UFO Buster Radio News – 385: Why Even Count Aliens AND Open Lines
The Trouble With Counting Aliens
IN THE SEARCH for extraterrestrial intelligence, there’s really only one big question: Where is everybody? This question has haunted alien hunters ever since the Nobel-winning physicist Enrico Fermi posed it to some colleagues over lunch 70 years ago.
Researchers working on the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, or SETI, have proposed a number of solutions to the Fermi paradox over the years.
Perhaps intelligent life is just far more rare than we thought.
How rare? Many scientists have attempted to answer this notoriously tricky question. Based on their conclusions, there are between zero and 100 million extraterrestrial civilizations in the Milky Way. That is not an especially helpful range of estimates, so a pair of physicists in the UK recently took another stab at it and arrived at a remarkably specific conclusion. As detailed in a new paper published this week in the Astrophysical Journal, the duo calculated there should be at least 36 communicating extraterrestrial civilizations in our galaxy.
That is … not a lot, obviously, and it has some depressing implications. According to the paper, this would mean we’ll likely have to spend hundreds of years searching for an extraterrestrial civilization before we find one, and it also suggests that our closest neighbors may be up to 17,000 light-years away.
“We’ve gone from being quite bullish on there being life in the universe to being a bit more pessimistic as time goes on,” says Christopher Conselice, an astrophysicist at the University of Nottingham and one of the authors of the paper. “I think that’s natural, but now we have the kind of information we need to make some real estimates based on reasonable assumptions about how life could form on other planets.”
The Milky Way is the second-largest galaxy in the Local Group (after the Andromeda Galaxy), with its stellar disk approximately 170-200 000 light years in diameter.
Research released in 2016 revised the number of galaxies in the observable universe from a previous estimate of 200 billion (2×1011) to a suggested two trillion (2×1012)
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