They Are Here

The simplest resolution of the Fermi paradox is that "they" are already here; or, at least, "they" were here in the past. Of the three classes of solution to the paradox, this is by far the most popular among the general public: the notion that UFOs are alien spacecraft is accepted by many people, while the idea that ancient structures were built by extraterrestrials rather than by people is believed almost as widely. Scientists are much more skeptical, mainly because of the poor quality of the supporting evidence. Nevertheless, it is worth considering these ideas seriously as potential resolutions of the paradox. Indeed, some serious scientists would argue that, until we have explored our neighborhood much more thoroughly and can definitely rule out the presence of alien artifacts, there really is no Fermi paradox.

I interpret the title of this chapter rather loosely: I consider "here" to be not just Earth but the whole Solar System — and even, in the final two sections of this chapter, our entire Universe. To begin, though, I discuss the very first suggested resolution of the paradox. It was given to Fermi soon after he posed his question.

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