Well, he commented on twitter about it, at any rate. But basically, the publication World and Science, which is permitted to republish articles published by Universe Today (for whom I work) recently posted one of my articles on their website. It was titled “New Model Predicts That We’re Probably the Only Advanced Civilization in the Observable Universe.” While the title may sound a little final and disappointing, the subject matter was actually a study that takes a fresh look at the famous Drake Equation. And in the end, they don’t claim we are alone, but rather there’s a lot of uncertainties still present in the equation, which is why we need to search for extra-terrestrial life more!
In any case, the article has gotten a pretty big response given the controversial nature of the topic. And when World and Science tweeted the story out, guess who commented on it? Yes, Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, Paypal, Tesla, Solar City, and the Boring Company. It all began about 16 hours ago, when Musk tweeted: “So strange” in response to the article. A discussion naturally followed where people dismissed or disagreed with the article or questioned the study’s validity (like I said, it’s controversial!).
In the midst of it, Musk tweeted, “Let’s find out. It would be amazing to encounter an alien civilization, provided it is not their invasion fleet!”, followed by multiple UFO emojis. Inevitably, Musk declared that the study underlined the important of space exploration, tweeting “This is why we must preserve the light of consciousness by becoming a spacefaring civilization & extending life to other planets”, and “It is unknown whether we are the only civilization currently alive in the observable universe, but any chance that we are is added impetus for extending life beyond Earth”.
No disagreement there. But at the same time, the study underscores the importance of the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence (SETI). Since it indicates that, based on the uncertainties still present in the Drake Equation – for example, how likely are potentially-habitable planets to give rise to life, and how often is intelligent life likely to emerge from that?, etc. – it’s more likely to conclude humanity is alone in the visible Universe at the moment. But that’s nothing if not a declaration that we need to correct for those uncertainties by getting out there and studying the conditions under which life can emerge in far greater detail.
Needless to say, I was flattered and excited that someone like Musk was commenting on an article penned by little ol’ me. And I certainly told him as much! I hope he comments back! I also hope he likes science fiction, because I hope to tell him I’ve got a book coming out in just a few weeks! More on that soon enough! 🙂