Since the 1960s, the Drake Equation has been used to predict how many communicative extraterrestrial civilizations exist in the Milky Way galaxy. Along these same lines, a new formula seeks to estimate the frequency at which life emerges on a planet—a calculation that might allow us to figure out the likelihood of…
The disturbing Fermi Paradox suggests we should have made contact with an extraterrestrial civilization by now, yet we haven’t. By applying a 500-year-old philosophical principle, a Cornell University researcher has shown that the Great Silence is not unexpected—we just need to give it more time.
Red dwarfs are the most common type of star in the galaxy. But new research suggests that life within these systems may be limited, due to the stiflingly hot atmospheres on Earth-sized planets that orbit the red dwarfs.
We have yet to discover a single trace of alien life, despite the extremely high probability that it exists somewhere. This contradiction is popularly known as the Fermi Paradox. A new theory attempts to solve this conundrum by suggesting that habitable planets are quite common in our galaxy, but nascent life gets…
In 1977, astronomer Jerry R. Ehman observed a data signal so unique he drew a red circle around it and wrote “Wow!” to emphasize the discovery. The source of the signal was never identified, leading some to say it was aliens. But a new study suggests it wasn’t aliens at all—but rather a hydrogen cloud caused by comets.
An oddly dimming star located 1,500 light-years from Earth is causing all sorts of commotion in the scientific community, leading some to speculate that it may be some sort of alien megastructure. A new analysis of infrared data suggests a more natural explanation.
There’s a red dwarf about 35 light-years from here that’s spewing powerful, life crushing solar flares into space. These types of stellar objects are fairly common, leading to speculation that our galaxy is less habitable than we thought.
The science world is all in a tizzy this week about the supposed discovery of an alien megastructure. It’s an intriguing theory, no doubt, but one deserving hefty amounts of skepticism. As we’ve learned before, inexplicable observations are all too often confused for aliens. Here are some classic examples.
Researchers at the University of Washington’s Virtual Planetary Laboratory have devised a new habitability index for judging how suitable alien planets might be for life. The point of the exercise is to help scientists prioritize future targets for close-ups from NASA’s yet-to-be-launched James Webb Space Telescope…
It’s generally assumed that we will eventually find signs of life in the galaxy. But rarely do we consider searching for advanced civilizations that have destroyed themselves. Here’s how we could do it—and what the search for dead aliens could tell us about our own future.
Yesterday, NASA’s Kepler team announced the discovery of the most Earth-like planet yet. It may be larger than Earth, but this exoplanet is situated firmly within its star’s habitable zone—and it’s been there for a while. So could it actually sustain life?
Earlier today, during the announcement of the most Earth-like planet ever discovered, researchers working on the Kepler mission released an updated catalog—which now includes 521 new candidate planets. Add that to the 4,175 already discovered by the space-based telescope.
Russian billionaire Yuri Milner has announced a new initiative called Breakthrough Listen, a 10-year project that will search for radio and light signals emitted by extraterrestrials. At a cost of $100 million, it’s the largest sum of money ever allocated to the effort.
In Part I of Kurz Gesagt’s animated explainer of the Fermi Paradox we learned about the vexing problem that is the Great Silence. This follow-up video presents some intriguing solutions that may explain the disturbing absence of intelligent alien life.
The Great Silence is a vexing problem we all love to speculate and argue about, but it’s not the most intuitive concept. This wonderful animated video by Kurz Gesagt explains the problem that is the Fermi Paradox and why our apparent isolation in the galaxy is so damned weird.
A few weeks ago, NASA chief scientist Ellen Stofan made news by saying, “I think we’re going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth within a decade, and I think we’re going to have definitive evidence within 20 to 30 years.” It was a bold statement, but NASA is now backing those words with action.
The search for extraterrestrial intelligence just got a big boost, thanks to the introduction of a powerful new infrared telescope. In addition to scanning for pulses of infrared light, astronomers will use device to search for alien megastructures, such as Dyson Spheres.
It is becoming increasingly obvious that our Solar System — with its inner collection of small rocky planets and an outer region buffeted by gas planets — is quite uncommon. According to a remarkable new study, the reason may have to do with Jupiter and an ancient migratory journey that kickstarted the destruction of…
For the first time ever, scientists have created a detailed catalogue of color swatches that correspond to nearly 140 known microorganisms, including those that can live in the most extreme environments. Armed with this knowledge, astrobiologists can now scan the atmospheres of distant exoplanets in hopes of finding a…
One of the greatest conundrums to face humanity is the question of extraterrestrial life. Many explanations have been posited over the years to explain why we have yet to make first contact, some better than others. Here are seven of the weakest solutions to the vexing problem known as the Fermi Paradox.