The Fermi Paradox: Hidden Alien Civilizations
This video is sponsored by CuriosityStream. Get access to my streaming video service, Nebula, when you sign up for CuriosityStream using the link in the description. We’ve examined before how a civilization might build undetectable, stealthy spaceships. But what if that entire civilization wished to conceal itself? So two episodes back, we were looking at Stealth Spaceships and the problems with them. We saw how nigh-impossible it is to hide a spaceship from a civilization, so hiding an entire civilization would presumably be much harder, especially one with many planets. But today we’re going to look at why a civilization might try to hide itself and how this might be done—and ultimately if this might be a valid solution to the Fermi Paradox, the big question of why, in a Universe so ancient and immense, we don’t yet see any alien civilizations.
Hiding a spaceship differs from hiding a planet in much the same way hiding a person inside a city varies from trying to hide an entire city. It’s complicated in astronomical scales, and in part because astronomy is history, and the Universe is so old. A civilization hides but the light it emitted a century ago just reached their nearest neighbors, who may have been a mighty empire for a million years and knew your planet was around and peopled with clever apes for all that time. So it's essentially hiding a city everyone already knows exists, not building a new one in secret. What would you do right now, to hide New York City, so that people didn’t know it existed? In addition to the ‘what’ and ‘how’, now ask yourself why you would? Normally when discussing not being able to see aliens because they are hiding, we tend to focus on how this is not really a viable premise under known physics, which is true enough. Hidden alien civilizations are not a valid Fermi Paradox solution, we often suggest, because hiding seems impossible under known science.
But I suspect this falls flat as a Fermi Paradox solution for many for the simple reason that all of us are raised on wondrous science fiction with impossible technologies and grew up in an era where the entire technological landscape vastly shifts from generation to generation and has done so for longer than anyone now alive or anyone they knew was alive. So “This is not physically possible under known science” is just not a very compelling argument to most folks. Fair enough, though I would note that most of the core reasons we say stealth is nigh-impossible under known science is based on violations of scientific laws we’ve known for many generations and that have not changed. By and large our knowledge of scientific laws has expanded rather than altered, we don’t learn the exceptions to the rules, we learn the complete rule, which is very different and usually a further restriction rather than some expanded capability. Our better knowledge lets us invent technologies that expand our abilities, but I can’t think of any that let us push at science’s legal boundaries, so to speak. Of course this doesn’t mean that we might not find some exceptions, or that aliens might not, especially given that they are likely to be throwing vast amounts of resources at expanding their abilities or breaking those rules. And these can be truly mind-bogglingly amounts of resources,
even under known science. Indeed one of the recurring themes of this show is how massive civilizations can grow to be, even compared to those juggernauts of size and capability we see in science fiction, without needing any of those made up special powers or super-technologies we see in science fiction. Imagine a civilization that outnumbered us a billion to one, and where their dumbest citizen found our greatest geniuses rather slow, and who had been hacking away at a problem for a billion generations. Our generations anyway, they might easily live billions of years with all the accumulated knowledge of a billion, billion, nigh-immortal super-geniuses. If there’s a way to solve a problem, they found it. So if there’s a way to hide, they can hide. Problem is, no matter how smart you are, 2+2 still equals 4, and basic logical conclusions don’t alter, and the follow up is that if you’ve got a rival who can hide using some special method, you are also devoting vast efforts to cracking that so you can see them. This is the ‘selection’ part of natural selection, nature’s arms race for better
survival, and not something we would expect to be an alien concept or concern to any alien race.. One thing I often raise in regard to civilizations trying to hide themselves or keep quiet is that they probably could do that from us, but why would they need to hide from us? They could obliterate us, they would want to hide from someone older and tougher who could obliterate them, and they have that same problem. We can’t really hide from them because they are older than us, and our planet was visible to them long before we existed and the light of our modern civilization will still be heading out into space if we switched it off tomorrow, for all of time. 1000 light years from here, a civilization will just be hearing our radio signals from 1920 in the year 2920 AD. Even if we invent a cloaking field tomorrow. And Biosignatures of life in Earth's atmosphere existed long before us and would have been visible even longer ago. This takes us back to the comment from earlier: “What would you do right now, to hide New York City, so that people didn’t know it existed?” There are options, each for a given value of hiding. We could suck New York City through a wormhole into a pocket Universe and now it's
hidden but people still remember it and will try to hunt for it. So maybe we detonate a big nuke at the same time so it looks like the city was destroyed rather than vanished, and no one hunts. Except they probably do, and more to the point, the Fermi Paradox isn’t about why all the alien civilizations have ceased to exist in some sort of terrible calamity – albeit that’s one proposed solution to it – it’s about why we don’t see any of them at all, past or present, living or dead.
Though mind you, if everyone got up to about our level or a touch more advanced and faked their planetary suicide, so to speak, before becoming giant interstellar empires, we would not know that at the moment. There’s also a big concern that if aliens detect you they might want to go out of their way to kill you, regardless of whether or not they want to strip mine the whole galaxy for resources they might just hate other lifeforms and wipe out smart ones whenever they see them. We know little of aliens beyond that they presumably share a common evolutionary process as us, and nature is not a friendly place. On first inspection at least it should seem as likely that aliens would want to wipe out competition as befriend it, and even if only a small fraction were openly belligerent and genocidal, that doesn’t help much.
One psychopath with a machine gun might be 100 times rarer than pacifists who offer hugs but if someone tells you they just put that one psycho in a room with 99 pacifists, then asks you to go knock on the door and see how everybody is doing, since its gotten all quiet, you could be forgiven for not wanting to announce your presence. Of course you’d expect if the pacifists also knew there was a psychopath in the room they’d try to take care of them, depends on how pacifistic they are and that’s not a trait nature tends to encourage. At a galactic scale, you’d think if a predator was wandering the galaxy for eons while others remained, some of them would at least try to deal with the matter. And nature is definitely not producing pacifists to violent killers at a rate of 100 to 1, so we should not be surprised if an emerging alien civilization also came up with the idea of the Fermi Paradox and worried if maybe the reason nobody had dropped by to say hi yet was because they just can’t be bothered to waste time speaking with their victims before exterminating the pests. This is a common Fermi Paradox solution too, that civilizations all hide assuming there is a bigger and badder predator out there, and it sounds good, except for a few problems. The first is that whole inability to hide under
known science issue, followed by the whole past presence issue of trying to hide your civilization emerging from folks who had telescopes better than Hubble before we were even playing with fire. But even if you can get around those, it still has some problems. Starting with this analogy. I’m not afraid of being all alone in the forest in the middle of the night and getting snuck up on by some unknown bigger predator, because I’m a human, and we’re the nastiest and most deadly thing on this planet. This is not a coincidence. There’s a number of preliminary steps to being
able to confidently sit around, all alone in the dark, and know that trouble is improbable, especially when the very ground you’re standing on is literally composed of untold centuries of dead organisms, virtually none of which got that way from dying of old age. Humanity is free to lie in our backyards at night contemplating the stars not because threats are rare, but because we’re what’s left after all those threats collided over and over again with tooth and claw. We live as the victors on top of a mountain of skulls, and that’s not a metaphor. There’s the key notion, if there was a predator out there that could rip out our throat, it would have done so already and it wouldn’t be hiding. It’s possible one just happens to finally have gotten the opportunity right now, same as it's possible a lone wolf might have evaded notice and be getting ready to jump on me next time I’m in my backyard, but it’s unlikely. It doesn’t matter that we didn’t share a world with some hostile alien to evolve alongside each other, we share a very old and large Universe with them.
Us and any other species that might emerge and contemplate a potentially hostile galaxy around them, and contemplate hiding, just has to stop and ask if keeping quiet and weak in the shadows is really a policy worth pursuing, against the off chance the galaxy has some horrid predator in it who has luckily missed them prior to now, when the odds are that’s not true and that any future threat that might arise would be easier to handle if instead of keeping to the shadows you grow to an empire of a billion worlds and a trillion battleships. Then they just have to ask, “Hey, what would our ancestors have done?” because the answer is almost certainly not hide, but go grow stronger, and then ask if that’s probably the exact same reasoning any other alien civilization might have gone through and also likely concluded the same things. So it would seem weird they or anyone else would choose to try to pursue a policy of hiding. Especially since even if everyone
else was doing it, it does not mean they are not also trying to detect other civilizations, have probably gotten good at it, and one defense strategy is to expose other people to the predator. As goes the story, two men are running from the wolves, and one says to the other “There’s no point, we can’t outrun the wolves” and the other says “I’m not trying to outrun the wolves, I’m just trying to outrun you.” With that in mind, there is no reason to assume that if other aliens existed and were hiding, that they wouldn’t still hunt for you, probably have some good insight into finding you, and cheerfully throw you to the wolves to keep themselves safe a while longer. But that needs a caveat too. We always want to be thinking from the position of the hunter when trying to think of hiding a civilization. They know there’s other life out there, even if they were the firstborn civilization in all the cosmos, there should have been worlds with less sophisticated life on them by the time they were exploring the cosmos. If intelligent life is even a little bit common, just occurring a few hundred times per galaxy per billion years, where you still need to search millions of likely planets to find a single civilization or its remnant, then not only does that probably mean there’s orders of magnitudes more worlds that just developed simpler life, but that the early civilizations on the galactic scene would have encountered tons of planets that would one day support intelligence, if left alone, but at that point might have just had dinosaurs or fish just crawling out of the sea. So they know how common life is and probably have
a pretty good idea how often, and under what conditions, it gets smart, and would get suspicious if they enter a region of space that didn’t have enough of them and nose around. What’s more, for all that we often refer to them as coming from the mindset of exterminators crushing insect hives, these are civilizations that are probably vast, ancient, huge, and hyper-intelligent. Quite possibly they have untold trillions of people smarter than Einstein. They probably are not lobbing a bomb at a place at first sign of intelligence
then wandering off for a drink and a nap. They will have tried to guess how the prey will behave and the notion of hiding by occasionally exposing a neighboring species will have occurred to them. They may have armadas able to demolish a planet without ever landing on it, instead of risking their own necks. However, they also probably have plenty of other weapons that would leave a world intact enough to go investigate and research the civilization they are in the process of wiping out or just finished obliterating.
They might want to investigate since this helps you better know what others would be thinking and what they might try. And also if they got any Hello messages and SETI signals from some other unknown species who might have used them as a distraction, scapegoat, or bait for a trap. That latter might result in some big and hidden empire hiding an armada near a primitive world, signaling the predator species to the existence of this new victim, then attacking when they were busy attacking themselves, or even hiding a few billion tons of antimatter in that planet and blowing the whole thing when they arrived. Of course they probably have a lot of extermination fleets, the ability to make more of them, and defenses on their own worlds so attacking their forces arguably just alerts them to your existence for minimal strategic gain. In any event, investigating is likely to be seen as the wise option. As a caveat to that,
they might not like their civilizations getting exposed to alien civilizations even posthumously for fear of it building up empathy or deviancy. Or even exposing them to some sort of infection, biological or memetic, like the researcher reads some ideological, philosophical, or religious document that converts them and that fleet. Which might curtail research a bit, if you’re busy putting down a civil war. However we always need to contemplate that they could see that weakness too and have resources we don’t. They can probably send in a trillion smart and disposable robot soldiers down to a world to hunt down every member of its population, and choose to do so over planetary bombardment because the cost of both is negligible to them and they don’t care about the death of their robots. Well they might take the same attitude toward their forensic and archeology teams too, simply deploy robot investigators or androids with copied minds or clones to do their investigating then kill them when it's done. Given that we are contemplating a race of folks so passionate
about genocide they’ve spent millions of years practicing it, the odds aren’t good they are terribly kind and lack a ruthless streak. I could imagine some investigator who exited a cryochamber on a new world investigating them and coming to pity them while filing reports, only to realize to his horror that his own people didn’t wake him from a cryochamber, it’s a cloning vat that keeps duplicating his mind from a saved state of an original investigator who his employer has been creating to investigate over and over again and killing after each periodic report update. That would probably be a good plot for a story, with the investigator finding some way to rebel or save the civilization from his kindred or so on, but again we have to remember the key point about the alien overlords not being stupid and us needing to think from their perspective.
There’s several ways that come to mind to safeguard against that investigator going rogue, like putting a camera in his eye, a position tracker in his chest, and a bomb in his brain. We also want to not just always be thinking from the position of the hunter when trying to think of hiding a civilization, but from the position of a potential leader of such a civilization who is as capable of contemplating a hunter’s action as we are when picking whether to try to hide from them. That decision to hide is essentially one being made in absolute ignorance of the state of affairs in the wider Universe except by logical deduction from your own world and basic physics and astronomy. Odds are such civilizations are already aware of the dangers of making decisions that way. When making a decision you want to know as much as possible but we have approaches for dealing with various degrees of ignorance and uncertainty when making decisions where we don’t anticipate being able to get more useful information in time for the decision. Bayesian Analysis would be an example of that, but two others we discuss a lot on the show are the Mediocrity Principle and the Anthropic Principle. Both are designed to help you draw a basic best
conclusion when you know next to nothing. The Mediocrity Principle is the one we use in science a lot to take a handful of samples of something or even just a single one and draw conclusions about that something. It’s the thinking pattern that says if you meet ten people and see brown, blonde, red, and black hair on their heads, that they were probably fairly normal and mediocre examples of the species and that those are the hair colors most folks have. We know that’s not universally true, meeting someone with a very abnormal and artificial hair color, or walking around with a wig or feather headdress, is going to throw you off. Even more so if you only get to meet one human. But most of the time it will be mostly right.
Again it’s not the best method if you have good data, but it's one of the two best methods for looking at things when you know very little and don’t expect to get more information. The Anthropic Principle is a very different approach to the same thing, acting in ignorance. It’s the one where you assume you, the observer, are skewing the results of your observations by existing. It’s the acknowledgement that you are encountering intelligent folks with various shades of hair because you are an oxygen breathing lifeform who likes to walk on sidewalks or inside climate controlled buildings, so you see them more often than, say, whales or dolphins or chimpanzees, who rarely have blonde hair let alone artificially dyed hair.
Two key points on that, first a civilization making decisions, be they hunter or hider, is aware of both the concepts and their limitations. So not only are they trying to expand their data pool to be less ignorant, but they also know that just because their sample size of lifeforms encountered has risen to millions, giving them a great statistical table for where life is likely to form and how it grows or behaves, that they still need to be contemplating the Anthropic Principle and asking if their own observational approaches are skewing the data, letting some hide or leading to some other bad conclusion. Like they only search for life emerging on planets, and never realized it could develop inside comets. Or they never realized they might run into rival civilizations immigrating from alternate realities or parallels universes until one does. Second, those are approaches made in ignorance, but folks often lock into the conclusions drawn on them. We see that a lot with the Fermi Paradox,
where folks get very certain what the right answer probably is even though we have little data and every theory has holes in it. I’m pretty well known for being of the opinion that the best solution is that intelligent civilizations arise very rarely, but I’m also pretty well known for saying I view that as the least bad solution, not the best one, because it's got holes in it too and I’ve yet to hear a proposed solution that didn’t have some. So to me there’s little cause for discussing the Paradox with great confidence that your preferred standpoint is clearly and obviously right. No conclusion drawn from the Mediocrity or Anthropic Principle, when you’ve only got one or two samples, should ever inspire confidence. But we see something similar in these discussions with Game Theory too. It comes up in these conversations and folks present an example and are convinced that the ironclad logic of the math makes that conclusion right, because the math cannot be wrong.
Game theory is a great tool too but its problem is that it's rarely a good predictor of complex decisions. Usually it involves a handful of possible players each with a handful of possible reactions and usually playing with the same level of knowledge. It’s the sort of thing that lets your predict a species evolved by Darwinian survival imperatives is prone to trying to grow their numbers and expand but won’t predict that they had a Malthusian Catastrophe of overgrowth and starvation centuries earlier that’s led to a fanatical devotion to avoid those in the future by slow growth and never fighting others for new worlds, directly or just by stiff competition.
It also wouldn’t predict that a millennia later, after encountering species that didn’t believe like them, a faction of their civilization built and unleashed a self-replicating swarm of exterminators. Some probes that went to newly discovered intelligent species, measured their growth rate, and if it was above a certain percentage over a given period of time, went all Thanos on them and wiped them out. When building a game theory chart of possible logic decisions the competitors can make, if you don’t know them, you’re not going to be building that on the assumption that one of those civilizations was one that had that specific sequence of events. That the culture descended from a minor faction of a civilization that hid in mountain caves to avoid being wiped out by a big faction, which instead divided into two new factions that wiped each other out, leaving the world to be reconquered by the mountain cave survivors.
Those folks are quite likely to have an irrational trust in hiding and might think the best plan was to hide and agitate the big players on the galactic stage into killing each other and just take for granted that this will eventually work because it’s a key part of their cultural mindset that it will and must. Same as we don’t really sit around justifying or questioning if personal freedom and liberty are good things. They just are, the issue is so settled to us we don’t really waste time asking how valid it is. Which to be fair is because very detailed and thorough discussions of it were done in the past, but even if there’s a lot of solid logic for the conclusion, there is still a large emotional, cultural, and historical perspective on it.
As a quick example, it's not too uncommon for folks to suggest these days that maybe we should drop the term ‘space colonization’ because colonization has some rather nasty historical overtones and so other folks hear us discuss that and assume that will replay. Which it might, but obviously can’t happen that way when colonizing a world that was lifeless and needed terraforming first. A world that had only one big supercontinent, Pangea style, with no uncrossable boundaries, is unlikely to have that specific worry. They’d have their own historical baggage, their great empires, mongol hordes, crusades, jihads, and so on, but not that primitive and unaware tribe first meeting people who were vastly diverged from them in a vacuum, because no one was isolated from their neighbors. Similarly, some species that had evolved HAM radio transmitters in their biology is likely to have had cross-cultural exchanges all over their world before anyone ever developed means of faster travel or travel across rough oceans. This would be a culture with a view of SETI and messaging interstellar space very informed by their own history, with its obvious parallel to interstellar space. These will
create attitudes that will subtly but decidedly alter their worldview. And those alterations are likely to present them counterarguments to logical conclusions that are more ‘jingo’ than ‘ergo’. Now you might be taking away from that the conclusion that many might decide to hide, but we are presented with a Universe of no alien signals, or at least none loud enough or in the right time and place to hear them. That would require everyone to draw the same conclusion and that would be dubious even if the logic for hiding was flawless, down to 2+2=4 territory, which it does not appear to be anywhere near. Civilizations will be assuming that to maintain such quiet means reliably, for millions of years, preventing anyone by policy, accident, or insanity from exposing them. They’d need to believe they could do that and they would need to believe that was
enough – which it isn’t, it doesn’t protect them from someone just sending a mission or probe there or having caught their first signals in their equivalent to the early 1900s. They would also need to believe that this was so clearly possible, both things, that everyone else elected to do it, even those cultures that might have evolved from biology or early culture that encouraged them to bellow out their presence not hide it. And keep in mind, nothing in nature does this. Things hide their personal location at times, indeed stealth is often vital to creatures, particularly marine life. However, they generally do not conceal their entire existence.
Many critters mark their territory or call out to potential mates and so on. Marking your territory is a good idea, because while it forewarns a potential invader that you exist, making it harder to get the jump on them and giving them the chance to scout you and get the jump on you, often instead they will seek to avoid the conflict and respect the territory because the best way not to lose a territorial fight is not to get in one, and there’s always a chance you will lose and if you’re confronting them constantly, the coin is going to come up tails sooner than later. Indeed this is why bluffing and threatening and posturing are handy in nature too, to avoid the fight because not doing so runs a risk of death. It would seem likely this would be a common enough behavioral pattern in evolution that many worlds would want to take the territorial marking over hiding approach, and so too, a civilization is likely to be built on mutual cooperation a lot, various folks specializing in skills or working as teams, that we also shouldn’t be surprised if many aliens thought friendly but cautious was a good message. “Hello, let's consider being friends, but if you don’t want to be friends, this is our turf, this place, right here, and we will make you pay if you try to take it from us” and that dynamic is a lot more likely in a place populated by many factions. And I say factions not species there not just because some might team up, but because even a species that evolved first and had the galaxy to itself is likely to be divided into a ton of different groups. Indeed such a firstborn species is probably more likely to
massively factionalize and diverge given they have no external pressure keeping them unified like an outside threat and no check on their growth in an otherwise empty galaxy. We see speciation like this in the natural world quite often. In a many-faction environment trying to wipe everyone else out is not likely to be a winning strategy compared to cooperation. Be they symbiote or parasite, working together is often better, and it’s a failed virus or predator that wipes out its host or prey. But if it does, it is probably just a matter of time before that species
begins to hunt its own members and divide into a new pair of species with a predator-prey cycle. So taken as a whole, none of this lends itself to civilizations all deciding to hide, because the ability isn’t there and neither is the motivation. There’s just no compelling reason to stare into the empty sky for millions of years instead of saying hello, and once one group does, the field changes. We’re not talking about a new civilization like ours whose never put a person on another planet yet either, for them caution as a temporary plan is okay if mostly pointless, we’re talking about them being willing to maintain that policy for eons.
Though this does leave the door open to a mix of hiding and late filter extinction, which is where civilizations hide for a time but also inevitably wipe themselves out, so they never get big enough for long enough to be seen by other civilizations like our own, before they themselves wipe themselves out. This still leaves us the option that some might choose to hide though, like our Mountain Cave survivors example from earlier. And just because that decision isn’t maybe too logical, that does not mean they are illogical on everything else. They might be entirely aware how seemingly futile hiding was when their footprint is already there in the form of their world having biosignatures for eons and them having sent radio signals out before they knew better. They still want to hide, so will seek to, and that raises that question again from earlier: What would you do right now, to hide New York City, so that people didn’t know it existed? Now you probably aren’t a big growth style of civilization so hiding as uploaded minds running on a few ultra-low-power generators buried in icy Oort Cloud objects might be a viable approach, we discussed the details and some ups and downs of that case in our episode Hidden Aliens. You
appear to wipe yourselves out on your native world, and in the noise of the fiery apocalypse have uploaded minds on harddrives carefully put in a discrete icy comet far out in deep space. But to hide yourself from the rest of the galaxy it's probably easiest to get out of your own galaxy. That’s a long trip, you probably need to keep to under .1% light speed to have even a chance of not looking artificial, and would be pressing your luck hiding as a rogue ejected planet or object in the top tier of fast naturally moving objects since that would be exactly the sort of thing a hunter would prioritize checking out. That means your journey to the edge of the galaxy and out is taking you at least 100 million years. There’s also little out there to live on which means bringing a lot of resources and fuel with you. Dragging a larger body, like a dwarf planet instead of a small asteroid or comet, offers a bigger resource supply for when you’re in the intergalactic void, but it is also easier to spot and even if they think it's natural it is more likely to draw unrelated efforts by them at mining or harvesting it for themselves.
That’s about it under known science, and black holes are awful places to hide if you’re curious, unless you know how to hide inside one somehow without dying. How about outside known science? We can talk about blowing up a place right after evacuating it to hide it in its apparent demise but once we step into concepts like moving a whole city or planet through wormholes, we probably want to consider not just that the wormhole might empty into a pocket universe instead of our own, but that you might engage in options like time travel to hide yourself. If you really want to hide your existence, you need to contemplate sending covert agents into alien civilizations to tamper with data and archives, deleting your existence from them. But maybe it is easier to delete your existence from history, not just the records of it. These are scenarios I could imagine, that technology might permit immigration of whole civilizations into other realities or Universes of their creation and that such a technology might be something you stumbled into in your equivalent to the 21st or 22nd century, before you could really have gotten an interstellar empire going and that this option was easier than travel to other stars. So everybody leaves the Universe.
That could leave a pretty barren looking place, where civilizations all emerged into a quiet Universe because nobody had time to broadcast very long or loudly before leaving. So too in the exodus to or creation of Universes, we might remember the scenario that one way to hide from your enemy or hunter is to blind them instead, and species that don’t want to murder other races nor fight them for all time might decide to put them in a Zoo, cordoning off a section off space for them to live in that looked empty, even wrapping their planet in a fake protective illusion, or outright transporting them to pocket Universe or Virtual Worlds their minds had been uploaded to. In such cases it probably behooves you to make that reality or illusion look like one where life emerging was improbable, so as to discourage worries of the options, but it does raise one last option for today. If you’re making pocket Universes, either to hide in yourself or to put new alien races inside, and you can tailor those, it would tend to make sense to aim for something where the physical laws and layout made the emergence of intelligent life very improbable, preventing competitors or aggressors from arising or making your transplants suspicious of their isolation.
However it would probably be hard to make one where life could not arise where you could actually live, let alone have a species that thought it was natural and merely improbable, not statistically impossible. Such being the case, in a very large Universe, many times the size and volume that a given sub-light traveling species could have colonized, like our Universe, it's entirely possible a handful of species would arise anyway. Particularly as there is no need to make life any more improbable than evolving to intelligence once per supercluster to avoid bad neighbor relations. Such being the case, a civilization, like ours, might emerge in such a created universe blissfully unaware that far from our galaxy’s creators, or original transplanted civilization, exists an empire of a trillion suns a billion years old, and we are just the fluke civilization that arose far in the outskirts. Unseen because the light of our planet’s first forming hasn’t even reached them yet, and unaware that we are just a weed that grew as the accidental byproduct of them farming whole Universes. So as I mentioned, our scifi sunday episode earlier this month, Stealth Spaceships, was written as an unofficial companion video to today’s episode and I do recommend giving that a watch if you haven’t already, but one thing I didn’t look at today was the concept of a civilization living on stealthed spaceships, and it’s a bit embarrassing as an oversight since our episode on Nomadic Space-Fleet Based Civilizations that came out just over a year ago also skipped that option, but today’s episode is already long even for normal shows standards.
So we’ll have an extended edition looking at civilizations on stealthed spaceships today over on Nebula, and hopefully develop that into an episode sometime this winter or spring on civilizations on the run, such as we see on Battlestar Galactica. If anyone has any good suggestions for an episode name for that, please drop it in the comments below. As a sidenote, while we often tend to think of stealth spaceships and compare to them to stealthy aircraft we have now, in many ways the better comparison is going to be stealth submarines, and there’s some great videos on submarines on Curiositystream, like the Disappearance of the PX-15, a small sub that got lost right around the time Apollo 11 was happening and the story of the crew’s survival is just as exciting as Apollo 13’s. Again today we have an extended edition over on Nebula, our streaming service, which is full of awesome content from STEM creators like Real Engineering, Mustard, Answers with Joe, MKBHD, Rene Ritchie, and a bunch of others. It’s designed to give creators more freedom than
other platforms, like letting me run long even for an SFIA episode, or do trial balloons for sequels and full-length episodes, as we’ll do today. Also, our episodes of this show appear early and ad free on Nebula, and we have a growing catalogue of extended editions too, as well as some Nebula Exclusives like our Coexistence with Aliens Series. Now you can subscribe to Nebula all by itself but we have also partnered up with CuriosityStream, the home of thousands of great educational videos, to offer Nebula for free as a bonus if you sign up for CuriosityStream using the link in our episode description. That lets you see content like “The Disappearance of the PX-15”, and watch all the other amazing content on Curiositystream, and also all the great content over on Nebula from myself and many others. And you can get all that for less than $15 by using the link in the episode’s description.
So we’re almost done with September but first we’ll have our Monthly Livestream Q&A on Sunday, September 26th at 4pm Eastern Time before closing the month out by asking if it’s possible for future civilizations to exist without money, on Sept 30th. Then we’ll open October up by asking how in vast space empire of countless trillions someone could stand out, then on October 14th we’ll ask how we might feed all those folks, as we look at the future of farming in the next few decades and beyond. Then We’ll have our October Sci-Fi Sunday Episode, Sentient Planets & World Consciousnesses, on October 17th to discuss the popular scifi idea of living and thinking worlds, and if they might occur naturally or be created by high-tech civilizations. Now if you want to make sure you get notified when those episodes come out, make sure subscribe to the channel, and if you enjoyed the episode, don’t forget to hit the like button and share it with others. If you’d like to help support future episodes, you can donate to us on Patreon, or our website, IsaacArthur.net, and patreon and our website are linked in the episode description below, along with all of our various social media forums where you can get updates and chat with others about the concepts in the episodes and many other futuristic ideas.
Until next time, thanks for watching, assuming we weren’t too hidden to see us, and have a great week!