A new study has scientists estimating that the Milky Way contains 36 contactable alien civilisations.
According to research published in The Astrophysical Journal on Monday, 36 was deemed the most likely number of CETI populations that currently exist in the galaxy.
A new study has revealed the statistical probability that there are 36 contactable alien civilisations within the Milky Way – but this doesn’t mean we can talk them.
Tom Westby and Christopher Conselice, astrophysicists at the University of Nottingham, conducted research incorporating new metrics and approaches in estimating how many alien societies within the Milky Way are capable of interstellar messaging.
The pair noted that: “From a statistical perspective—this is one of the most challenging problems in science, since all we can do is attempt to learn from a single known data point (ourselves), with no possible method of modelling the distribution of the potential population of civilizations across the Galaxy.”
Despite these difficulties, the pair have taken on the challenge, starting by limiting the potential number of CETI (communication with extraterrestrial intelligence) worlds in the Milky Way. The pair then used a revised version of the Drake equation, and new findings from a variety of areas of contemporary astronomy.
The results produced a range of possible CETI populations that currently exist in the Milky Way, with four at the low end, 211 as an upper limit, and 36 as the most likely figure.
The pair make it clear, though, that even if this estimate is correct, “they would be about 17,000 light years away from our planet on average, a distance that would require at least 34,000 years for a two-way conversation.”
So, unfortunately, even though he’s probably out there waiting for your phone call, it’ll be some time before you can invite E.T over for a beer from your fridge.