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This past December 2018 an exciting event took place: NASA researcher Silvano Colombano, who works for the agency’s Ames Research Center in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, published a white paper that Enrico Fermi would have given a rave review titled “New Assumptions to Guide SETI Research.” In short, the document was a fresh look at the Fermi Paradox that attempts to answer the eternal human question: Are we alone? Where is evidence of another advanced civilization?

Colombano challenged the set of assumptions that currently guide SETI research and made recommendations for a new, more “aggressive” approach. Recent discoveries, he observed, from the Kepler Mission data have identified planetary system as old as 10.4 Gyr (a Gyr equal to one billion years) Kepler-10 and 11.2 Gyr, Kepler-444. Considering that the age of our solar system is about 4.5 Gyr, earth like planets could exist that are 6 billion years older than Earths.

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