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Hey Martians! The earthlings are coming

History reveals that civilisations write their own obituaries. Now, astronomy confirms it too.

Published: 14th March 2021 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th April 2021 10:18 AM   |  A+A-

An image grab from a handout computer animation by EPFL shows the Milky Way galaxy, with the location of the Sun. Image used for representational purposes (Photo | AFP)

An image grab from a handout computer animation by EPFL shows the Milky Way galaxy, with the location of the Sun. Image used for representational purposes (Photo | AFP)

History reveals that civilisations write their own obituaries. Now, astronomy confirms it too. A new study by CALTECH researchers concludes that the Milky Way is full of the ghosts of alien civilisations that committed seppuku because their technological progress led to ‘complete destruction and biological degeneration’. Ironically,  the more advanced a civilisation, the faster it self-annihilates. If you don’t get nuked, it is acid rain. The scientists are not kidding. Around 4.6 to 6.2 million years ago, the earliest Homo sapien chucked its ape club membership and kept on murdering until it got into the bona fide modern behavioural guild about 50,000 years ago just like the Mafia went legit. Societies bumped each other off, a practice they have perfected over centuries.

Akkadia, the world’s first known civilisation 43 centuries ago, collapsed due to eerily modern screw-ups: mass migration, conflicts, drought, shortage of food  and barren fields, indicating, whoa, climate change! Scholars suggest the Indus Valley Civilisation took its eye off the ball in 1800 BCE. The Romans blitzed the Greek, Egyptians and Persians. After World War II, Europe and Britain keeled over under American power. Not Mozart, folks, it is Lady Gaga who breaks the charts. It is American civilisational values versus the rest of us blokes. 

In this great musical chair runaround, the ugly clamour of election campaigns, the cacophony of bitter rhetoric, the kerfuffle over nationalism versus globalisation, and religion against eclectic belief are as fleeting as political bromances. Human beings cannot see beyond their life spans and ambitions. They create institutions that give them a reason to live and fight. Ideology’s chicken soup is made with promises and history is the graveyard of pledges. Breaking promises is the bread and butter of politics. Power is the sous chef of war, internal violence and pestilence. Politics is a glutton for business wealth just as politicians thrive by hoodwinking fawning citizenry.

The greed of big industry influences policy by subverting global health. This snake keeps eating its own tail until there is no tail, no snake. Boom! We are gone where there are no Bengal elections, IT raids, gas price hikes and morality maniacs threatening OTT serials, and Donald Trump. No Rahul Gandhi either—the only silver lining. Hence, it is no wonder that Elon Musk wants to get the hell outta here and Mars is the new Bitcoin. The study mentioned earlier calculates that life arrived on a planet in the Milky Way 13,000 light-years away from its centre and eight billion years after the galaxy’s cradle moment.

The calculation is that if a civilisation reaches its apogee in five billion years, others on the 13,000 time scale would have likely given up the ghost by now. Going by this index, we have 5.5 billion years to stick around. It is not that long if you check how many light years the galaxy has been around. Do you plan to hang around until the Big Bang becomes the Big Blast? Guys, I’m booking my flight to Mars as soon as the counter opens. The brochure promises we will then have another five billion years in our savings account.

What about you?

Ravi Shankar ravi@newindianexpress.com


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