On Facebook, Cj Cherryh posted a commentary on where the aliens mighty be.

Of course, in my own comic, The Orions are out there, and occasionally drop by Earth, but they haven’t made themselves known. There’s also Greys, and The Varnier (Sasquates), also not presenting themselves openly.

But below is my own (slightly edited since posting) contribution. Thought it should go here, too.

Let’s set the Drake Equation aside for now. And let’s not worry about other galaxies. Given the number of stars in our own galaxy, the presence of more than one galactic civilization seems certain. And, of course, the question is “Where are they?”

On the face of it, you might think in the age of The Milky Way (13By), or even just our own Solar System (4.5By) , there should have been enough time for extraterrestrial intelligences to reach Earth. But, maybe not.

The first problem isn’t that there should have been enough time for other galactic civilizations to rise, I suspect there have been older civilizations, but without the heavier elements of a third generation star system, there was no leaving their home worlds. At least nothing intergalactic. So until 3rd gen stars like ours developed, no technologically advanced civilizations. For that matter, we’re a long time off from doing that, ourselves. So space travel would seem a relatively recent thing.

Our own Solar System is only about 4.5 billion years old. We should take into account that there have been many setbacks in that time, or we might have been incredibly lucky. So, perhaps space travel is a very recent thing.

The next thing to consider is distance. At the best likely sub-light speeds it would take decades or even centuries to reach another habitable star. It would take a loooong time to get a return on that investment. Let’s go to light-speed and you’re still looking at decades in most cases. Ten times light-speed, and were still looking at years to reach any where good. A hundred times? A thousand? How about 10,000 and you’re talking. Travel up and down the spiral arm might approach practicality. It still might be a few years to reach the further destinations. But, heck, expeditions on sailing ships often did take years.

But, there’s a vast, empty gulf between the galaxy’s spiral arms. Crossing the gulf means leaving the support of “nearby” star systems. “Last chance for antimatter! 1000 light years!” Probably not a trip to be taken lightly.

Add to that, we’re part of what is known as The Orion Spur. A shortened spiral arm not connected to either of the neighboring arms. Each could have vast civilizations and we’d never know it. They might know of us, but it’s a difficult trip for tourists. Maybe there’s the occasional study expedition.

Getting closer, other civilizations on The Orion Spur might not have much interest in visiting planets at all. Any resources needed can be collected from the outer fringes of nearly any star system. Industry will be near the resources are. One’s population would want to live and work where the jobs are; industrial or gathering. That means space habitats. Why go all the way into a star system just because one planet is habitable.

The most we have to offer interstellar travelers is our culture. But, is tourism practical? Is there profit in Earth artifacts? Doesn’t seem likely.

So, where are the aliens? It seems likely that they’re out there. BUT WE’RE JUST BUMPKINS IN THE BOONDOCKS AND NOBODY WANTS TO COME HERE.

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