The Fermi Paradox, the notion that because there’s such a high probability of alien life somewhere out there that we should have met aliens by now, is apparently not so… paradoxical. In short, physicist Enrico Fermi (1901-1954) pointed out the contradiction between the lack of evidence and high probability of the existence of extra terrestrials. As a result, he argued that we should have met aliens by now.

But Cornell student Evan Solomindes and professor Yervant Terzain have gone and spoiled the fun. Using statistics and math, the two estimate that because the Milky Way is a lot bigger than we thought, and because it takes about 1,600 years of broadcasting “We’re here” to make alien contact, we’re looking at another 1,500 years until we hear back.

“We haven’t heard from aliens yet, as space is a big place,” said Solomonides. “But that doesn’t mean no one is out there.”

“We haven’t heard from aliens yet, as space is a big place,” said Solomonides. “But that doesn’t mean no one is out there.”

“It’s possible to hear any time at all,” he continued. “But it becomes likely we will have heard around 1,500 years from now. Until then, it is possible that we appear to be alone – even if we are not. but if we stop listening or looking, we may miss the signals. So we should keep looking.”

So, a lot like dating, if we don’t put ourselves out there, we won’t meet anyone. Or something like that.

Want to feel even more alone? Solominides also estimates that there have been less than 210 intelligent communicating civilizations in galactic history.

If you want to geek out, you can read his paper here.

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