Laboratory Hypothesis

The laboratory hypothesis is a variation of the zoo hypothesis response to the Fermi paradox. This particular hypothesis stipulates that the reason human beings cannot detect or interact with technically advanced extraterrestrial civilizations in the Milky Way galaxy is because the intelligent aliens have set the solar system up as a "perfect' laboratory. The (hypothesized) alien scientists and researchers want to observe and study humans but do not want us to be aware of or influenced by their observations.

to travel between the stars or that maybe the intelligent alien species do not even desire to communicate by means of electromagnetic signals. Yet another response to the Fermi paradox is that we are actually they—the descendants of ancient star travelers who visited Earth millions of years ago when an alien wave of exploration and expansion passed through this part of the galaxy.

Another group of optimists might respond to Fermi's question by suggesting that intelligent aliens are out there right now but are keeping a safe distance. The aliens prefer to watch the human race either mature as a planetary civilization or else destroy itself. A subset of this response is called the extraterrestrial zoo hypothesis. This response hypothesis suggests that humans and Earth are being kept as a "zoo" or wildlife preserve by advanced alien zookeepers who have elected to monitor our activities but not be detected themselves. There is a terrestrial model for this hypothesis: Professional naturalists and animal care experts often recommend that a "perfect zoo" here on Earth would be one in which the animals being kept have no direct contact with their keepers and do not even realize that they are in captivity.

Finally, other people respond to the Fermi paradox by saying that the wave of cosmic expansion has not yet reached this section of the galaxy— so humans should keep looking. Within this response group are those who boldly declare that the alien visitors are now among us!

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