Extraterrestrial Response May Not Arrive For Another 1,500 Years
A new study suggests that just because we haven’t heard from extraterrestrial life, doesn’t mean we won’t, it will just take a lot more time than previously hoped.
Astronomy student Evan Solomonides from Cornell University, due to the sheer size of the Milky Way, it could be up to 1,500 years before we can reasonably expect to hear back from any extraterrestrials who’ve picked up our transmissions from Earth.
The astronomers applied the study of a probabilistic analysis (what’s known as the Fermi paradox) using calculations to help shed some light on why we might never have received contact from alien civilizations.
The Fermi paradox highlights just how strange it is that we haven’t yet heard from aliens, considering the hundreds of billions of potentially habitable planets capable of sustaining life. The Fermi argument also points out the fact that it is also likely that some of these life forms might have developed into intelligent or advanced species, capable of developing powerful communications technology or travelling into space, much like humankind has.
Solomonides believes he may have solved the answer to that very paradox however, by stating the following;
“Even our mundane, typical spiral galaxy – not exceptionally large compared to other galaxies – is vast beyond imagination. Those numbers are what make the Fermi paradox so counter intuitive. 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.”
The researchers’ analysis indicates that in the overall expanse of the galaxy, any signals we’ve sent into space would not have yet reached enough stars and planets such that we should expect an answer.
Solomonides goes on to say “We predict that under 1 percent of the galaxy has been reached at all thus far, and we do not anticipate to be reached until approximately half of the stars/planets have been reached.”
Although 1,500 years seems like a long wait for a response that may never come, the researchers are quick to add “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, co-author of this new paper being will be presenting his research this week at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in San Diego, California.