One of the more profound questions when pondeeing the universe is one that permeates our human identity. We consider this question every time we encounter ourselves in relation to the bigger picture of the cosmos: are we alone?
It would seem, given the hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy, many of which host planets not much different from our own, that our galaxy should be teeming with life. So far, our observations would seem to suggest otherwise.
Last week, I covered the concept of self-replicating von Neumann Probes and some possible reasons why we haven't detected any yet. Are we actually alone in the galaxy? Or could an advanced alien civilization be out there, and not yet detectable with our current technological capabilities?
In any case, it's logical to assume that any such advanced alien civilization would utilize self-replicating probes to fulfill a number of different tasks in our galaxy, ranging from exploration to building megastructures to eradicating other intelligent life forms.