General, Research, Technology

Why can the existence of exoplanets be a bad sign for humanity?

Despite the fact that scientists are still notfound evidence of the existence of alien civilizations, we cannot accept the fact that there, in the vast expanses of the vast ocean of space, there is no one else. One of the most important discoveries of recent decades has been the discovery of exoplanets that revolve around their star in the habitable zone (Goldilocks zone), an area in space determined on the basis that all the conditions on the surface of the planets in it are close to the conditions on Earth. The most promising in this regard are planets on the surface of which there is water in the liquid phase. However, not all scientists share the enthusiasm for the discovery of the "next" earth-like exoplanet. But why?

Some recently discovered exoplanets are potentially habitable.

In search of extraterrestrial life

The first earth-type exoplanet Kepler-186f wasdiscovered in 2014, it is located 492 light years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. Kepler-186f is a special exoplanet. The fact is that its size is almost the same as that of our planet, and it also rotates in the habitable zone. According to the calculations of researchers from NASA, the illumination on the surface of the planet reaches 32% of the earth. If the planet has a fairly dense atmosphere, in theory water can exist in its liquid form on its surface, which means - in theory, of course - intelligent life. However, before we try to imagine what the residents of Kepler-186f look like, let's get acquainted with the concept that is not very pleasant for us as a kind, known as the Great Filter.

Great filter is one of the attempts to resolve the famousFermi's paradox - the absence of visible traces of the activities of alien civilizations that would have to spread throughout the universe for billions of years of its development. After all, we still have not found aliens, despite the existence of hundreds of billions of star systems in neighboring galaxies in which life could develop. And honestly, this is just very strange.

Kepler-186f is the first planet almost the same size as the Earth spinning in the Habitat.

Apparent lack of prosperous extraterrestrialcivilizations suggests that at least one of the steps towards becoming an interstellar civilization is extremely unlikely. It turns out that we are still alone because either intelligent life is extremely rare in the vastness of the universe, or it tends to disappear. The very moment for the appearance of an alien civilization is called the Great Filter.

You will be interested: More than 30 intelligent civilizations can exist in our galaxy.

We are alone?

Scientists are trying to determine the exact moment in time.the onset of the Great Filter for over 50 years. Explanations may include a lack of terrestrial planets or self-reproducing molecules. In general, the issue of the emergence and even the very definition of life remains controversial. Read more about why read in a fascinating article by my colleague Alexander Bogdanov.

Proponents of the Earth-shortage hypothesisplanets in the universe claim that the evolution of complex life requires a huge number of ideal conditions or, frankly, coincidences. In addition to the fact that the Earth is in the habitable zone, the Sun should be far enough from the center of the galaxy to avoid the destructive radiation of a supermassive black hole, the gas giants of our star system must sweep asteroids from the Earth’s trajectory. These are just a few prerequisites for the conditions necessary for the emergence of a complex life. The emergence of symbolic language, tools, and intelligence may require other such “ideal conditions.”

Read about how life appeared on our planet on our channel in Yandex.Zen! There are articles that are not on the site.

Great filter ahead?

While the advent of intelligent life maybeing a rare occurrence, silence can also be the result of the fact that intelligent life in the Universe does not appear so often, but can exist for very short time. Can every sufficiently developed civilization stumble upon suicidal technology or the unstable path of civilization? We know that the Great Filter is preventing the emergence of prosperous interstellar civilizations, but we do not know whether his humanity has passed or he expects us in the future.

For 200,000 years, humanity has survived eruptionsvolcanoes, collisions with asteroids and natural pandemics. But our track record of survival is limited to only a few decades - since the invention of nuclear weapons. We do not have technologies with which we can go on interstellar travel and survive on other planets.

In the case of Kepler-186f, we still have a lotreasons to believe that intelligent life on this exoplanet may never appear. Its atmosphere may be too thin to prevent freezing, or there may be other conditions that are not favorable for life.

According to Discover, some respectedScientists such as the Royal Astronomer Martin Rhys from the Cambridge Existential Risk Research Center point to biotechnological advances as potentially catastrophic. Others, such as Stephen Hawking, Max Tegmark, and Stuart Russell, have also raised serious concerns about the exotic but under-explored capabilities of artificial intelligence.

Do not forget about climate change: I recall that last year 11 thousand scientists from around the world warned world leaders that climate change could destroy us. But does this mean that you and I should hope that the Kepler-186f is sterile? We will wait for the answer here!

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