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    With 100 thousand million stars in the Milky Way galaxy alone, and with most if not all of them having planets, there should be dozens of advanced alien civilisations roaming the galaxy.

    So why haven’t we seen them? This question, known to scientists as The Fermi Paradox, has baffled experts for over 70 years.

    Leading astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has put forward three main solutions to the puzzle.

    READ MORE: Astronomer Royal says humanity will be replaced by AI robots – and aliens already are

    First, he suggests, it could simply be that long-distance space travel is much harder than we think.

    Light travels at 671 million miles per hour, but there are good scientific reasons why a spacecraft could never achieve that speed. Even a just 10% of that speed, though, an explorer could cross the entire Milky Way galaxy in a million years.

    Neil deGrasse Tyson points out that an advanced alien civilisation could well have emerged over a million years ago, somewhere in the galaxy.

    “A million [years] is small, compared to the time life has been on Earth,” he told Popular Mechanics.

    So perhaps, he says, the Star Trek dream of exploring the galaxy at a significant fraction of the speed of light is simply impossible.

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    The fastest speed so far achieved by a spacecraft from Earth is 364,660 mph, which was achieved by the Parker Solar Probe in just over a year ago. At that rate it would take almost 8,000 years to reach the Sun’s nearest neighbour, Proxima Centauri.

    But if aliens can travel at incredible speeds, there might be a very simple reason why they haven’t visited us. We’re just not smart enough.

    Tyson says that by the standards of a super-advanced civilisation we may just be too primitive to contact.

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    But there’s a third, more dramatic possibility. Not Star Trek, but Star Wars.

    Several advanced civilisations could have sprung up, says Tyson, all of which could have tried to colonise overlapping regions of the galaxy – leading to a series of interstellar wars.

    It’s similar, he explains, to the conflicts between rival empires on Earth in previous centuries.

    With war raging across the galaxy, the super-civilisations that came before us were simply too busy to visit our little backwater out on the galaxy’s edge.

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