Robin Hanson answered the Fermi paradox by suggesting that there was a “Great Filter” that kept intelligent life from existing.  He suggested a list of nine possibilities; from life-bearing worlds being rarer than we think, to advanced races inevitably suffering a deadly catastrophe.  We found living worlds when we explored, all empty of intelligent life.  We wondered if a catastrophe was ahead or behind us.  Then the Peloran made Contact and we knew we were not alone.