Earth has proven unique in its ability to host life in the universe so far, leading us to question if we’re truly alone.
Maybe we’re not.
Scientists have calculated that there could be a minimum of 36 active, communicating intelligent civilizations in our Milky Way galaxy, according to a new study. However, due to time and distance, we may never actually know if they exist or ever existed.
The study published Monday in The Astrophysical Journal.
Previous calculations along these lines have been based on the Drake equation, which was written by astronomer and astrophysicist Frank Drake in 1961.
“Drake developed an equation which in principle can be used to calculate how many Communicating Extra-Terrestrial Intelligent (CETI) civilizations there may be in the Galaxy,” the authors wrote in their study. “However, many of its terms are unknowable and other methods must be used to calculate the likely number of communicating civilizations.”
So scientists at the University of Nottingham developed their own approach.