The hunt for intelligent life in the universe has been on the minds of scientists for decades. The search for alien has been the catalyst for science fiction blockbusters and has shaped some of the most interesting theories of life we’ve ever heard—but according to astrophysicist host Neil DeGrasse Tyson, it’s possible intelligent life have already found us—and weren’t particular impressed.
In a recent interview, Tyson told Chris Hayes of MSNBC that there are many organic matters in the entire universe, presenting the possibility that some planets have outlived intelligent species. It is presumptuous of humans, he argues, to think that we are the “arbiters of intelligence,” when planets could be much older than ours. These planets could already be trying to communicate with us in ways that are unintelligible based on our current standards.
“My great fear is that we’ve in fact been visited by intelligent aliens, but they chose not to make contact, on the conclusion that there’s no sign of intelligent life on Earth,” Tyson claimed, citing the fact that no one understood radio waves until two centuries ago. Today, these frequencies are common.
“We were sending signals out before we were doing it on purpose. Our early TV shows, like I Love Lucy and The Honeymooners and that sort of thing, Howdy-Doody. These are our cultural emissaries,” Tyson added. Aliens will interpret this media about Earth’s civilization, this is the message we emit, Tyson notes.
Of course, Tyson’s theory has not been accepted with open arms. Opponents note that our artificial satellites are manned and unmanned, showing a certain intelligence and sophistication. Aliens would also be able to survey our roads, cities, and intelligent urban design. These critics believe intelligent life has not yet found Earth.
In the interview, Tyson also ranked his top five scientific mysteries that he is most fascinated by. Topping the list is our understanding dark energy, which forces the universe to expand. According to Tyson, 85 percent of gravity in the universe is sourced from something humans don’t know anything about—a mysterious pressure in the space vacuum. His second question is whether or not we are truly alone in the universe.
What do you think of Tyson’s theory? Could intelligent life have already passed us up?