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Why we have not had extraterrestrial visitors?

The first big problem is that interspacial distances are surprisingly vast.

For instance, it will take us about 6 months to get to Mars. At that same speed, the time it would take to get to the nearest star (aside from the Sun) would be 40,000 years or so. Even a huge generational ship is likely to fail over that time period.

What if the aliens have faster than light travel? Well, Einstein’s relativity has been around for about a century and there is no theoretical way of traveling faster than light. But even if we could travel at c, it still would take hundreds of years to possibly get to a planet that might have intelligent life.

Recently, we have found that there are more reasons for not having aliens come to Earth.

Origin-of-life researchers are finding it to be much more difficult than they thought 50 years to figure out how life started on Earth. There is evidence for single-celled life from over 3.5 billion years ago. The Earth is about 4.5 billion years old, so life started fairly soon after the Earth was cool enough for it to form. And yet, we don’t have a clue about how life could have started through naturalistic processes. The bottom line is that finding any life in the universe many be rare.

Second, the evolution of complex organic structures presents many problems. It is very difficult to get complex organic structures to form through natural selection operating on random mutations. There has never been even one demonstration of this.

Third, the evolution of an intelligent species that will be able to attain space travel may be extremely rare as well. The well-known futurist, Ray Kurzweil, used the Drake equation to estimate the number of intelligent species in the universe, and he came out to 1. This is rather startling given that there are an estimated 300 billion galaxies in the Universe and 300 billion starts in each galaxy. So we may be alone, or close to it.

Thus, it appears now that it is very unlikely that aliens have ever visited Earth, or will ever visit us. The issues of having few, if any, intelligent species out there, along with the problems of having to travel for thousands of years appear to be insurmountable.

I’m afraid the bottom line is that you will never get to meet Mr. Spock.

Tim Farage is a Professor and Graduate Advisor in the Computer Science Department at The University of Texas at Dallas. He writes about mathematics, computer science, physics, chemistry, the reconciliation between science and spirituality, Intelligent Design, and the application of Natural Law to our various systems such as education, government and economics.

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