MYSTERY WIRE — Humans and Hollywood have speculated for years that we are not the only intelligent life in the universe. Now, new research suggests there might be at least 36 ongoing intelligent civilizations in the Milky Way galaxy alone.
The group of scientists doing this research at the University of Nottingham. They think they’ve come up with a new “cosmic evolution”-based calculation. Our Solar System, the Milky Way, is estimated to have between 100 to 400 billion stars, and roughly one exoplanet per star.
The research has been published in the The Astrophysical Journal, and assumes intelligent life can occur on other planets much as it has done on our own planet.
According to an article by Forbes, a key assumption is that it takes around five billion years for intelligent life to form on other planets, as it does on Earth. Another is that a technological civilization will last at least 100 years—as ours has, thus far. After all, it took 4.5 billion years of evolution before a technological civilization arose on Earth, and was capable of communicating.
The calculation takes into account star formation histories, how common metal-rich stars are (like the Sun), and the likelihood of stars hosting Earth-like planets in their habitable zones.
The research actually concludes that the number 36 is actually the least amount of civilizations that should be out there given the strictest set of assumptions—namely that communicating civilizations only survive for 100 years.
But, according to the researchers, the average distance to one of these 36 civilizations is around 17,000 light-years, so current humans will likely never communicate with them.