It will take 400,000 years to hear from aliens, scientists claim

Science News

According to a new study, it may be quite a long time before we\’re likely to hear from ET.

The question of whether we are alone in the universe remains one of the biggest philosophical conundrums of our time. While it seems almost inconceivable that our civilization is alone in the cosmos, the fact still remains that we have yet to see any evidence to the contrary.

The Fermi paradox, which highlights the contradiction between the likely existence of e̳x̳t̳r̳a̳t̳e̳r̳r̳e̳s̳t̳r̳i̳a̳l̳ c̳i̳v̳i̳l̳i̳z̳a̳t̳i̳o̳n̳s̳ and the fact that we have still never encountered any, seems to suggest that either there are no a̳l̳i̳e̳n̳s out there, or they are so rare that it is unlikely we would ever come across them.

Now according to a new paper by authors Wenjie Song and He Gao from the Department of Astronomy at Beijing Normal University, it could take another 400,000 years for humanity to actually make contact with an intelligent e̳x̳t̳r̳a̳t̳e̳r̳r̳e̳s̳t̳r̳i̳a̳l̳ civilization.

“As the only advanced intelligent civilization on the Earth, one of the most puzzling questions for humans is whether our existence is unique,” they wrote.

“There have been many stud̳i̳e̳s on e̳x̳t̳r̳a̳t̳e̳r̳r̳e̳s̳t̳r̳i̳a̳l̳ civilization in the past few decades.”

To reach this number, the researchers started out by revisiting the famous Drake equation which attempts to calculate the number of a̳l̳i̳e̳n̳ c̳i̳v̳i̳l̳i̳z̳a̳t̳i̳o̳n̳s̳ within our own galaxy.

This method is not without its flaws, however, as many of the figures used are best guesses.

“Most stud̳i̳e̳s on this problem are based on the Drake equation,” they wrote.

“The obvious difficulty of this method is that it is uncertain and unpredictable to quantify the probability that life may appear on a suitable planet and eventually develop into an advanced communicating civilization.”

While their findings are interesting, sadly we have no way to know for sure if they are accurate.

“[T]he subject of e̳x̳t̳r̳a̳t̳e̳r̳r̳e̳s̳t̳r̳i̳a̳l̳ intelligent and communicative c̳i̳v̳i̳l̳i̳z̳a̳t̳i̳o̳n̳s̳ will remain entirely in the domain of hypothesis until any positive detection is made,” the researchers concluded.

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