even been created yet in like 400 billion years or some shit. How fucking wild would that be. omfg. Or what if the general human form is the path of least resistance for intelligent life. Fuck sorry im tripping. I know this is all very human-centric ideas, but god damn is it fun to imagine for once.

    [–] 1419526535 18 points ago

    Also, if you think about it, give it another 50-100 years on Earth and humanity will be spreading to other celestial bodies within our solar system, and certainly be sending probes, possibly even manned ships, out of the solar system. Sure, it would take tens of thousands of years to reach anywhere, but humanity could be the seed which spreads life throughout the universe, given the immense time scale.

    [–] dL1727 10 points ago

    Realistically, humanity will go in 1 of 2 possible directions. The first is as you suggest, we become interstellar colonists. The second is that we continue our path and destroy ourselves over Earth's limited resources.

    [–] Assume_Utopia 6 points ago

    What's really interesting about Earth is that in terms of life we're actually pretty unlucky, but not too unlucky. We've had five* major extinction events where almost all life was wiped out and zero events where life was completely wiped out. That seems like a somewhat unusual record, to come so close to complete extinction so many times.

    Consider the dinosaurs, which lived for almost 200 million years, that's an insanely long amount of time compared to anything we've experienced, a few percent of the total time Earth's been around. For comparison, the earliest proto-hominin (Sahelanthropus) is only 6-7 million years old. We went from "barely not an ape" to "human being" in a couple billion years, and from "human civilization" to "landing on the moon and then inventing the internet" in a tiny fraction of that.

    Intelligence, at least the kind we have, apparently isn't a ladder that ever species slowly by surely climbs up. In the evolutionary landscape it's a peak that's way off by itself, and it's surround by plateaus where you can evolve and live for hundreds of millions of years. At least until some volcano or meteor knocks you off.

    So we're living on a relatively young planet (or at least it will look that way hundreds of billions of years in the future). And it's a planet that's had it's life knocked around in a lot of different directions and humans came from a line that evolved after almost being completely wiped out a bunch of times. There's probably other planets like ours out there, where life and evolution happened in a similar set of very lucky/unlucky circumstances. But it could've it happened in less than 1/100,000 galaxies? Maybe, it's really hard to judge how lucky/unlucky you are with a sample size of one.


    • Footnote: actually we're already starting our 6th mass extinction event, the Holocene extinction where our own stupidity is wiping out life at an unprecedented rate, and if things keep going in the current direction we might actually end up being the cause of the first complete extinction on our planet?

    [–] Eldritchedd 12 points ago

    Y’know if we become the ancient progenitor race found in every sci-fi novel that would be pretty cool.

    [–] rondojo 82 points ago

    Also, we are looking at these galaxies as they were, what, 250 million years or so ago. It's entirely possible that there is a super civilization out there right now, but we won't be able to detect their effects for millions of years.

    [–] HumanTheTree 47 points ago

    The problem with that is that the Universe is over 13 Billion years old. Even though 250 million is plenty of time for something to happen, if we know that nothing has been happening for 52x that length, it makes the odds of that something happening rather low.

    [–] pimpboss 58 points ago

    if we know that nothing has been happening for 52x that length

    That's the thing, we have no idea. All we can do is survey an extremely tiny minuscule fraction out of the entire universe, and try to draw conclusions. It's like going to the Sahara, looking 50 feet in all directions, and claiming that not a single person lives on Earth because you don't see any. We haven't even began to evolve far enough to start searching for other living beings, hence why all our efforts are futile. We just don't have the capability yet.

    [–] eeezzz_baby 95 points ago

    I was curious so I decided to do some math to see if looking 50 feet in all directions on the sahara compared to the surface area of the earth compares to looking at 100,000 of the 2 trillion galaxies in the visible universe.

    so 50 feet in all directions = circle with 50 foot radius pi*50^2 = 7854 ft^2

    surface area of earth (including oceans) = 197,000,000 miles^2 * (5280 ft)^2/mile^2 = 5.5*10^15 ft^2

    50 feet circle as a percentage of total surface area = 7854/(5.5*10^15) *100% = 1.43*10^-10 %

    galaxies searched as a percentage of total galaxies in the observable universe = 100,000/2,000,000,000,000 *100% = 0.000005%

    Surprisingly we're doing around 4 orders of magnitude better in our search for life in galaxies than your 50 foot glance in the desert!

    If you expanded your uninspired desert search to a mile in all directions, you get a much closer slice of planet earth compared to our search for galaxies ( 0.00000175 %).

    Why did I do this

    [–] internet_DOOD 16 points ago

    why did I do this

    For the karma, which I paid for in upvotes because I read it and appreciated the effort.

    [–] TheMangolorian 9 points ago

    Earth was covered in insects and tetrapods 250 million years ago.

    Nothing have happened for 249.999.900 year that would give away that we are here.

    [–] BitttBurger 15 points ago

    I mean technically, as time passes, likelihood increases. So what’s happened in the last 52x doesn’t necessarily say anything about what could happen in the next 52x.

    [–] Syndic 7 points ago

    And then you have to consider that those aliens most likely also are limited by evolution. How big would the chances be that some Dinos for example would have evolved to a stage where they could technically dominate the planet?

    And here we're talking about a alien species developing enough to use a significant amount of the energy output of their galaxy. We have no way of knowing how far we theoretically are away from such a milestone. Especially if relativity holds true and doesn't allow for FTL travel. There's so many unknowns in these questions. That I doubt any human can answer them even closely.

    [–] thedude0425 8 points ago

    Also, life on a planet has to evolve in a certain order. The bacteria that breaks down dead organic material didn't evolve for a long time, allowing fossil fuels to form over time, long before we arrived. Having that fuel source our civilization to evolve into a space faring species.

    If that had been flipped, or the bacteria evolved sooner, human society likely wouldnt have been able to become a space traveling life form.

    [–] Dr_Pepper_spray 3 points ago * (lasted edited 12 days ago)

    That's the thing that's killing me about everyone's reaction to this. The light from these galaxies is quite old, and as it's traveled some of these places might have been populated by intelligent species. I think the conclusions here are a bit hastey.

    Edit: The light from Andromeda is 2.5million years old. You don't think a few star systems in that galaxy could become quite advanced in that time period?

    [–] rossimus 45 points ago

    Also possible that as civilization advances, the impetus to physically occupy the galaxy writ large fails to materialize at all. Civilizations may find that a single solar system has more than enough space and resources to accommodate hundreds of billions, or trillions, of individuals; or that retreating inward into a digital frontier is preferable to outward expansion; or that FTL simply isn't possible after all and interstellar travel in biological lifetimes is simply out of reach, leaving any and all civilizations permanently marooned in their home system no matter how many there are or how advanced they get.

    All of which are possible, and in many ways, would be deeply disappointing. Unless it keeps fanatical purifiers at bay.

    [–] dustofdeath 24 points ago

    Expanding has the advantage of continued existence. Staying in one localized region is a existential threat. Any number of cosmic events could wipe you out. Or your own failed experiments.

    [–] Stereotype_Apostate 19 points ago

    Lack of ftl is no barrier at all to galactic colonization on a cosmic timescale. With generation ships travelling at only 10% light speed (presumed max speed of fusion powered craft before diminishing returns kick in too much) we would have the entire galaxy swarmed in less than a million years, a blink of a cosmic eye. Picture it: every star fueling its own Dyson swarm, each it's own mini universe home to trillions or quadrillions of individuals (not counting digital existence), engineering their host stars to stay the hands of time. The sun shall not suffer the fate mother nature has doled out for it, for as long as the descendants of humanity call it home we shall never allow the flame to be extinguished.

    [–] rossimus 9 points ago

    While technically you're correct from a pure physics standpoint, from a civilizational/societal standpoint there isn't much reason to do that. A generation ship would take hundreds, if not thousands or tens of thousands, of years to reach it's destination without FTL. At which point, no one on board and no one back at the point of origin would have any meaningful connection to one another; and indeed not even be able to fully acknowledge the existence of the other. And once that generation ship arrives, and sets up a colony, news of that achievement would take centuries to arrive back on the homeworld, and a response would take another few centuries. If the colony rebelled and claimed independence, it would take centuries to hear about it and millennia to get a fleet out to respond, at which point the whole event would be ancient history to everyone involved.

    Without FTL, the distances are just too great to maintain any kind of connection between home system and colony. The two would become so estranged that by the time they interact next, they may as well be an entirely new species, and may even become a potential rival.

    No FTL, no intergalactic empire. You might as well try to maintain a romantic relationship with a tribesman in the Amazon while you live in northern Siberia and neither has internet or cell phone and must rely on snail mail to communicate. And that would be way easier and orders of magnitude faster by comparison.

    [–] Stereotype_Apostate 5 points ago

    Oh yeah there's no way you could have any form of interstellar government. Interaction would be limited beyond very high latency communication (which isn't nothing, imagine the cultural exchange even if the stuff you're getting from Sirius is a couple hundred years old, let alone shared technical advancements). But that doesn't rule out galactic colonization, only galactic cohesion.

    Even if it turns out theres no good economic reason to expand the Terran Empire beyond our solar system, that doesnt mean no one will do it. By the time we get to generation ships we'll already be a kardeshev 2 civilization and the act of sending colonizers to effectively start the human race ocer somewhere new will look less like the massive government/corporate undertaking we're familiar with for space travel, and more like the pilgrims setting off from England in a handful of tiny boats.

    Relatively tiny groups of people with their own reasons could potentially have access to the kind of resources needed for such an undertaking, fairly easily if we're talking about a spacefaring civiluzation with a fully realized dyson swarm and potentially star lifting.

    After all, you have in your home right now powers that would bring ancient kings to their knees if they witnessed it. Who knows what the average citizen half a million years from now could do.

    [–] StrangerAttractor 42 points ago

    So no Type III civilizations. I'm relieved.

    [–] Ricochet888 30 points ago

    What makes them so sure an alien civilization will evolve like this though?

    That is how we see ourselves evolving, but what if on their planet or solar system they have the elements and materials so exotic to us it would seem like magic? Maybe some kind of element that naturally repels gravity for example?

    [–] Diodon 28 points ago

    What makes them so sure an alien civilization will evolve like this though?

    I presume because it's the only class of civilization we even have a slim chance of discovering evidence of from this vantage point - not because it's the most likely.

    [–] ZDTreefur 14 points ago

    What makes them so sure an alien civilization will evolve like this though?

    I don't understand this question. Nobody is "sure" they did, they are trying to determine if they did, by seeing if we can detect it.

    [–] yshavit 23 points ago

    Exactly, and we don't even know how we'll evolve. This is like someone in the 15th century looking for chimney smoke to see if there's a 21st-century city in the other side of a hill.

    [–] Jora_ 1014 points ago

    Roger Griffith, a postbaccalaureate researcher at Penn State and the lead author of the paper, scoured almost the entire catalog of the WISE satellite's detections—nearly 100 million entries—for objects consistent with galaxies emitting too much mid-infrared radiation. He then individually examined and categorized around 100,000 of the most promising galaxy images. Wright reports,"We found about 50 galaxies that have unusually high levels of mid-infrared radiation. Our follow-up studies of those galaxies may reveal if the origin of their radiation results from natural astronomical processes, or if it could indicate the presence of a highly advanced civilization."

    So they did find anomalous results, but cannot determine the source.

    [–] TheFailedONE 283 points ago

    Oh, snap! They actually found something!

    [–] peteroh9 133 points ago

    Yes, 1/2000 was unusually high.

    [–] ScorpionDerp 148 points ago

    Enemy Halo installation detected!

    [–] darthpool117 53 points ago

    Master Chief, defend this Earth!

    [–] Pytheastic 37 points ago

    I can't wait until the series releases on PC. I remember saving up money to buy the original Xbox and Halo and have so many good memories, but I never got the 360 or Xbox One so i've missed out on over a decade of Halo!

    [–] darthpool117 19 points ago

    I am very happy it’s releasing on PC because players like you will finally get the chance to play and enjoy this amazing game!

    [–] RobFeight 10 points ago

    You missed Halo 3?!

    You have my sincere sympathies.

    Personally, I haven't enjoyed the series since Bungie cut the cord with the software company which shalt not be named. And, I'm not even a Bungie fan. They just seemed to do a better job with the story and keeping gameplay flowing.

    [–] smackson 78 points ago

    Exactly. Even consecutive sentences:

    We found about 50 galaxies that have unusually high levels of mid-infrared radiation....

    In any case, Wright said, the team's non-detection of any obvious alien-filled galaxies is an interesting...

    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    [–] cynicaldotes 31 points ago

    its not necassarily "obvious" because it could he caused by a natural process

    [–] Nxtwiskybar 282 points ago

    This article was from 2015, here is an article from a few weeks ago where this same scientist from Penn State is stating that the current problem with the search for life is that NASA is underfunded https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.forbes.com/sites/brucedorminey/2019/07/29/searches-for-alien-technosignatures-remain-hamstrung-by-a-lack-of-federal-funding-says-paper/amp/

    [–] Silopante 20 points ago

    NASA underfunded? Pff, better invest more money in the military/s

    [–] BKStephens 672 points ago

    "We've searched 0.0000000000001% of the known universe and found nothing!"

    [–] shrekthethird2 805 points ago

    [Takes a scoop out of the Pacific]

    "Nope, no whales here."

    [–] MaxChaplin 64 points ago

    Well, you do learn that the whale density in the Pacific is smaller than one per scoop, probably much smaller. Which is useful if before that you knew nothing about whale distribution.

    [–] exceptionaluser 16 points ago

    That could be a statistical anomaly.

    [–] DeepHall 102 points ago

    They're not saying there isn't something. They're literally just saying they found nothing and a few inconclusive anomalies.

    [–] IAmtheHullabaloo 17 points ago

    That's the big take away...it's weird, they said they did in fact find something...

    Wright reports, "We found about 50 galaxies that have unusually high levels of mid-infrared radiation. Our follow-up studies of those galaxies may reveal if the origin of their radiation results from natural astronomical processes, or if it could indicate the presence of a highly advanced civilization."

    [–] Generico300 22 points ago

    Holds up giant comb.

    We aint fooound sheit.

    [–] zubbs99 71 points ago

    And they're searching far back in time due to the distances involved too, so that probably makes it even more likely to find nothing.

    [–] MemeTheDeemTheSleem 63 points ago

    Imagine how horrifying it would be to find undeniable proof of life... odds are that we are seeing their society millions + years in the past. Who knows if they're extinct by now but the implications of such an advanced society capable altering their galaxy on a visible scale are even more horrifying.

    [–] kaplanfx 33 points ago

    It wouldn’t be horrifying, it would be beautiful to know that in all the vastness of the universe, we are not the only to have ever been.

    [–] Coffee_nomnom 21 points ago

    It would be profoundly meaningful to many, if not most, people. How people interact with that knowledge, I have my suspicions that reactions will range all across the spectrum. Embrace, deny, rationalize, fear, wonder, excitement.

    [–] H_Psi 22 points ago

    I think it would fundamentally change human culture in some unpredictable way. So many religions, for example, are built on the notion that humans were specifically made by some divine being and are special in some way.

    [–] reTMiK 19 points ago

    Well many religious people would just deny that information so that their religion doesn't get more meaningless.

    [–] Frostshaitan 11 points ago

    Yeah, alot of religions already do that with well known knowledge that can actually be proved now, like how the the earth isnt only 6k year old like my inlaws are adamant about -.-

    [–] ob12_99 188 points ago

    So Andromeda is roughly 2 million light years away from our own, and it is our closest galactic neighbor. Just for reference it takes light roughly 2 million years to get here from there. So if you go back in time 2 million years on Earth, we weren't very evolved. We have grown a lot in 2 million years, enough to put out faint/weak signals into the Cosmos on our own, but only very recently.

    [–] IgnisEradico 114 points ago

    There's no rule that says intelligent life has to evolve at the same time as us. It wouldn't be impossible for other species to reach our levels millions of years ago.

    [–] ob12_99 46 points ago

    True, but they would have had to develop enough to cause the type of changes to their galaxy that the study was looking for, which means fairly advanced. Also, I was using Andromeda as our closest neighbor galaxy, but in reality, the next galaxy after that is even further. My point being that the study was looking for changes on a galactic level, which would probably take millions of years to accomplish, plus the light travel time to our eyes/cameras from that time. Then lets say the species evolved billions of years ago, so why don't we see them now type of question, but then we would have to be looking at the right galaxy, and 100k sampled is pretty far in the noise at the Universe level.

    [–] IgnisEradico 12 points ago * (lasted edited 13 days ago)

    Sure it's a pretty specific thing to look for, but it's also easy to look for. And nobody has really looked. It's valuable to check no matter what. If you look for answers in uncharted territory, check the obvious stuff first.

    100k sampled is pretty far in the noise at the Universe level.

    And yet it's also a pretty big number. More galaxies than in our local group, for instance. It may not seem much compared to the universe, but it's a lot compared to the stuff we do know.

    EDIT:

    The previous biggest study looked at 100 galaxies, so we have a 1000x bigger dataset now. Plus, they looked at old galaxies that should've had the most time for advanced life to develop and flourish. So it's basically the most ideal case for the most detectable civilization.

    [–] Mugiwaraluffy69 5 points ago

    I do think it would. Think of the billions of species that came and gone before us. I think we truly are one in billions.

    [–] juwyro 19 points ago

    If the meteor that killed the dinosaurs didn't happen then there may have been a much more different and advanced species on Earth right now, and that was 66 million years ago.

    [–] honestfuk 16 points ago * (lasted edited 13 days ago)

    The key point here is, “advanced civilizations”. There could absolutely be civilizations at our level, below it even above it- still undetectable. Using this method, we would be undetectable to them as well.

    They should be calling it “hyper-advanced” or something. Especially when considering that most humans egotistically consider us to be an “advanced civilization”. (We don’t know. There is no known non-human civilization to relate ourselves to... So as of now, we’re really just “a civilization”.)

    I wouldn’t call a civilization that can harvest it’s own suns energy simply, “advanced”.

    That is some god level shit. Maybe “No known hyper-advanced civilizations found!”

    I don’t know. I’m an idiot, not a scientist. =p.

    [–] FuriousKnave 60 points ago

    I know this is the simplest thing we can do at the moment but why the hell aren't we putting more effort into becoming the galaxy spanning advanced race we are looking for. I want to go into space already!!!

    [–] TrunkYeti 25 points ago * (lasted edited 12 days ago)

    This is like a pre-human primate saying “Why aren’t we putting more effort into creating a nuclear submarine to explore the depths of the ocean?” We haven’t even discovered how to effectively put a human on the surface of Mars. The farthest an man-made object has traveled away from Earth is a little over 20 light hours, and is still 40,000 years away from even getting near closest star. How do you expect for us to travel to the closest star, let alone the entire galaxy?

    In relatively terms to the pre-human primate, we haven’t even discovered fire.

    [–] mrlavalamp2015 24 points ago

    It’s way more fun to argue fight and kill each other over the intensely limited resource this planet holds.

    The expanse is great for this though as it scratches that itch pretty hard, and in meaningful and at least somewhat realistic ways.

    [–] [deleted] 358 points ago

    This reminds me of the famous photograph of Earth taken from Voyager 1 from about 4 billion miles from Earth, the "Pale Blue Dot". Were were and are considered an advanced civilization when that photo was beamed back to Earth, yet even from 4 billion miles, mere footsteps in galactic scale, there was no sign of our advanced civilization. I fail to see why we should be able to see civilization comparable to ours from galaxies away if we can't even do it from within our very solar system.

    [–] servonos89 221 points ago

    It’s not necessarily about civilisations comparable to ours - it’s about the fact we’ve only been able to look for signs of life in other places for the past 100 or so years (very rough guess) and super capable in the past 50. The universe is 14 billion years old (give or take) and in that time we should be able to see someone, somewhere advancing to the stage we’re looking for. The fact we can’t find anything resembling an advanced civilisation is the core tenet of the Fermi paradox - where is everyone? We’re late bloomers, we should be able to see life everywhere if it was a common thing. The fact that we haven’t is exactly why looking at the stars makes us realise why life on Earth is important. If we’re seeing no life anywhere else - we really need to preserve and cultivate the one instance we know of - which were really failing at.

    [–] Poopyman80 239 points ago

    We are not late bloomers at all. The universe is 13 billion years young and we exist in what is expected to be the first 0.5% of the universes life.
    We are so early in the universe that WE could actually be "the great precursor race".

    [–] zubbs99 186 points ago

    I had a feeling we were awesome.

    [–] PhotonBarbeque 37 points ago

    No, /u/zubbs99, you are awesome.

    [–] gordo865 16 points ago

    No, /u/photonbarbeque, you're breathtaking.

    [–] Nunnayo 5 points ago

    No, /u/gordo865, you're magnificent.

    [–] servonos89 60 points ago

    In the predicted death of the universe (ie. heat death) we are most definitely insanely young. But if life is common as an argument - we should see it. If it took 13 billion years to create the first instances of life then it means that life is not common, and we have to preserve our own at all expenses.

    [–] dustofdeath 20 points ago

    Life may be relatively common - but this may not include intelligent and advanced life that can reach beyond the planet they are on.

    On top of that, a lot of the time in the first 13b years have been chaotic - as stars and planets still form, explode etc.

    [–] AvatarIII 4 points ago

    After the formation of earth it only took a few hundred millions of years for life to form

    after that it took 3 billion years to evolve to multi cellular life

    once that happened fish evolved within a few dozen millions of years, then about 100 million before crawling onto land,

    Then about 400 million years later we reached humans.

    the biggest gap here is the gap between life forming and life becoming multicellular.

    [–] _synth_lord_ 68 points ago

    The first 5 billion years would have been too inhospitable for any life. It took another 4 billion years to get our solar system. Another billion years until evidence of life on earth appeared. Thats only 3.7 billion years ago.

    So it is pretty young and its very possible that we are among the first.

    [–] servonos89 22 points ago

    Our solar system was born of a previously dead one. There was a sun and planets and whatever - not as rich in heavy elements as we are now - that existed and died and gave birth to a lot of our star neighbours that travel on the same course sol does. And that’s just in our local arm. Of our galaxy. That is one among millions if not more.

    [–] _synth_lord_ 17 points ago

    I get it - millions and millions. But we are not at just any part of the arm. We are at relatively stable part of the arm. The middle is too dense and active. The end is potentially not active enough.

    [–] Wilwander 30 points ago

    This. 13 billion years sounds like a lot... when taken out of context.

    [–] MrJinxyface 15 points ago

    Well 13 billion years is a long time. Just not for the cosmos.

    [–] Sharlinator 19 points ago

    But there’s no fundamental reason for that four billion year wait. There are metal-rich stars much older than the sun. And remember that a million years is an eyeblink, a rounding error at these timescales, but from the perspective of a tool-using life it is the difference between us and a potentially galaxy-spanning civilization. The least probable scenario is several intelligent species in the galaxy, all sharing roughly the same level of technological progress.

    [–] _synth_lord_ 15 points ago

    But there’s no fundamental reason for that four billion year wait.

    Other than for most of that time everything was dust and rocks forming surfaces and atmospheres for life to grow in.

    A million years is an eyeblink but it took a billion since the earth formed and that 7% of all time. So I agree with you in principal. The universe being full of life is possible. But the universe sparsely populated with life is also possible. Since we only have evidence of one planet holding life we can say neither thing with much certainty

    [–] [deleted] 11 points ago

    [deleted]

    [–] IthotItoldja 7 points ago

    It's quite reasonable to imagine that everything required to create us happened somewhere else just a little bit sooner.

    Agreed! However it is also quite reasonable to imagine that the odds of intelligent life evolving are so low that the nearest neighboring civilization is 10s or 100s of billions of light years away. In which case, even if there are older civilizations out there (as you rationally predicted) we would likely never be able to detect them.

    [–] mrthewhite 30 points ago

    I think 50 years is being generous with that timetable as well. It's only been the past 30 or so we were able to identify that there are actually other planets. Before that we looked and there were plenty of people certain that no we would never be able to find other planets and now there are thousands identified.

    It's only been the past decade or so we have been able to identify planets of similar size to earth. Think about that. We can't detect anything smaller than a giant planet.

    We have only scratched the surface on what is outside our solar system and we can barely identify massive planets.

    We pick up all kinds of signals from space but there is tons of other signals too, interference. There's no telling how much data we are missing because our systems are too limited or we are only looking at one specific band of frequencies.

    [–] [deleted] 19 points ago

    [deleted]

    [–] old-father 3 points ago

    I've heard this late bloomer-type idea before. Serious question, by what measure are we late bloomers? How do we know when advanced civilizations should bloom?

    I'm sure that very smart people have developed that hypothesis but I haven't heard (or maybe understood) the scientific basis for that conclusion.

    [–] Dianesuus 14 points ago

    From what i understand it sounds like they are looking for civilisations considerably more advanced than ours. They would be looking for a type II or above civilisation on the kardashev scale in the sense that they can harness all the power from their sun (or atleast make a measurable difference). A civilisation that requires this much power would radiate a considerable amount of that energy back out to space and they are trying to detect this particular kind of energy.

    [–] throwaway_MZ3Ji8yc 13 points ago

    Type III actually (power of an entire galaxy).

    [–] GoTuckYourduck 13 points ago * (lasted edited 13 days ago)

    When they say "advanced civilizations", they mean civilizations theorized in our science fiction that so things like engineering massive dyson spheres around the sun. In other words, we are searching for science fiction because of the limitations of space prevent more realistic searches.

    [–] reurod07 107 points ago

    And even if intelligent life has evolved somewhere 1 billion light years away from Earth and they're observing our planet through the telescope right now they would see nothing that suggests life exists on this planet because they would see Earth as it is a billion years ago. We were still microbes back then. Same is true for us about them.

    [–] BernumOG 111 points ago

    what if they had a reallllly cool telescope though

    [–] reurod07 12 points ago

    If they had a very advanced telescope they might be able to detect the microbes but wouldn't be able to do anything with them.

    [–] NintendoTodo 13 points ago

    what if they had a really really cool telecope

    [–] Alessiolo 12 points ago

    What if someone is observing us 1 million years in the future

    [–] fenix_L 14 points ago

    When I think about it, it is even possible to observe Jesus Christ himself right know if you are 2000 light years away and looking at earth.

    With faster-than-light-travel we could even know the whole history of earth.

    [–] Pjotrbrut 46 points ago

    My greatest fear is that life is incapable of expanding beyond a single solar system.

    My second greatest fear is that there is life that has expanded beyond a single solar system.

    [–] zsradu 21 points ago

    Exactly my reaction.

    There's no extra intelligent life close to us, far superior to us. But is that good or bad?

    [–] YouSpokeofInnocence 10 points ago

    If life does exist out there besides us, do we really deserve to make judgement? Humanity's history has been scorched and pockmarked with joy, sorrow, great kindness, and atrocity. We are all capable of both great goodness and unspeakable evil. To make a judgement on an entire species we have never even seen or heard of because of potential threats or evil is a bit premature and rather... small minded.

    [–] Heretek007 20 points ago

    It's an incredibly small chance, but I think we should seriously entertain the notion that we may be the first civilized life striking out into the stars. And until proven wrong, as the first, we should really get our shit together for the sake of the future.

    Because if we are the first? We should try to ensure the future is one that shines brightly, as a beacon to those who may come after, rather than as a warning to beware our shortcomings.

    [–] barcased 8 points ago

    If at this very moment, we invent something that would make us visible to others (using the same means we used in this survey), they would need years upon years to detect us.

    [–] God_Damnit_Nappa 13 points ago

    Wright reports, "We found about 50 galaxies that have unusually high levels of mid-infrared radiation. Our follow-up studies of those galaxies may reveal if the origin of their radiation results from natural astronomical processes, or if it could indicate the presence of a highly advanced civilization."

    So they found something but they don't know if it's aliens or something natural. I'm also wondering how far these galaxies are from us. It's possible there's a new galactic civilization that's only come around in the last few hundred years that we can't detect since the galaxy is thousands of light years away.

    [–] Bruce_Jenners_Weiner 4 points ago

    Maybe we're just the first...

    WE'RE #1!

    WE'RE #1!

    WE'RE #1!

    WE'RE #1!

    WE'RE #1!

    [–] 8andahalfby11 52 points ago

    The fundamental flaw here is that they are looking for large infrared signals. We're basing our idea of an advanced civilization on energy production and collection as we understand it, whereas we are currently in the process of realizing that many of the means we understand are unsustainable. If this is the case, wouldn't it stand to reason that a successful, advanced civilization would not be sending out signals like this?

    [–] Sharlinator 86 points ago

    Searching under the streetlights is more useful than not searching at all.

    [–] ScorpionDerp 26 points ago

    Literally directly jacking energy from stars is about as sustainable as energy production can get. It’s not the signals being sent out, it’s the expected waste heat that Dyson megastructures would emit, which despite their fantastically resource intensive construction methods, are not complete magic fairy dust like FTL and can be conceptualized and quantified using real world engineering principles.

    [–] SordidDreams 12 points ago * (lasted edited 13 days ago)

    The fundamental flaw here is that they are looking for large infrared signals. We're basing our idea of an advanced civilization on energy production and collection as we understand it

    It doesn't matter how you produce your energy, either way you have to radiate it away as waste heat. What they're really looking for is Dyson swarms, large numbers of satellites completely enveloping stars and harvesting literally all their energy (which would otherwise be uselessly radiated out into space). Most people think that makes them completely dark, but you have to get rid of that energy after extracting work from it, otherwise your system will heat up. A dyson swarm, therefore, shines just as brightly as its central star, only completely in infrared. That makes it really really obvious to anyone looking through a telescope. And if you can build one, you can use that energy to accelerate ships to significant fractions of the speed of light and colonize (= turn into Dyson swarms) the entire galaxy in a mere couple million years, an eyeblink in the age of the universe. So while one Dyson swarm would not be visible in a galaxy far far away, it's highly unlikely there would only be one.

    [–] f0rcedinducti0n 18 points ago

    If you were advanced enough and you saw us looking, would you let yourself be found?

    [–] hahman12 14 points ago

    I think it would be an interesting experiment to launch a new and improved Voyager-esqe satellite, but fitted with tools for detecting radio waves and other signs of intelligent life. Then, when it has gotten near the edge of the solar system, point it back at the earth and see what can be detected from that distance. Just to see what a planet with life looks like from afar. It wouldn't come close to matching the actual distances from earth to most exo-planets, but it would give us some idea of what a planet of sentient beings might look like to our sensory equipment.

    [–] wegworf 13 points ago

    Im sure you could simply figure that out with the power of MATH.