There’s no shortage of movies, books and documentaries designed to reveal the secrets about aliens and UFOs. But we still don’t seem to have anything that could be called “hard evidence.” A clear picture would be nice, but some will tell you that’s hard to achieve on the spur of the moment. That may have been true 30 or 40 years ago, but today more than one billion people are carrying a smartphone with very good cameras built-in. How come one of them hasn’t given us that clear picture yet? What we continue to see are blurry, out-of-focus, jittery shots of things in the sky. Some of them wobble like a pie plate on a string and others actually look like weather balloons.
Don’t get me wrong. I’d love to see a picture of a UFO. A good picture that’s sharply in focus or a video that clearly shows a UFO demonstrating a controlled flight-path. I’m still waiting. And that got me to thinking. Maybe they aren’t coming after all. Statistically it’s absurd to deny the existence of intelligent life in the Universe, but it seems they haven’t taken the time to visit us just yet. Here are some points to ponder while we wait for someone to get us that “money-shot” of an alien or a UFO.
1. There aren’t as many aliens as we thought.
Earth is often described as a “Goldilocks” planet. Everything is just right for intelligent life to evolve, survive and thrive. The fact of the matter is that numerous Goldilocks factors combine across our solar system, our galaxy and the universe to make Earth somewhat unique. If those same combinations are necessary for other planets, the statistical potential for abundant, intelligent life may be less than we assume. No, we are not alone in the universe. But we may be much lonelier than we thought.
2. It’s a one way trip.
You’ll need to understand Einstein’s theory of relativity and some aspects of space and time to appreciate this, but travel through space at great speeds creates a dilemma. The faster you travel, the more time slows down around you. As a result, a trip at close to the speed of light means that the rest of the universe will have aged hundreds if not thousands of years while you’ve only been traveling at that speed for about a year or more. The result is ominous. Sure you can travel at close to light speed if you want, but there’ll be no one to go home to. Assume what you will about aliens, but how many of them want to leave their home planet forever? Maybe a few, but it once again reduces the number from an already limited set to much less due to the rare “Goldilocks” factors.
3. They wouldn’t survive the journey.
We like to believe that aliens possess some wonderful technology that allows them to do the unimaginable. The fact of the matter is that if they are organic beings, their bodies will be subject to many of the same stresses we endure especially in space. This can be particularly problematic if you have no certain destination. We like to assume that aliens will have significantly longer life-spans than we do. That may be true – or not. We also like to assume that their technology will compensate for any physical weakness. That might be not work as well either. Currently, human astronauts on the International Space Station have the option of returning to Earth in the event of a life-threatening medical condition. No matter who you are, you’re on your own in space.
4. They’re afraid of us.
We seem to have a hard time accepting this. At least the popular fiction seems to discount it. But the fact of the matter is that humans are a very violent species with some specific animal instincts that we call upon all too often. Any alien who has done any study of our planet would have to wonder how we continue to survive. This could cause them to feel some concerns about their own survival as well. Once again, much fiction writing assumes they have advanced technology that extends to weapons. But what if they show up unarmed and their powerful shields won’t withstand a direct nuclear blast? That would put them in the role of passive observer and the most they might attempt is what we currently do when confronted with hostile, celestial environments: send a robot to take some pictures and get some samples. I’ll settle for a picture of one of those if anyone has one.
5. We’re not worth the trip.
This is a tough one for us to accept. After all, we are a “special” Goldilocks planet. But when you consider the vastness of space and the very interesting stuff that we’re starting to see, you begin to realize for the first time -Earth could be just a bit boring for some interstellar travelers. In fact, the Milky Way galaxy is a bit of a bore compared to some other galaxies; our solar system is stable and relatively undramatic compared to others; our Sun has been described as an “average” star, and we’re located in the boondocks of the Milky Way. If you could travel anywhere at great speeds and wanted to take the trip, would you visit a remote and relatively uninteresting area of space like the one we occupy? Probably not.
Like I said, it seems almost certain that we are not alone in the universe. However, the thing we have to understand is that we may always be lonely. For now, keep watching the skies. But don’t be disappointed if all you ever see is the occasional meteorite or a dramatic sunset.