Are we alone in this universe, trying to track down other civilizations across the galaxy or there are other species doing the same? The question has been asked by almost every astronomer to themselves but yet, no appropriate answer has been received, mainly, because each step carried forward, faces another roadblock or faces a detour in the form of questions that arise in calculating the possible extraterrestrial civilizations such as, what all parameters should be considered while searching for intelligent life, not just life?
With the recent technological developments, a possible answer to this persistent question has been found. Researchers from the University of Nottingham had estimated that there are 36 active communicating intelligent civilizations in our home galaxy, Milky Way. The research team has developed a mathematical model that uses simple assumptions of how life came into existence, and they have assumed that intelligent life has evolved and developed in a similar manner as that on Earth. The approach used by the team is based on the ‘Drake’s Equation’ that is used for calculating active and communicative intelligent species in our galaxy but with much simpler assumptions.
Christopher Conselice, the team lead said, ‘There should be at least a few dozen active civilizations in our Galaxy under the assumption that it takes 5 billion years for intelligent life to form on other planets, as on Earth’.
Christopher and the team developed an Astrobiological Copernican Principle in search of the weak and strong limits of life in the galaxy. They have calculated the star formation, the metal content, and the likelihood of stars hosting Earth-like planets in their habitable zones, but under certain assumptions that are based on the situation in which intelligent communicative life is known to exist on our own planet. According to them, these assumptions made it easier to answer certain questions, like what fraction of planets in our galaxy will host life and by what definition. One other assumption is that this intelligent species is contacting us by actively sending radio signals. But, according to Advanced Science News, the average distance to the nearest of these civilizations would be 17,000 light-years which makes detection and communication very challenging with the current technology. Thus, it is clear that a long duration may be required for those within the galaxy to contact even a few possible active contemporary civilizations.
The research has also provided some insight regarding the time period of the civilizations, like how long our civilization may last. According to the Conselice, if we are able to find that intelligent life is common then it may reveal that our civilization could exist for much longer than a few hundred years and if we don’t then it is a bad sign for our long-term existence. By searching for intelligent life, maybe discovering our future and fate. So, let’s keep searching for our peers until we hear back from them.
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