Forget illegal aliens. The Trump ascent could explain why we’re not overrun by extraterrestrials.
In two months Donald Trump will gain the ability to singlehandedly destroy the human race. The US nuclear arsenal has the power to render the planet uninhabitable. In his public statements during the campaign, Trump expressed a willingness to use such weapons, more so than any president in the post-war era. He might therefore hold the answer to a paradox first posited by the inventor of the first nuclear reactor, Enrico Fermi, who asked why, given the overwhelming likelihood of there being extraterrestrial life, we’ve got no evidence for it.
Fermi summed up his paradox with the question, “Where is everybody?” The question arose from the Drake equation, which estimates the number of habitable worlds in the universe – assumptions that astrophysicists have increased tenfold in recent months.
At the time, scientists conservatively estimated that there were 100 billion billion habitable planets in the universe, or about 100 habitable planets for every grain of sand on Earth. Since our Sun is relatively young, at least some of these other planets should have generated civilizations billions of years older than our own, capable of space exploration. Those within our galaxy would have ample time to get to our neck of the woods, despite the distances involved.
Hence, Fermi’s question – why is there no credible evidence of extraterrestrial life?
One theory – the “eraser” idea – is that civilizations capable of deep space travel are inevitably also capable of destroying themselves, and all civilizations end up doing so, one way or another.
Pretty grim thought. Trump’s ascent won’t necessarily prove nor disprove it – if we’re lucky. Let’s hope Fermi’s question remains paradoxical for another four years.