Are we alone in the Universe? This is one of the most important questions of humanity, to which there is no definite answer yet. However, we hope that somewhere out there, far away in the Universe, there is intelligent alien life that is ready to communicate with us. And, probably, there are a lot of such civilizations. Although there is still no convincing evidence of the existence of alien life, scientists like Michio Kaku are optimistic that we can come into contact with the unknown soon enough. However, fresh research work may upset those who wish to learn about the first extraterrestrial contact soon.
The article published in The Astrophysical Journal was prepared by experts from Beijing Normal University, Wenjie Song and He Gao. The duo of scientists carried out a more accurate calculation of the probable number of extraterrestrial intelligent civilizations capable of interstellar communication using the Drake equation. The result was discouraging.
No contact for the next 400,000 years
Scientists in a new study predicted that the next 400 thousand years should not expect any contact with aliens. It is noteworthy that this number is twice as much as the human species Homo sapiens has existed on the planet — about 200 thousand years.
Calculations based on the Drake equation show that, in the case of the existence of a hypothetical star with a habitable planet around it, intelligent life will arise at the stage of 25% of the life of the luminary. However, the number of habitable planets may be only 0.1% of all existing in the Universe. But it’s still an encouraging amount.
0.1% of habitable planets in our Universe means that 42 thousand potentially habitable planets with extraterrestrial civilizations at different stages of development can exist in the Milky Way alone. Even if one of these civilizations was able to master radio exchange, it may take at least 2 thousand years for two-way communication between two exoplanets. However, the chances that such a civilization will be somewhere nearby are minimal. Therefore, we can receive the first extraterrestrial radio message from an intelligent civilization not earlier than in 400 thousand years.
What is the Drake equation?
The probability equation proposed by radio astronomer Frank Drake in 1961 is used to calculate the number of alien civilizations capable of interstellar communication. The equation requires several variables related to the hypothetical number of inhabited worlds and the possible existence of alien civilizations on them. And since scientists don’t have exact numbers for these variables, there are little benefits left of the equation. However, many believe that the Drake equation serves as a starting point in the hunt for alien civilizations.
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