If there are extraterrestrials, why don't they contact us?

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Paris, France

Where is everybody? This question asked by the physicist Enrico Fermi in 1950 about the possible existence of the other intelligent civilizations in the universe it is still in the balance mind of scientists, which mixes the idea that we have already located e I don't want to make contact

"Maybe they look at us as we look at the zebras in a zoo," said US astronomer Douglas Vakoch, president of METI, an educational and research organization that transmits signals to the stars nearby in search of a hypothetical exchange.

His body brought together biologists, astronomers, sociologists and paleontologists at the planetarium in Paris to reflect the paradox that Fermi raised: why if there are billions of possibilities that there are intelligent civilizations on other planets, nobody has contacted us.

"For about 50 years, astronomers are listening to possible signals, but what would happen if all civilizations did the same thing? It would be a very silent universe," adds Vakoch, 57.

What language do we have in common?

Radiofrequency signals o laser sent So far they are trying to take that first step that makes these hypothetical intelligent life forms that human beings are open to dialogue.

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One of those messages It was commissioned in 2018 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Sónar electronic music festival in Barcelona. It was directed to Luyten's star, about 12.4 light-years from Earth, with basic information on humanity, various pieces of music and instructions for decoding them.

"The aliens will not speak English or Spanish. What language do we have in common? If they can detect our signal, they must have been able to build a receiver, so they should know some math, "adds Vakoch.

This biennial meeting has also contemplated the idea that these extraterrestrial assumptions with technologies superior to ours, aware that the meetings between civilizations can be harmful for both, want to remain on the sidelines.

"You must not be paranoid or scared, but to be cautious ", adds the astrophysics of the Paris-Meudon Observatory, Danielle Briot.

The possibility that the signals sent from the Earth are captured or that they reach us is negligible, he admits. "But even if it's small, we have no right not to try."

The METI forum also took the hypothesis of the American astrophysicist Michael Hart, according to which the absence of extraterrestrial visits could be due to the fact that they have already started the interstellar journey but are not arrived, or who did it in the past and we did not perceive it. or we didn't exist yet.

This lack of temporal coincidence or the possibility that human intelligence is not sufficiently developed to capture that kind of signals are factors that add to another: that there is really no extraterrestrial life.

"For me, it would be a miracle if there were no other lives out there, and I don't believe in miracles, the search is tremendously difficult and, above all, engaging in conversation … We want to believe, but we need proof. Interdisciplinary are so important ", adds Vakoch.

The discovery in 1995 of the first extrasolar planet and the discovery of more than 3,700 since then, according to the Paris forum, encourage the scientific community's hope focused on this work.

Scientists point out that the vision that until now had been hypothetically extraterrestrial is very anthropocentric: weapons, legs, head and eyes are attributed, as if they were a more evolved version of the human race.

Imagining the aspect of that intelligent life is a simple speculation, but what would happen if it was contacted?

"It would be extraordinary, everything would change: biology, politics, philosophy … The whole way to consider the world and our way of reasoning", concludes Briot, for which, at that point, new questions arise, how what to do or how to communicate. EFE

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