An answer to the Fermi paradox

The reason we have not yet been "contacted" by other beings in the universe is being there is so much space to cover, they haven't had time, reports a Danish researcher.

" Italian Nobel laureate Enrico Fermi ... in 1950, pointed out the glaring conflict between predictions that life was elsewhere in the universe - and the conspicuous lack of aliens who have come to visit....

"Extra-terrestrials have yet to find us because they haven't had enough time to look.

"Using a computer simulation of our own galaxy, the Milky Way, Rasmus Bjork, a physicist at the Niels Bohr institute in Copenhagen, proposed that a single civilisation might build eight intergalactic probes and launch them on missions to search for life. Once on their way each probe would send out eight more mini-probes, which would head for the nearest stars and look for habitable planets....

[So] even if the alien ships could hurtle through space at a tenth of the speed of light, or 30,000km a second, - Nasa's current Cassini mission to Saturn is plodding along at 32km a second - it would take 10bn years, roughly half the age of the universe, to explore just 4% of the galaxy."

Similarly, if they are distant neighbors, it will take us quite a long time to locate them, even if we develop interstellar travel.

But it will take a while to become technologically mature to escape from our current 'zoo' confines. (Or maybe, some speculate, we've been quarantined, at least until we can solve the arms race.)

I'm equally persuaded though by the argument I've seen that at a certain level of technological sophistication, travel at the nano or even pico level will be possible. "Nano" was a word nobody used a few years ago, but now it's reached the ipod. It's entirely possible that contact will look like nothing we currently expect.

Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen offers general corporate legal services, litigation consultation, and expertise in health law with a unique focus on alternative, complementary, and integrative medical therapies.

Michael H. Cohen is Principal in Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen and also President of the Institute for Integrative and Energy Medicine (also known as the Institute for Health, Ethics, Law, Policy & Society), a forum for exploration of legal, regulatory, ethical, and health policy issues involved in the judicious integration of complementary and alternative medical therapies (such as acupuncture and traditional oriental medicine, chiropractic, massage therapy, herbal medicine) and conventional clinical care. The most recent published book by Michael H. Cohen on health care law, regulation, ethics and policy pertaining to complementary, alternative and integrative medicine and related fields is Healing at the Borderland of Medicine and Religion. This is the fourth book in a series, following Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Legal Boundaries and Regulatory Perspectives (1998), Beyond Complementary Medicine: Legal and Ethical Perspectives on Health Care and Human Evolution (2000), and Future Medicine: Ethical Dilemmas, Regulatory Challenges, and Therapeutic Pathways to Health Care and Healing in Human Transformation (2003).

Health care and corporate lawyer Michael H. Cohen has also been admitted to the Bar of England and Wales as a Solicitor (non-practicing), adding to Bar membership in four U.S. states.