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Jennifer Wiseman

Where Is Everyone?

Prospecting for extraterrestrial life.

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Bennett bookends Beyond UFOs with a fundamental question known as Fermi's paradox: If life is indeed prevalent in the universe, and if even some of these inhabited worlds harbor intelligent civilizations, then why haven't we encountered them? Where is everybody? Having explained why reports of alien sightings and abductions are not credible, Bennett speculates on three possible answers to the paradox: we are truly alone in the universe; there have been many civilizations scattered throughout the galaxies, but—ominously—all of them "have destroyed themselves before reaching the point at which their technology could take them to the stars"; or, finally, Bennett's preferred solution: advanced life is everywhere, but we are not yet ready and able to detect it. If astrobiology continues to develop at its present pace, perhaps that will change.

Jennifer Wiseman is an astronomer, speaker, and author. After heading the Laboratory for Exoplanets and Stellar Astrophysics at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center for several years, she recently assumed the role of Senior Project Scientist for the Hubble Space Telescope. She also directs the Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion for the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The opinions expressed in this review are her personal views.

1. As quoted by Ted Peters in Science, Theology, and Ethics (Ashgate, 2003), p. 126.

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