Nodes: A Proposed Solution to the Fermi Paradox

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J. Gertz (2017), JBIS, 70, pp.454-457

Refcode: 2017.70.454
Keywords: SETI, ET, Nodes, Probes, Fermi's Paradox

Within the SETI community, a school of thought holds that ET might prefer to send information physically in so-called "probes," rather than by radio or optical beacon, in effect, a message in a bottle. In this paper, a related solution to Fermi's Paradox (also known as the "Great Silence") is proposed whereby ET civilizations aggregate knowledge into a system of "nodes," interspersed throughout the galaxy. Each node explores and serves the local star systems, detecting through its exploration non-technological life, and enlisting newly emergent technological civilizations, such as ourselves, into its central system. Each node would download information to new member civilizations and upload information from those civilizations, passing it along to its immediately adjacent nodes, such that new information would pass through the entire galaxy at near light speed. The most local node would not be directly detectible by us until it signaled Earth in response to a detection of its artificial electromagnetic (EM) leakage. This is because Earth would not be in the narrow beam of the signal pathways between our local node and its adjacent nodes, nor between the local node and other local civilizations, while the spillover signal strength of far distant nodes would be too weak to be detectable. Thus, the Great Silence of the galaxy is simply the result of the fact that Earth is not currently situated within a communications pathway in an otherwise well interconnected galaxy.

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