A new study has suggested that humans will not be able to get in touch with aliens for at least another 1500 years.
While the study doesn’t rule out the existence of aliens, it says that because of the vastness of the universe calculations indicate that aliens won’t be calling us up for another 1500 years give or take a few years. The study was presented as “A Probabilistic Analysis of the Fermi Paradox” at the American Astronomical Society’s meeting June 16 in San Diego.
The Fermi Paradox says billions of Earth-like planets exist in our galaxy, yet no aliens have contacted or visited us. Thus the paradox: the cosmos teems with possibility. The Mediocrity Principle — originated by 16th-century mathematician Copernicus — says Earth’s physical attributes are not unique, as natural processes are likely common throughout the cosmos, and therefore aliens won’t discover us for a while.
If you are not aware about the Fermi Paradox, it says that billions of Earth-like planets exist in our galaxy, yet no aliens have contacted or visited us. Thus the paradox: the cosmos teems with possibility. The Mediocrity Principle, which was developed by 16th-century mathematician Copernicus, says that Earth’s physical attributes are not unique, as natural processes are likely common throughout the cosmos, and therefore aliens won’t discover us for a while.
So how are we searching for aliens? Till date there have been next to none attempts to actively contact aliens and we have been actually listening for signals from extraterrestrial life that could be trying to reach out to us. The idea behind actively hunting for extraterrestrials is by sending out signals like television broadcasts, for example.
As Earth’s electronic ambassador, TV and radio signals are sent into space as a byproduct of broadcasting. These signals have been traveling from Earth for 80 years at the speed of light. For aliens receiving these transmissions, they would likely be indecipherable as the extraterrestrials would need to decode light waves into sounds, then parse 3,000 human languages to grasp the message.
Nonetheless, Earth’s broadcast signals have reached every star within about 80 light-years from the Sun — about 8,531 stars and 3,555 Earth-like planets, as our Milky Way galaxy alone contains 200 billion stars.
“Even our mundane, typical spiral galaxy — not exceptionally large compared to other galaxies — is vast beyond imagination,” said Cornell student Evan Solomonides who presented the study. “Those numbers are what make the Fermi Paradox so counterintuitive. We have reached so many stars and planets, surely we should have reached somebody by now, and in turn been reached; this demonstrates why we appear to be alone.”
Combining the equations for the Fermi Paradox and the Mediocrity Principle, the authors suggests Earth might hear from an alien civilization when approximately half of the Milky Way Galaxy has been signaled in about 1,500 years. “This is not to say that we must be reached by then or else we are, in fact, alone. We simply claim that it is somewhat unlikely that we will not hear anything before that time,” Solomonides said.
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