Human beings have been fascinated by the idea of a possible encounter with extraterrestrial beings for centuries. But apart from the hypotheses of scholars (such as Avi Loeb) and the speculations of artists and science fiction enthusiasts, how could a device, a spacecraft, probes from another galaxy really look like?
Not easy, interstellar travel
A journey of thousands. Maybe millions of years. Then the "walkway" in our galaxy. It is clear that we would all be amazed if one day we were visited by space probes from a distant civilization.
Smith's study focuses on this scenario. And among his implications there is one rather strange, at first glance. Which? We may not receive these "visits" in the order they were launched. In other words, the very first probe launched by an intelligent civilization could arrive there long after the probes sent later.
Probes in reverse order. How is it possible?
The author comes up with a rather sensible thesis. In essence, the technological capacity and skills of extraterrestrial civilizations that build space probes could (like ours, for that matter) improve over time.
For this reason it is likely that probes launched, say, 10.000 years after the first ones would have more advanced propulsion technologies, which would allow them to arrive at their destination well in advance of those sent in earlier periods.
An example based on our technological growth rate? A hypothetical "terrestrial" probe launched in about 14.000 years could surpass Voyager 2 (launched in 1977) and arrive at distant destinations hundreds of thousands of years earlier.
For this, Smith points out that the first eventual "sighting" of an interstellar craft would put us in front of something extremely sophisticated. Not a space wreck, now rock-like, as it would be First.
Let's take everything with a grain of salt, please
The idea proposed by Smith on how extraterrestrial civilizations (but basically also terrestrial ones) could conduct their space exploration programs is interesting. Obviously, however, it must be viewed with a certain degree of reserve: for a very simple reason, there is no way to verify it.
However, this idea is worth exploring. However, it helps to somehow "prepare" our imagination for eventual encounters with extraterrestrial civilizations. It is important to always be prepared for any eventuality, especially when dealing with unknown life forms. No?