Awfullest science headline of the month: “The aliens are silent because they’re dead.”

Science Daily clinches it – not because of inaccuracy, but because of the sheer despair in considering that we’re not hearing anyone in our galaxy because everyone else has died:

In research aiming to understand how life might develop, the scientists realized new life would commonly die out due to runaway heating or cooling on their fledgling planets.

“The universe is probably filled with habitable planets, so many scientists think it should be teeming with aliens,” said Dr Aditya Chopra from the [Australian National University] Research School of Earth Sciences and lead author on the paper, which is published in Astrobiology.

“Early life is fragile, so we believe it rarely evolves quickly enough to survive.”

“Most early planetary environments are unstable. To produce a habitable planet, life forms need to regulate greenhouse gases such as water and carbon dioxide to keep surface temperatures stable.”

Wet, rocky planets, with the ingredients and energy sources required for life seem to be ubiquitous, however, as physicist Enrico Fermi pointed out in 1950, no signs of surviving extra-terrestrial life have been found.

A plausible solution to Fermi’s paradox, say the researchers, is near universal early extinction, which they have named the Gaian Bottleneck.

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