Since the late 1940s there has been almost an obsession with the existence of UFOs. For the purpose of this paper, I am going to assume they do exist. That done they must be explained as to where they came from and how they got here. Neither is at all easy.
I must establish certain basics for this conversation to continue. First, distance in the universe is measured in light years. A light year is not a measurement of time but of distance, 5,878,499,810,000 mile to be exact. That is 5,878 billion miles. To put that in some sort of context, Pluto is 3.67 billion miles from the Sun or 3.65 billion miles from Earth. Regardless, it took the New Horizons space craft almost 10 years to travel that short distance, relative to the whole universe or even our own galaxy. At the speed of light, that trip would have taken about 5 hours. The closest star to us is Proxima Centauri at 4.24 light years. The closest galaxy, Andromeda, is 2.537 million light years away. The edge of the known universe is some 13.5 billion light years away.
Now, Einstein postulated, and physicists have since proven, at least to some degree, that the faster you need to go the more energy you need. That part seems obvious however when you talk about going the speed of light they speculate you would need an infinite amount of energy, an impossibility. All right, so let us say our visitors figured out how to travel half the speed of light, highly unlikely, but even so, if they were from Proxima Centauri, their journey here, one way, would take almost 9 years. And if they could only manage one tenth the speed of light, the journey takes 42 years. Light travels at 670.6 million miles an hour. The New Horizons spacecraft traveled at 36,300 miles per hour. And somehow we need to get to 67 million miles an hour to have any sort of reasonable chance of visiting our nearest neighbor. We have not a clue how to do that but that does not mean distant civilizations have not resolved that problem.
In his general theory of relativity, Einstein defined space and time. We hold fast to that principle today. But physicists have noted that the space/time continuum can be bent as evidenced in the existence of black holes. Our own Sun causes and bending of that as well, just not to the degree a black hole does. From this, scientists speculate that through this bending process large distances in space can be conquered through this bending process. For example, imagine a sheet of 8 ½ by 11 paper and that is space/time. Take one edge and fold it towards the other. Now if you are sitting on the one edge the trick becomes jumping to the other because of the bend. If a very advanced civilization has resolved that problem then the crossing of great distances become a much easier thing. Gene Roddenbury’s imaginative Star Trek may have inadvertently supplied us the answer is his use of “warp speed.” That warping is of the space in front of the space craft and this is how physicists imagine it might be accomplished.
The how to get here resolved, more or less, we are left with the questions of who and where? It is good to note that 100 years ago humans believed they were the only intelligent life forms in the universe. This, of course, is a very arrogant belief. Today’s astronomers are discovering planets outside our own solar system all the time. They have discovered nearly 2000 planets, exoplanets they call them for their existence outside our solar system. These planets have been attached to 1225 stars with a number of stars having multiple planets orbiting them. As we continue to gaze skyward that number will and is climbing. But even more importantly, these same brilliant scientists have calculated the possibility of the existence of intelligent life form existing anywhere in the universe. They have decided that it is a certainty. We are just now discovering life on other planets and moons in our own solar system which, by extension, leaves us with the almost absolute certainty of life existing in every galaxy in the universe. And how many galaxies are there? At latest count, over 100 billion!
I suspect that we have been visited by extraterrestrial life forms who find our planet a curiosity and nothing more. The most likely scenario is that they, like us, are on scientific fact finding missions. At some point they may want to contact us but thus far have not found any good reason. We just are not that interesting. Such scientists have likely encountered a thousand other civilizations at various points in their existence, and having studied them categorized us as being just like one or more of those thousands of other civilizations. We simply do not warrant greater consideration. But if they do decide to contact us, I suspect we will have to prove ourselves as being a lot more worthy than we are now. We as a race love war and violence far too much for an extraterrestrial scientific expedition to take a chance on us as we now exist.