In “The UFO Question (Part 1): NASA, Harvard, and the Pentagon are all taking UFOs seriously now,” we discussed new initiatives aimed at studying the possibility of extra-terrestrial life, as well as new investigations pertaining to UFOs mounted, often in secret, by governmental agencies.

Then, in “The UFO Question (Part 2): The Drake Equation and the Fermi Paradox,” we compared Drake’s estimates regarding the number of alien civilizations that could be expected to develop within our own galaxy to Fermi’s assertion that we’re likely alone because we have yet to hear or see any other forms of intelligent life.

To this point, what we’ve really been trying to establish is a bit of common ground. Part 1 was meant to convince you that it’s not just tin-foil-hat-wearing lunatics that are investigating the strange lights people keep reporting in the sky. Part 2 demonstrated how nothing about our planet is particularly special or unique — with both Drake and Fermi pointing to that as proof of their seemingly disparate beliefs. Now, I’m going to extend a bit beyond the work of these men to establish a new assertion that bridges the gap between the two: it’s my belief that the Drake Equation and the Fermi Paradox are not mutually exclusive. Alien life may well be common place — so common, in fact, that we’re just not all that interesting.

Drake argues that the building blocks of intelligent life are so common place throughout our galaxy that it’s statically impossible for life to only exist on our little blue dot. Fermi contends that, because the building blocks of life are so common place, there should be evidence of extra-terrestrial life all over the place. And since our search of other celestial bodies within our solar system and efforts to contact aliens using radio communications have all failed to find any conclusive evidence of life, it stands to reason that life is exceptionally rare or there’s some other barrier preventing us from discovering or engaging with our celestial neighbors — just as Fermi would contend, given the decades worth of exploration that’s taken place since he formed his theory.