A Columbia University professor has introduced an unusual theory — that humans have yet to discover alien life because it could be woven into the fabric of the universe and even physics itself.
Astrophysicist Caleb Scharf presents this idea in a piece published on the website Nautilus.
According to him, some believe technology might progress so far that "...we wouldn't even realize we were staring at it....it would neatly explain why we have yet to see advanced intelligence in the cosmos around us, despite the sheer number of planets it could have arisen on..."
Check out UFOs and "alien" activity spotted through the years:
Depictions of UFOs and alien activity
Depictions of UFOs and alien activity
In this combo photo, the head of New Zealandâs Mount John Observatory said on Jan. 2, 1979, that the unidentified flying objects filmed by Australian TV men were almost certainly the Planet Venus. Photo at left is from the TV film made over the weekend off the coast of New Zealand. Photo at right is of the Planet Venus made in 1974 by the Mariner space probe. New Zealand astronomer David Mabin said Venus is currently at its brightest and can be seen for about 12 hours a day. Another expert said the radar echoes reported were probably âRadar Angelsâ which are common in the Southern Hemisphere at this time of year. (AP Photo)
Unidentified Flying Object sighted over New Zealand's South Island on Jan. 3, 1979. New Zealand television crew cameraman Frank Kazukaitis said of the sighting, âIt looked like an illuminated ping pong ball with a tinge of red in the middle. (AP Photo/Dominion)
Picture taken by amateur astronomer Walter Schwarz on April 28, 1983 in Nuremberg, Germany shows a first unidentified flying object that hovered above the city for a few days and was later identified as a helium filled stratosphere balloon "Moby Dick" launched by the French space agency CNES. (AP Photo/Walter Schwarz)
This photograph was taken by a tourist and shows an Unidentified Flying Object, flying over Romanian territory near Cluj town Sept. 24. 1968. (AP Photo)
Michael Savage, 15-year-old son of prominent San Bernardino physician and surgeon, was practicing picture-taking with his new camera, when he saw motion out of the corner of his eye Thursday, July 24, 1956, San Bernardino, CA. He quickly shot this picture, tried to shoot another and in his haste, over-cranked the camera, drawing a blank with his second shot. The object disappeared in 30 seconds, he said, not over the horizon but quickly out of sight in the sky. (AP Photo/Michael Savage)
Texas farmer Carrell Wayne Watts told a polygraph operator this Polaroid snap shows an alien spacecraft 80 to 100 feet long, Sunday, Feb. 25, 1968, Amarillo, Tx. The Houston Post will release results of 29-year-old Watts lie test late Sunday night. (AP Photo/Carrell Wayne Watts)
This photograph, reproduced from the quarterly UFO periodical Flying Saucers International in Los Angeles, shows silvery white flying objects as seen by photographer Erich Kaiser while descending from Reichenstein mountain in Austria on Aug. 3, 1954. (AP Photo)
This photo is from the Air Force's "The Roswell Report," released Tuesday, June 24, 1997, which discusses the UFO incident in Roswell, N.M. in 1947. On balloon flights, test dummies were used and placed in insulation bags to protect temperature sensitive equipment. These bags may have been described by at least one witness as "body bags" used to recover alien victims from the crash of a flying saucer. The 231-page report, released on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the Roswell, N.M., UFO incident, is meant to close to book on longstanding rumors that the Air Force recovered a flying saucer and extraterrestrial bodies near Roswell. (AP Photo/Air Force, File)
A sign directs travelers to the start of the "1947 UFO Crash Site Tours" in Roswell, N.M., Tuesday, June 10, 1997. In Roswell, locals don't argue anymore about whether a space ship crashed nearby. They argue about whose ranch it landed on. (AP Photo/Eric Draper)
Children eye a model of an alien on display inside the International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell, N.M., Monday, June 9, 1997. The museum, which is free to the public, receives visitors from all over the world. (AP Photo Eric Draper)
A bicycle-powered flying saucer sputters by the crowd gathered on Main Street Saturday, July 5, 1997, in Roswell, N.M. About two dozen crafts moved down the street in the Crash and Burn Extravaganza as part of the 50th anniversary celebration of an alleged UFO crash near Roswell. (AP Photo/Susan Sterner)
UFOetry performs at the Roswell Convention and Civic Center in Roswell, New Mexico Thursday morning, July 3, 2008, helping kick off the 2008 UFO Festival. (AP Photo/Roswell Daily Record, Mark Wilson)
Workers with the Nevada Department of Transportation sign shop start to install one of the first "Extraterrestrial Highway" signs along state route 375 in Rachel, Nev., Thursday, April 18, 1996, after the official dedication ceremonies by Nevada officials. The E.T. Highway stretches for 98 miles in Lincoln and Nye counties, connecting U.S. Highways 93 and 6. The move is an effort by the Nevada Commission on Tourism to draw tourists to an area known for tales of frequent UFO sightings. (AP Photo/Lennox McLendon)
Police Officer Jeff Greenhaw took these pictures of a strange looking creature he said he found standing in the middle of a major highway which runs thru his town, Wednesday, Oct. 18, 1973, Huntsville, Al. (AP Photo/Jeff Greenhaw)
UFO sighted by a New Mexico State University student, West of Picacho Peak, Las Cruces, New Mexico, March 12, 1967. About 2:00pm the student was hiking in a desert area near Picacho Peak, New Mexico, when he spotted a big round silvery object hovering in the air just above a rocky hill about 500 yards away. He prepared his 4" X 5" Press Camera, set it at F8 and 1/100 shutter speed, and snapped one good black and white picture of the object. (AP Photo)
Described as a leisure home of the 1970s, this flying saucer-shaped house - called the 'Futuro' - is made up of 16 pre-moulded segments of fibreglass. Designed by Finnish architect Matti Suuronen, it is being made under license from Oy Polykem of Helsinki by a Lancashire firm (Waterside Plastics Ltd, of Todmorden) and is described as the leisure home of today and tomorrow.
Pat Slimmer climbs into his street-legal UFO at the start of the Art Tougeau parade in Lawrence, Kan., Saturday, May 30, 2015. This year's parade is paired with the Lawrence Busker Festival so Lawrence (Kan.) mayor Jeremy Farmer proclaimed May 29-31 a "The Official Weird Weekend." (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
Mary Burden and Sue Williams, right, slip into their alien outfits Wednesday, July 2, 1997, in Roswell, N.M. Burden and Williams plan to join other Roswell residents and tourists Thursday evening in an alien costume contest as part of the 50th anniversary of the Roswell incident. (AP Photo/Susan Sterner)
UFO-like model is carried by people as an eye-catcher reflecting a science fiction boom during mass rally celebrating Japan's May Day in rainy in Tokyo on Monday, May 1, 1978. About 4.5 million people rallied to celebrate May Day in Japan, many calling on the government to give more relief for the jobless and more employment security. (AP Photo/Katsumi Kasahara)
World reception center for official visitors from outer space was proposed by an American specialist on unidentified flying objects (UFOs). Hungarian-born Colman von Keviczky, a former United Nations official, right, and Karl L. Viet, the president of the German branch of the UFO study society, are at a news conference on the international conference of UFO-students, Oct. 31, 1967 in Mainz, Germany. At foreground is a model of a UFO which doubles as bedside lamp. (AP Photo/Kurt Strumpf)
Discover More Like This
BACK TO SLIDE
Scharf also notes that, given the possibility that other building blocks of life exist outside of molecules, "a civilization could then transcribe itself and its entire physical realm into new forms. Indeed, perhaps our universe is one of the new forms into which some other civilization transcribed its world."
Scharf points out, "...only about 5 percent of the mass-energy of the universe consists of ordinary matter: the protons, neutrons, and electrons that we're composed of. A much larger 27 percent is thought to be unseen, still mysterious stuff."
He also questions if the universe's past unpredictable ways, such as a rapid expansion 5 billion years ago, could be the result of alien manipulations.
Overall, Scharf considers these possibilities to be fun and hopes a lab can one day detect life in dark matter.
RELATED: You don't even have to leave our planet to check out these otherworldly landscapes:
Alien-looking, otherwordly landscapes found on Earth
Alien-looking, otherwordly landscapes found on Earth
Dragon blood trees in rocky landscape, Homhil Protected Area, Socotra, Yemen
Mysterious moving rocks at a playa in Death Valley national Park called The Race Track
Turkey, Central Anatolia, Cappadocia, Unesco World Heritage Site, Uchisar village, the camel driver
Fire crater, gas crater, Door to Hell Darvaza crater, Derweze or Darvaza, Karakum Desert, Dasoguz Province, Turkmenistan
Kristal Icecave in BreiÃ°amerkurljÃ¶kul glacier in Iceland
The Haleakala silversword (Argyroxiphium sandwicense subsp. macrocephalum) is a rare plant found only the island of Maui on the dormant Haleakala volcano.Silverswords live between 3 and 90 years or more. They flower once, sending up a spectacular flowering stalk, and then die soon afterward, scattering drying seeds to the wind. Flowering events can differ dramatically from one flowering season to the next. The reasons for that are not understood.
Giant's Causeway on a cloudy day - Northern Ireland
Take in Athabasca Glacier, Jasper, Alberta, Canada
United States, Oregon, Dayville
Moeraki rocks found on the east coast of new zealand
High Angle View Of Grand Prismatic Spring In Yellowstone National Park
Frozen methane bubbles at Abraham lake at sunrise with beautiful sky.
A sand dune glows red at last light in this landscape image of the Namib Desert.
Salar de Uyuni hexagons at sunset
Colorful mountain in Danxia landform in Zhangye, Gansu of China.
The enchanting pools of Pamukkale in Turkey. Pamukkale contains hot springs and travertines, terraces of carbonate minerals left by the flowing water. The site is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Deep underground cave exploration of Karst cave 'Krizna jama', Slovenia. Roughly 8-9 km long, from 30 to 125 m deep, lots of chambers, siphons, corridors, small islands and roughly 40 lakes, stalactites, stalagmites and other specifical Karst rock formations.
Dallol is volcano, Danakil desert, Ethiopia.
Michigan, United States of America
Snow covered wave taken during cold in Coyote Buttes North.
Egypt, Baharija, White desert
Cave halong bay
The blue ice cave at lake Baikal
This image was taken in the Fall of 2008 at Tufa State Park, Mono County, Mono Lake, California. This image is very rare as the lake water level is much higher now. I shot this at the cusp of dawn and no filters were used.
Zabriskie Point with Panamint Range in distance, Mojave Desert. Mutant nature Zabriskie Point is a part of Amargosa Range located east of Death Valley in Death Valley National Park in California, United States noted for its erosional landscape. It is composed of sediments from Furnace Creek Lake, which dried up 5 million years ago long before Death Valley came into existence.
Baobab trees (Adansonia Grandidieri) reflecting in the water under the milky Way, Morondava, Toliara province, Madagascar.
(GERMANY OUT) Western Australia - Nambung National Park - limestone formations, called Pinnacles, at dusk (Photo by Mayall/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
Fingal's Cave on the Scottish Inner Hebrides island of Staffa.
Rocky cliffs reflected in the calm waters of Horseshoe Lake, Jasper National park, Alberta, Canada.
Abstract nature of Lower Antelope Canyon. The canyon is part of a series of slot canyons on Navajo land in Arizona, USA.
Sweden, Halsingland, Voxnan River at sunrise, winter
Huang Shan, Anhui Province, China
Nieve penitente is a spike or pillar of compacted snow or ice caused by differential melting and evaporation.