Milky Way could be home to 36 intelligent alien civilisations

Rodiano Bonacci
Июня 16, 2020

There could be 36 intelligent civilisations in our galaxy, the study said.

Using the two factors mentioned above, researchers from Nottingham University have identified 36 planets in the Milky Way, where civilizations with intelligent life forms may exist.

Astrophysics Professor Christopher Conselice, who led the research, said: "There should be at least a few dozen active civilisations in our Galaxy under the assumption that it takes five billion years for intelligent life to form on other planets, as on Earth".

Now researchers at the University of Nottingham have taken a new approach to estimating the number of possible extraterrestrial civilisations, using the assumption that intelligent life develops on other planets in a similar way as it does on Earth.

Reinforcing the Fermi Paradox, the average distance to these civilizations would be 17,000 light-years away, making detection and communication very hard with our present technology.

The problem of course being that the average distance between these civilizations would be tens of thousands of light years, making it almost impossible for any of one of them to communicate with the other.

The team developed a new model to estimate the number of intelligent alien races in our galaxy, which they call the Astrobiological Copernican limit.

The classic method for estimating the number of intelligent civilizations relies on making guesses of values relating to life, whereby opinions about such matters vary quite substantially.

Intelligent civilisations that do exist are also likely to be separated by 17,000 light-years, they added. The first is that intelligent life forms in less than 5 billion years, the second that it arrives after 5 billion years (on Earth, we formed a communicating civilisation after 4.5 billion years).

Christopher Conselice, who also gave information about the details of the study, said that his ideas in the study were a cosmic view of evolution.

The number of civilizations depends strongly on how long they are actively sending out signals of their existence into space, such as radio transmissions from satellites, television, etc.

The new study, published Monday in "The Astrophysical Journal", shed light on just how many planets in our slice of the galaxy could be home to past, current and future alien civilizations, as well as the bleak future that could be in store for us.

"In the strong criteria, whereby a metal content equal to that of the Sun is needed (the Sun is relatively speaking quite metal rich), we calculate that there should be around 36 active civilizations in our Galaxy", explained first author Tom Westby.

If other technological civilisations have been around for as long as ours, which is now 100 years, then there will be about 36 ongoing intelligent technical civilisations throughout our Galaxy.

The researchers said that if it was found that intelligent life was common, and there were many dozens of civilisations, we could expect humanity's technological civilisation to last a few hundred years.

"Alternatively, if we find that there are no active civilizations in our Galaxy, it is a bad sign for our own long-term existence".

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