Amid much fanfare:
Using the assumption that intelligent life forms on other planets in a similar way as it does on Earth, researchers have obtained an estimate for the number of intelligent communicating civilizations within our own galaxy -the Milky Way. They calculate that there could be over 30 active communicating intelligent civilizations in our home Galaxy.
Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Nottingham, Christopher Conselice who led the research, explains: “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.” Conselice also explains that, “The idea is looking at evolution, but on a cosmic scale. We call this calculation the Astrobiological Copernican Limit.”
First author Tom Westby explains: “The classic method for estimating the number of intelligent civilizations relies on making guesses of values relating to life, whereby opinions about such matters vary quite substantially. Our new study simplifies these assumptions using new data, giving us a solid estimate of the number of civilizations in our Galaxy.
The two Astrobiological Copernican limits are that intelligent life forms in less than 5 billion years, or after about 5 billion years – similar to on Earth where a communicating civilization formed after 4.5 billion years. In the strong criteria, whereby a metal content equal to that of the Sun is needed (the Sun is relatively speaking quite metal rich), we calculate that there should be around 36 active civilizations in our Galaxy.”University of Nottingham, “Research sheds new light on intelligent life existing across the galaxy” at Eurekalert
The Mirror has some great sci fi pix:
We are not alone – with 36 intelligent alien races living in our galaxy, according to a new study.
British scientists have calculated that there could be dozens of other extra terrestrial lifeforms within the Milky Way.
But they said it is likely the average distance to such civilisations would be 17,000 light-years – making detection and communication “very difficult” with our present technology.Mark Waghorn “Up to 36 ‘intelligent alien races’ could be living in our galaxy, scientists say” at Mirror
It’s all malarkey. In the real world, it would be awfully nice to find fossil bacteria on Mars. Good chance it came from Earth. When that seems to be taking some time, we hear about 36 alien civs.
That’s because there’ll always be a market for We Are Not Alone. The thing is, it used to be called religion, not science. And it still is religion, not science. See Tales of an invented god for more on that.
Francis asks, “Why not 37 alien races? Or 39? What about 24-and-a-half? Or 63?”
Because 36 is a much nicer number.