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The Milky Way May Have 36 Alien Civilizations

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The Milky Way galaxy could be home to 36 alien civilizations, according to new research at the University of Nottingham released Monday.

The researchers arrived at this number on the assumption that life forms elsewhere in a similar way to how it does on Earth and then matched this to known planets with a similar evolution.

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,” said astrophysics professor Christopher Conselice, who led the research. “The idea is looking at evolution, but on a cosmic scale. We call this calculation the Astrobiological Copernican Limit.

First author Tom Westby told SciTech Daily that “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 paper, which was published in The Astrophysical Journal, explains, however, that we may not know for sure if or where these civilizations exist unless they are technologically developed, because this knowledge depends on how long they are sending out signals such as transmissions from satellites or communications into space.

The research points out that it is also possible that ours is the only civilization within our Galaxy, since the survival time for life could generally be quite limited.

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