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Galactic Gradients, Postbiological Evolution and the Apparent Failure of SETI

Status Report From: arXiv.org e-Print archive
Posted: Wednesday, June 8, 2005

image Astrophysics, abstract
astro-ph/0506110

From: Milan M. Cirkovic [view email]
Date: Mon, 6 Jun 2005 14:10:44 GMT   (77kb)
Galactic Gradients, Postbiological Evolution and the Apparent Failure of SETI
Authors: Milan M. Cirkovic, Robert J. Bradbury
Comments: 30 pages, 2 figures
Motivated by recent developments impacting our view of Fermi's paradox (absence of extraterrestrials and their manifestations from our past light cone), we suggest a reassessment of the problem itself, as well as of strategies employed by SETI projects so far. The need for such reevaluation is fueled not only by the failure of searches thus far, but also by great advances recently made in astrophysics, astrobiology, computer science and future studies, which have remained largely ignored in SETI practice. As an example of the new approach, we consider the effects of the observed metallicity and temperature gradients in the Milky Way on the spatial distribution of hypothetical advanced extraterrestrial intelligent communities. While, obviously, properties of such communities and their sociological and technological preferences are entirely unknown, we assume that (1) they operate in agreement with the known laws of physics, and (2) that at some point they typically become motivated by a meta-principle embodying the central role of information-processing; a prototype of the latter is the recently suggested Intelligence Principle of Steven J. Dick. There are specific conclusions of practical interest to be drawn from coupling of these reasonable assumptions with the astrophysical and astrochemical structure of the Galaxy. In particular, we suggest that the outer regions of the Galactic disk are most likely locations for advanced SETI targets, and that intelligent communities will tend to migrate outward through the Galaxy as their capacities of information-processing increase, for both thermodynamical and astrochemical reasons. This can also be regarded as a possible generalization of the Galactic Habitable Zone, concept currently much investigated in astrobiology.
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