The gist of it is that he asks his astrophysicist friend if there are aliens somewhere in the universe and, if so, why haven't they contacted us? The answer is, in essence, a poetic take on the Drake Equation. The Drake Equation takes the unknowable trillions of stars in the unknowable vastness of the Universe and tells us that, given the observable portion of those stars that have planets capable of supporting life, we can assume that other civilizations must exist, and estimate how many there are.
Of course, when you're dealing with something unknowable, the best you can do to solve the equation is estimate, and estimates so far for the Drake Equation have suggested that there are between 1,000 and 100,000 civilizations somewhere out in the Universe. That's a huge variation, but something is almost definitely out there.
The problem is that the universe is big, and there's an excessively slim chance that any two cultures on such a massive stage will ever meet each other. So, as Vlad pointed out, we seem to be more or less on our own.
But then there's the Wow! Signal.
|No, seriously, WOW!|
Sadly, when the excitement wore off, the stuffy and rational types wrote off the Wow! Signal, saying that if it were aliens, we'd be able to hear it again in the same spot. Case disappointingly closed.
Or not, according to a recent theory that the Wow! signal may have been specifically targeting other civilizations. In other words, this wasn't us listening in on someone's radio chatter, it was their civilization shooting off a message with someone like us in mind. We should know, we've done the same thing. We tossed a brief message off into space where we thought there might potentially be life, and we haven't repeated it.
|That's our message to aliens. Yeah. Straightforward, right?|