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Scientists Estimate Around 36 Active Alien Civilisations Could Exist In Our Galaxy

Scientists Estimate Around 36 Active Alien Civilisations Could Exist In Our Galaxy

I, for one, welcome our new overlords.

Stewart Perrie

Stewart Perrie

The question of whether intelligent life exists outside our own world has been one that has evaded humanity since our inception.

While there have been plenty of unexplained phenomenons that have occurred in our history, we still haven't received concrete information that there are aliens out there.

But researchers have released a new study suggesting that there could be around 36 active alien civilisations that call our galaxy home.

The team at the University of Nottingham hasn't found actual evidence of these intelligent life forms, but they have expanded the statistical probability of them occurring in our vast immediate space.


They have used a revised model for predicting life and theorised that beings could exist on other planets similar to ours with a similar time frame.

Published in The Astrophysical Journal, the researchers reckon there could be at least 36 intelligent alien races out there, based on the idea that it takes around five billion years for life to come to the point that they're intelligent.

Study authors Tom Westby and Christopher Conselice said: "One of the oldest questions that humans have asked is whether our existence-as an advanced intelligent species-is unique.

"Of course - from a statistical perspective - this is one of the most challenging problems in science, since all we can do is attempt to learn from a single known data point (ourselves), with no possible method of modelling the distribution of the potential population of civilisations across the Galaxy."

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But don't get excited about welcoming our new overlords anytime soon. The researchers estimate that these intelligent life forms exist on average at least 17,000 light years away. So, we won't be able to just nip up to our space neighbours in the close future.

Christopher Conselice added that their study is looking at 'evolution, but on a cosmic scale'.

He said: "Our new research suggests that searches for extraterrestrial intelligent civilisations not only reveals the existence of how life forms, but also gives us clues for how long our civilisation will last.

"If we find that intelligent life is common then this would reveal that our civilisation could exist for much longer than a few hundred years.

"Alternatively, if we find that there are no active civilisations in our galaxy it is a bad sign for our own long-term existence." Well, that's bleak.

The idea being posited in their study is a revision of Drake's equation, which was invented in 1961. That theory took into account some of the factors that contribute to life population, like rate of star creation, number of these with planets, and fraction of planets that develop life.

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