Throughout centuries, populations have always wondered the timeless question. Are we alone? Is there extraterrestrial life in the universe? Recent research poses a theory that our galaxy may host more than 30 alien civilizations. While stories of UFOs and alien encounters have been passed through generations, a scientific study may assist in providing solid evidence for the non-believers.
In a study published The Astrophysical Journal, researcher Christopher Conselice led a team in examining the limits of ancient life. Basically, by simplifying the assumptions about what is needed to sustain life, scientists were able to estimate how many other intelligent beings exist within our galaxy.
“The idea is looking at evolution, but on a cosmic scale, Conselice said in a statement. “We call this calculation the Astrobiological Copernican Limit.” This resulted in calculations showing there should be 36 intelligent life forms in the Milky Way.
Some factors included in these calculations are the age of a planet, the composition of its host star, and observations about what led to life on planet Earth. For example, it took approximately five billion years for the human species to evolve to the point it is at now. Other factors include the surrounding environment, abundance in metals, life expectancy, and communication abilities.
For perspective, our species has only mastered radio communication within the last century. In the grand scheme of five billion years, this speaks volumes. How might this lead to more information regarding intelligent alien life?
From an earthly level, our sun has led to the acceleration of life and its evolution. The energy it provides gives heat and nourishment to not just humans, but plants and microscopic beings. Other planets would require an energy source to provide means for evolution.
“The likelihood that the host stars for this life are solar-type stars is extremely small and most would have to be M-dwarfs, which may not be stable enough to host life long timescales,” the research team leads.
Research suggests the closest civilization would be 1,030 light-years away which would equate to about 2,060 years for effective two-way communication.
“Indeed, if the average lifetime of civilizations is in fact less than 1,030 years, then their average separation becomes too great to allow any communication between neighbors before the species becomes extinct,” researchers continue.
However, this is with the limit of our own technology and devices. It is not to say other intelligent life forms may or may not have alternative means of communicating at a faster rate.
While scientists admit they may not be able to communicate with these civilizations, knowledge about these lifeforms my shed insight to our own species. For example, learning more about their life-span and how long their civilizations have lasted can provide insights into our own structures.
“Perhaps the key aspect of intelligent life, as we know it, is the ability to self-destroy,” the team shares. “As far as we can tell, when a civilization develops the technology to communicate over large distances it also has the technology to destroy itself and this is unfortunately likely universal. On Earth, two immediately obvious possibilities are destruction by weapons and through climate change creating an uninhabitable environment.”
While this may sound appalling, it is just a theory. Intelligence is rooted in many levels and the mind is just one of them. From what this data presents, there is room for imagination and more research. While destruction is just one side of the coin, creation is on the flipside.
Researchers close with, “By searching for extraterrestrial intelligent life—even if we find nothing—we are discovering our own future and fate.”
We have a lot to learn as a society and civilization. While there is a lot to draw our attention to here on our planet, getting a glimpse from an astronomical level can provide deeper levels of understanding when it comes to our plane.
You can follow us on Instagram HERE