In a recent episode of the Full Send Podcast, Elon Musk spent some time talking about something that he could be considered an expert on: aliens! During a portion of the episode, Musk spends time talking about aliens and their paradoxes, The Great Filter, and a lot more. Let’s break it down here.

Elon Musk Talks About Whether Aliens Exist

If you wanted a definite answer as to whether aliens exist, asking the guy who leads the largest private rocket company in the world, may be a good idea! Unfortunately, Musk seems to be as unsure as the rest of the world. During the podcast interview, Musk goes into some detail on the required population needed to make Mars a self-sustaining colony. In a bit of a leap in conversation, he then begins to explain why we don’t see aliens or the presence of aliens through our telescopes. This is where he drops the first big bit of information and references the Fermi Paradox. The Fermi Paradox essentially states that with how long the Universe has been around, the odds of aliens existing are extremely high. Contrary to the math, however, we have zero evidence of any extraterrestrials at this point in time. The famous line attributed to Fermi during lunch was, “But where is everybody?”

There are a lot of varying answers to the Fermi Paradox, but truthfully, we don’t have all the answers to anything alien-related quite yet! As it stands, Elon Musk holds that there isn’t any convincing evidence to definitively show aliens exist, but he seems to think they are mathematically likely. Essentially, they could exist, but we haven’t seen them.

Musk discuss aliens
SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft docking to the International Space Station. Dragon is capable of carrying up to 7 passengers to and from Earth orbit, and beyond.

Why Could Aliens Visiting Earth Be a Dangerous Event?

During the conversation about the Fermi Paradox, Musk alludes to the fact that aliens visiting could be rather terrifying. The reason for his fears? Technology. As he summarized, the level of technology it would take for aliens to travel from another star system to earth would be so much more advanced than ours, we would be as helpless as children towards the visitors. Even if these alien visitors were totally benign, we would likely have zero way to even comprehend how advanced they are, let alone fight them.

Musk quotes Arthur C. Clarke here and says, “Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.”

What is The Great Filter?

The Great Filter is brought up during the conversation surrounding the Fermi Paradox, but it is never really addressed. In short, the Great Filter is one of the potential reasons that explain the paradox. It basically states that even if life exists, it would require a high level of advancement to even be detectable from across the galaxy. During the development of advanced life, there is some barrier (or filter) that makes detecting advanced life rare.

Elon Musk’s Plans To Colonize Space

Part of the reason that Musk and the podcast hosts veered onto the topic of aliens was due to a project that Musk has on the side: Colonizing Mars. His mission to colonize mars is one of the most ambitious in modern space history and isn’t just a pipe dream.

They go over a few of the logistics required for the mission during the episode, including how many people the colony would need to be self-sustaining. According to Musk’s estimations, it would require right around a million people to keep things running smoothly.

Why does he want to do this? It’s simple: preservation. Whether it’s a nuclear war, a rogue meteor, or some other unpredictable event, it’s always possible for humans to be gone tomorrow. As history shows us, there is no guarantee that any one species will make it past a few thousand years, let alone millions. In order to preserve intelligent life, a “life insurance policy” for humanity is needed. In Musk’s eyes, space is the best answer.

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