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Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

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The Fermi paradox

6 minutes

Life is durable and Earth-like planets aren’t rare. So where are all the aliens?

Potentially habitable planets are more plentiful then we once thought: there are trillions in the Universe, and an estimated million in the Milky Way alone. Looking inward at our own small life-sustaining planet, we’ve also discovered that life isn’t nearly as delicate as we had imaged: lifeforms exist buried in the Earth’s crust and deep underwater, in extreme heat and extreme cold. So why, in every search for intelligent life elsewhere in the Universe, have we come up so utterly empty?

Video by Kurzgesagt

Support Aeon

Ideas can change the world

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.

But we can’t do it without you.

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

Become a Friend for $5 a month or Make a one-off donation

Essay/Biology
The minds of plants

From the memories of flowers to the sociability of trees, the cognitive capacities of our vegetal cousins are all around us

Laura Ruggles

Essay/Earth Science
Life goes deeper

The Earth is not a solid mass of rock: its hot, dark, fractured subsurface is home to weird and wonderful life forms

Gaetan Borgonie & Maggie Lau