Alien Civilizations Might Suffer Similar Fate as Easter Island
Climate change and unrestrained population growth may be two of humanity’s greatest threats. But according to a recent paper published by astrophysicist Adam Frank, it’s probably a pretty common problem experienced by other civilizations throughout the universe.
Depending on who you talk to, there may or may not be evidence for the existence of extraterrestials, but even if we haven’t directly located them, chances are pretty high they’re out there. And if they’re anything like us, they’ve probably faced negative environmental feedback from the intensive energy use burgeoning civilizations put on their planet.
Using a more terrestrial example, Frank and his colleagues looked at the ancient civilization that once inhabited Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island – a society often examined as a lesson in sustainability.
There’s evidence that the inhabitants of Easter Island, once a thriving civilization, eventually depleted their resources, having not planned for the strain of a growing population. Using their fate as example, Frank outlined four trajectories an alien civilization might face under similar circumstances, considering our fate has yet to be determined.
Frank calls the first scenario the “die-off” model, where the planet’s population shoots up to an unsustainable point, while temperature slowly increases. Over a short time period, the civilization experiences a massive die-off as the planet’s resources can’t sustain the population, while climate disasters increasingly occur from the byproducts of massive energy consumption.
In this scenario, a small percentage of the population survives, leveling off with temperature as energy use decreases, though this is only a fraction of the previous population – something like 30 percent.
The second scenario is the “sustainability” model, a.k.a. the “soft-landing model,” in which the population rises, but realizes it must do something to curtail rising temperatures. This civilization finds a viable solution to climate change, simultaneously leveling off population growth and rising temperatures – an ideal outcome.
The third and fourth scenarios, known as the “collapse” and “collapse with resource change” models, imagine a civilization that significantly over-leverages its resources, creating temperature rise that greatly outpaces population growth. This massive flux in temperature creates catastrophic climate disasters that kill off the entire population. In the collapse with resource change model, the civilization makes an attempt to stop the increase in temperature, but not soon enough, as the die-off occurs anyway – an equally depressing scenario.
So, what’s the biggest takeaway from Frank’s paper? While it’s interesting to postulate about alien civilizations and their struggle to overcome the same issues with energy and sustainability, the paper may be considering the fact that this could be an answer to Fermi’s Paradox; if we haven’t found life out in the cosmos, maybe it’s because others fell victim to climate change or a similar sustainability issue we’re currently tasked with.
Will we have the foresight to achieve that soft-landing model, or will we collapse and die-off?
Watch the trailer for No Impact Man, the story of a family that implemented a zero environmental impact lifestyle over the course of a year:
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Ben Rich, Lockheed Martin and UFOs
Ben R. Rich, brilliant scientist, aeronautical engineer and Father of Stealth is more of an enigma now than he was during his lifetime. He is most noted for designing a stealth fighter-plane that flew undetected by radar and for his role as the second director of Lockheed Martin’s top-secret Skunk Works program. Born in 1925, Rich passed away in 1995 with controversy still brewing among his friends, critics and those who heard him speak publicly about whether or not he believed in UFOs and extraterrestrials.
Many questions remain unanswered. Was there a Ben Rich deathbed confession where he admitted that he knew that extraterrestrials and UFO visitors are real? Did he publicly mean it when he claimed that, “We now have the technology to take ET home,” or was it a joke? Is there credibility to other statements attributed to him in which he allegedly claimed technology learned at Roswell was used to influence the development of top secret U.S. aircraft? Are the alleged communications from Rich to his friend John Andrews credible?
With Rich’s last breath, definitive answers to these questions were lost forever.
Ben Rich and Skunk Works
Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Development Projects (ADP), known officially as Skunk Works, was a secret aeronautical research facility in Burbank, California. The founder and first director of Skunk Works was Clarence “Kelly” Johnson, who was the designer of a U.S. spy plane called the U-2. Ben Robert Rich joined Skunk Works in 1954 and helped design various aircraft, including a prototype that could reach speeds more than 1,300 mph. He became the second director of Skunk Works, holding that position from 1975 until his retirement in 1991.