Geo-Engineering Gone Awry - A New Partial Solution to Fermis Paradox

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M. M. Cirkovic; R. B. Cathcart (2004), JBIS, 57, 209-215

Refcode: 2004.57.209
Keywords: Astrobiology, geophysics, extraterrestrial intelligence, existential risks

Another partial solution of Fermi's famous paradox is proposed, based on our increased understanding of geophysics, geo-engineering, and climatology. It has been claimed in the recent astrobiological literature (for instance, in the recent controversial “rare Earth” theory of Ward and Brownlee), that geological activity of a terrestrial planet is an important precondition for the emergence of complex metazoan life forms. Technological civilizations arising on such planets will be, at some point of their histories or another, tempted to embark upon massive geo-engineering projects. If, for some reasons only very recently understood, large-scale geo-engineering is in fact much more dangerous than previously thought, the scenario in which at least some of the extraterrestrial civilizations in the Milky Way self-destruct in this manner gains plausibility. In addition, we speculate on possible reasons, both physical and culturological, which could make such a threat even more pertinent on an average Galactic terrestrial planet than on Earth.

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