Von Neumann Probes and the Fermi Paradox

4834 Views | Published on 29th Jun, 2017

Can the galaxy be colonized in a reasonable time using Von Neumann probes?

Named after the Hungarian-born American mathematician John von Neumann, a Von Neumann probe is a self-replicating device that could, one day, be used to explore every facet of the Milky Way in only 500,000 years.

These machines are purely theoretical but astronomers and physicists have good reason to believe that any advanced extraterrestrial civilization will have the capability to make such a self replicating devices. If this is the case, why haven’t we observed any?

Tune in this week as we deep dive questions into like: What are von neumann probes? How does our understanding of Von Neumann probes change our understanding of the Fermi Paradox? What would such probes physically be constructed of?


Dr. Martin Barlow, Professor, University of Wales, Department of Mathematics

Dr. Keith Wiley, Author/ Software Engineer

Dr. Svetlana Berdyugina: Director, Kiepenheuer Institute for Solar Physics

Dr. Jeff Kuhn: Professor/Astronomer - University of Hawaii

Interesting Papers:
"Galactic exploration by directed self-replicating probes,
and its implications for the Fermi paradox", Dr. Martin Barlow

"The Fermi Paradox, Self-Replicating Probes,
and the Interstellar Transportation Bandwidth" ,Keith Wiley

"Exploring the Galaxy Using Space Probes" R. Bjørk

"A Computational Analysis of Galactic Exploration with Space Probes: Implications for the Fermi Paradox ", Carlos Cotta and Álvaro Morales

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