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The theory, which falls under the zoo hypothesis – which claims that aliens are watching us – is an attempt at explaining the Fermi Paradox.
In 1950, physicist Enrico Fermi – the creator of the world’s first nuclear reactor – came up with a paradox which says due to the age and size of the universe there is bound to be a civilisation much more advanced than ours, but why haven’t they contacted us?
The solution, many scientists argue, is once a civilisation reaches a certain size, it eventually kills itself off as it becomes impossible to sustain, either through war with advanced weapons or natural disaster.
Another possible solution is that there simply is no other life out there.
However, John Ball, a radio astronomer at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, claims we are being studied by an advanced alien civilisation, and that is why we have not heard from them and we are not advanced enough to be contacted.
With the universe being 13.8 billion years old, man’s oldest ancestors have only been around for about 0.36 per cent of this time, and modern humans considerably less.
This implies that a civilisation is likely a head start of at least millions of years on us, meaning that we still probably seem like chimps in comparison.
Mr Ball argues that if there are aliens out there and they have not decided to destroy us, then there are two possible implications.
He says: “Either that we’re more valuable to him alive than squashed, or at least we’re not interfering much with whatever he’s doing.
“How could we interfere? We can’t even get out of our solar system — yet.”