Perhaps we are not.
According to new scholars, there could be at least 36 active and interacting civilizations in our Milky Way galaxy, according to a new study. However, due to time and distance, we may never know if they exist or exist.
Previous calculations on these lines are based on the Drake equation, written by astronomer and astrophysicist Frank Drake in 1961.
The authors wrote in their study, “Drake has developed an equation that can be used in principle to calculate the number of intelligent extraterrestrial civilizations (CETI) that may exist in the galaxy.” “However, many of its terms are unknown and other methods should be used to calculate the possible number of incessant civilizations.”
So scientists at the University of Nottingham developed their own approach.
“The main difference between our calculations and previous calculations based on Drake’s equation is that we assume very simple assumptions about how life has evolved,” said Christopher Councils, professor of astrophysics at Nottingham University, in an email to CNN.
One of them is that life is shaped in a scientific way – that is, if the right conditions are met, then life will be formed. This avoids impossible to answer questions such as: “Which part of the planets in a habitable area of a star will form life?” And “What is the part of life that will evolve into a smart life?” Because this is not answerable until we actually discover life, which we have not yet done. ”
They developed what they call the astronomical Copernican principle to put weak and strong boundaries on life in the galaxy. These equations include the history of star formation in our galaxy, the ages of stars, the mineral content of stars and the possibility of stars hosting Earth-like planets in their habitable regions where life can form.
The habitable zone is the correct distance from the star, not too hot or too cold, as liquid water and life as we know it may be possible on the surface of a planet.
Among these factors, Conselis said, the habitable areas are crucial, but a quiet and stable star orbit for billions of years may be the most important.
Co-author Tom Westby, associate professor at “The Copernicopian astronomical units, said that smart life is formed in less than 5 billion years, or about 5 billion years later – similar to the land on which a civilization formed and continues after 4.5 billion years.” The College of Engineering, University of Nottingham, in a statement.
The researchers said that Copernican’s strong astronomical limit is that life must be formed between 4.5 to 5.5 billion years, as it is on Earth, while the weak limit is that the planet takes at least 4 billion years to form life, but it can form Any time after that. .
“It is called the astronomical Copernican principle, because it assumes that our existence is not private,” Konselis said. This means, if the conditions in which intelligent life on Earth evolved also elsewhere in the galaxy, then smart life would evolve there in a similar way.
Based on their calculations using the powerful astronomical boundary of Copernican, they determined that there were likely to be 36 active and interacting civilizations across our galaxy. This assumes that life is the way you work on Earth – and it is our only understanding of it today. Westby said he also assumes that the mineral content of the stars hosting these planets is equal to the content of our mineral-rich sun.
The researchers said that researchers believe that the strong limit is likely because it “still allows the formation of a smart life within a billion years after its appearance on Earth, which appears to be a lot of time.”
Another assumption of these potential civilizations is that they make their existence known in some way by signs.
Currently, we only produce signals such as radio broadcasts from satellites and televisions for a short time. Our “technological” civilization is about a hundred years old. So imagine 36 others doing the same thing across the galaxy.
The researchers were surprised that the number was very small – but not zero. “This is pretty cool,” said Concelsis.
Although this study only looked at our galaxy, distance is an inhibiting factor. The researchers calculated that the average distance between these potential civilizations would be approximately 17,000 light years. It will take so long to detect these signals or send communications using current technology so that it is almost impossible.
“The search for a smart life is expected to result only in a positive note if it is an average life span [communicating extra-terrestrial intelligence] Inside our galaxy is 3060 years. This means that our communicative civilization here on Earth will need to last for 6120 years after the advent of far-reaching radio technology (approximately 100 years ago) before we expect [search for extra-terrestrial intelligence] Two-way communication. “
With the more comfortable assumptions of the weak state of Copernic, there will be at least 928 civilizations communicating in our galaxy today, according to the study, which means more of them in a closer range. This takes only about 700 years to perform the detection.
Age of civilization
The researchers wrote in their study, “It is clear that the age of the civilization of communication is the main aspect of this problem, and there is a need for a very long life for those within the galaxy to contain even a few of the possible active contemporary civilizations.”
Then there is the question of staying. Are other potential civilizations as long-term as those on Earth?
If research on this life does not reveal anything at a distance of 7,000 light-years away, researchers suggest that this could mean one of two things.
First, you can indicate that these civilizations are shorter than 2000 years old – which may mean that our civilization is drawing to a close.
Second, it could indicate that life on Earth is unique and occurs in a much more random process than the Copernican astronomical boundaries created in the study.
Not all factors or constraints were included in the study, such as the fact that the tiny M dwarf stars that these Earth-like planets might orbit around might release harmful radiation “that would make life difficult to exist,” a controversial issue, Conselice said. Dwarf stars M are common in our galaxy and have been known to host rocky planets the size of Earth.
After that, researchers will look beyond our galaxy to see if life may be beyond its boundaries.
“Our new research indicates that the search for smart extraterrestrial civilizations not only reveals how life is formed, but also gives us clues as to how long our civilization will last,” said Conselis.
“If we find that smart life is common, then this will reveal that our civilization can survive for much longer than a few hundred years, or alternatively, if we find that there are no active civilizations in our galaxy, then this is a bad sign of our long region of having a term. In the search for a clever extraterrestrial life – even if we find nothing – we discover our future and our destiny. “