Drake Equation v. Fermi Paradox

I am a science fiction fan. I read a lot of Asimov and Heinlein as a kid, and I watch a lot of Star Trek and any other sci-fi I can find, which is quite a bit, as of late. But, is it all possible? Oh, sure, the holodeck is nothing but virtual reality, we already have the early versions of that, and replicators are just highly developed versions of 3-D printing, their communicators are not a great leap ahead of the mobile phones we all have today, and Sophia is a clear precursor of Data.
But, we still haven’t met any aliens, and have no proof that any of them have ever visited Earth.
It’s the conflict between the Drake Equation and the Fermi Paradox. At the time the Drake equation was formulated, a lot of the variables were truly unknown. Today, we know that lots and lots of other stars, probably most, have planets. We now know that water is abundant throughout the universe. So, it’s a reasonable bet that thousands of planets, even millions of planets, exist within the goldilocks zone, have liquid water on their surface, and have evolved life. It’s also highly likely that some of those species are thousands of years further along in their technological evolution than we are.
The Fermi Paradox says “If there’s so many of them out there, why have none of them visited here.”
Well, there are a few possible explanations, and here’s one: assume for a moment that faster than light travel actually is, as it seems to be, impossible. A cosmic, physical speed limit. That means it would still take over 4 years to get to us from the nearest star system, and that’s just one. For most, it would take thousands. There might be some species out there sending out probes, and trying to find others, but even for them, even if they are millions of light years ahead of us, if FTL travel is impossible, that’s a long damn walk through the deep, deep woods, and the chance of our being discovered any time soon is minimal.

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