Criticisms of Einstein's Theory of Relativity May Mean that Alien Probes Have Reached Earth

Monday, 28 July 2014 - 12:05PM
Astrophysics
Physics
Alien Life
Monday, 28 July 2014 - 12:05PM
Criticisms of Einstein's Theory of Relativity May Mean that Alien Probes Have Reached Earth

Mathematicians from the University of Edinburgh calculated that alien probes may already have explored this galaxy. 

 

In an article published in the International Journal of Astrobiology, Drs Arwen Nicholson and Duncan H. Forgan asserted that they may have found a solution to the Fermi Paradox. The Fermi Paradox explores the discrepancy between the age of the Earth (10^9 years) and the calculated amount of time it would take for a technologically advanced alien civilization to discover and colonize Earth (often found to be approximately 10^6 to 10^8 years). In other words, if intelligent aliens who are more technologically advanced than humans exist, then they should have found us by now. 

 

Their results reinforce the Fermi Paradox in a sense, as they found that the calculation of the amount of time it should take for the aliens to reach us is approximately correct. They detailed their findings that the most efficient way to explore the universe would be to use self-replicating probes that use slingshot maneuvers to explore galaxies. Slingshot maneuvers, used by NASA's Voyager 1 and 2 probes, involve using the nearest star's gravitational field to increase velocity. These proposed probes would use slingshot maneuvers in order to travel as quickly as possible, and they would use decision making algorithms to decide on a star to explore, and then upon reaching the star they would build another, identical probe from material accumulated in space, and that probe would explore another star. Upon calculating the amount of time it would take to explore the entire Milky Way using this method from computer simulations, the researchers found that it would indeed take less time than the age of the Earth. From the paper: "Our results confirm that a fleet of self-replicating probes can explore the Galaxy in a timescale commensurate with those normally assumed when posing the Fermi Paradox... proving that the question underlying the Fermi Paradox is well-posed."

 

As a result, they concluded that it's very possible that alien probes have already reached Earth, and are simply undetectable: "[It is possible that] humanity's ignorance to potential evidence of [extraterrestrial intelligence] is not appreciated... [and] any objects sent by aliens not intended to be found, will not be found." They propose that either the alien technology is advanced to the point that our technology is insufficient to detect it, or that they may have equipped them with gauges for our intelligence, and we would need to reach a certain level of evolution in order to interact with the probes.

 

As all of their calculations are based on the notion that it is impossible to travel faster than the speed of light, this scenario becomes even more likely if aliens could potentially travel faster than the speed of light, which would directly contradict Einstein's theory of relativity. However, the scientific community is becoming increasingly critical of the theory that has long been taken for granted. Researchers have theorized, for example, that the theory of black holes extrapolated from general relativity is at least incomplete, if not incorrect, and that Einstein's calculation of the speed of light was actually an overestimate. Most significantly, NASA physicists believe that they have found a loophole in Einstein's theory of relativity that would allow them to build a real-life warp drive, or a spacecraft that could travel faster than the speed of light. If a warp drive is possibly within our grasp, then aliens could explore the universe exponentially faster, and it would seem that the only way in which the Fermi paradox could be reconciled with the calculations yielded from the Drake equation would be to conclude that alien civilizations have already arrived.

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