This Animated Explanation of the Fermi Paradox Explores Whether We're Alone in the Universe

Alien Life
Thursday, 07 May 2015 - 2:20PM

Are we alone in the universe? And if there are aliens, where are they? If there are super advanced alien civilizations with the ability to travel through galaxies and contact faraway planets, why haven't we heard from them? This ambitious little animated video from Kurz Gesagt attempts to answer all those questions, and undercut the gravity of our isolation in the universe with cute cartoons:

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. 

In the above video, the narrator explains that if there is life in other galaxies, we'll never know about them, because as a result of the expansion of the universe, they would likely need to travel for billions of years to get to us. But even just in the Milky Way, if a tiny fraction of the rocky planets that are in their star's habitable zone harbored life, there would be approximately 1,000,000,000 planets with life in our galaxy. So where are they?

[Credit: Kurz Gesagt]

They explore some solutions to the paradox, but they also raise the question of whether we're just alone in the universe. "Does that thought scare you? If so, you're having the correct emotional reaction," the narrator says. He then goes on to explain that thinking about alien life, or a lack thereof, should remind us that if we allow life on Earth to go extinct by neglecting our planet, then the entire universe might be dead.