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The age of the universe and its vast number of stars suggests that extraterrestrial life should be common. If that’s the case, then where is everyone? In this infographic we explore some possibilities.


If alien life is out there, why haven't we found it? WIRED explains the Fermi Paradox

An artist's impression of Kepler 452b, one of the most Earth-like planets we've…

from io9

11 of the Weirdest Solutions to the Fermi Paradox

Most people take it for granted that we have yet to make contact with an extraterrestrial civilization. Trouble is, the numbers don’t add up. Our Galaxy is so old that every corner of it should have been visited many, many times over by now. No theory to date has satisfactorily explained away this Great Silence, so it’s time to think outside the box. Here are eleven of the weirdest solutions to the Fermi Paradox.

At this level, you begin to truly understand the processes that create the planet and cosmos (your archaeologists delve into the deep recesses of tar pits and learn much about the herding practices of your ancestors). Nuclear energy is soon to follow and, as the energy released by nuclear fission is a million times greater than that released in chemical reactions, it fuels industry and technology even further, bringing society ever closer to breaching the bounds of the planet.

The large structures created to harness wind and water energy are really only capable of producing a tiny amount of energy. So slowly, ever so slowly, you transition into widespread use of fossil fuel burning. And as we all know, a tiny bit of oil or natural gas goes a long way: Cue the industrial revolution! Of course, steam and electricity are soon to follow.

An advanced civilization = having an advanced way of killing other civilizations. As your culture continues to develop, you will begin metalworking. But moving from the Stone Age into the Metal Ages takes time…a lot of time (the Stone Age on Earth lasted some 3.4 million years). But eventually you’ll stop using those ruddy stones, and you’ll progress through the Copper, Bronze, and Iron Ages, where metal tools replace previous devices.