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Alien Civilizations May Number In The Trillions, New Study Says

The possibility that we earthlings are not truly alone in the universe has gained some added credibility, thanks to a new study that coincides with NASA’s recent planetary discoveries. The research, published in the journal Astrobiology last week, suggests that more planets in the Milky Way galaxy may harbor advanced civilizations than we previously imagined.

Study co-authors Adam Frank and Woodruff Sullivan looked at recent discoveries of potentially habitable exoplanets and considered the odds of whether sophisticated civilizations existed on them in the past or present.

“What we showed was the ‘floor’ on the probability for a civilization to form on any randomly chosen planet,” Frank, a University of Rochester physics and astronomy professor, told The Huffington Post in an email. “If we are the only civilization in cosmic history, then that what we calculated is the actual probability nature has set. But if the actual probability is higher than that floor, then civilizations have happened before.” 

Frank says the potential number of planets orbiting their parent stars within a habitable distance is staggering.

“Even if you are pretty pessimistic and think that you’d have to search through 100 billion (habitable zone) planets before you found one where a civilization developed, then there have still been a trillion civilizations over cosmic history!” Frank wrote. “When I think about that, my mind reels — even if there is just a one in a 100 billion chance of evolution creating exo-civilizations, the universe still has made so many of them that we are swamped by histories other than our own.”

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NASA/W. STENZEL An artist’s depiction of planetary discoveries by NASA’s Kepler spacecraft, which searches for Earth-like planets. The Kepler telescope has discovered thousands of verified planets since it launched in 2009.

In 1961, astronomer Frank Drake — founder of the SETI Institute (SETI stands for “Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence”) — devised what is now known as the “Drake equation” to estimate the number of planets that may be home to civilizations with the ability to communicate beyond their world.

Frank and Sullivan created a new equation, which appears at the bottom of the illustration below. While the Drake equation calculates the number of advanced alien civilizations that could exist in the Milky Way galaxy, Frank and Sullivan’s equation expands the question to calculate the number of advanced civilizations that have existed in our galaxy throughout the whole history of the universe. 

UNIVERSITY OF ROCHESTER Two equations consider the possibilities of technological alien civilizations in the Milky Way galaxy: At top, the 1961 Drake equation and, at bottom, a more recent equation by Adam Frank and Woodruff Sullivan.
Two equations consider the possibilities of technological alien civilizations in the Milky Way galaxy: At top, the 1961 Drake equation and, at bottom, a more recent equation by Adam Frank and Woodruff Sullivan.

The variable factors that Drake and others consider when attempting to come up with figures about ET-inhabited worlds include:

  • The rate of formation of stars with planets suitable for intelligent life.
  • The number of those stars that have planetary systems.
  • The number of those planets which may have life-sustaining environments.
  • The number of those planets where life develops.
  • How many of those planets produce intelligent life.
  • How many of those intelligent life forms could produce technology, such as radio signals. 

In their Astrobiology paper, Frank and Sullivan write:

“Recent advances in exoplanet studies provide strong constraints on all astrophysical terms in the Drake equation. We set a firm lower bound on the probability that one or more technological species have evolved anywhere and at any time in the history of the observable universe.”

The two scientists address what they refer to as “the cosmic frequency of technological species.”

“The universe is more than 13 billion years old,” Sullivan, of the astronomy department and astrobiology program at the University of Washington, said in a statement. “That means that even if there have been 1,000 civilizations in our own galaxy, if they live only as long as we have been around — roughly 10,000 years — then all of them are likely already extinct. And others won’t evolve until we are long gone.

“For us to have much chance in finding another ‘contemporary’ active technological civilization, on average they must last much longer than our present lifetime,” Sullivan said.

The search for extraterrestrial signals has been ongoing for decades.

“With so many stars and planets filling the cosmos, it boggles the mind to think that we’re the only clever life to have made an appearance,” SETI Institute senior astronomer Seth Shostak told HuffPost in an email. “Frank and Sullivan use new research indicating that roughly one in five stars is orbited by a planet that could nurture biology. After that, it’s just a matter of counting up the tally of stars in the visible universe, and saying that — with all the suitable real estate that’s out there, if we’re the only place with intelligent life, then we’ve really won the mother of all lotteries.”

Shostak cautions against being overly optimistic or pessimistic about the SETI Institute’s searches for intelligent signals from possible outer space neighbors.

“The odds that no one is out there are very, very small. It’s a bit like an ant coming out of its hive, seeing the enormous amount of real estate stretching in all directions and deciding that, if its home is the only ant hill, then its existence is a near-miracle. Or, put another way, the calculation by Frank and Sullivan quantifies Jodie Foster’s statement in [the movie] ‘Contact’ that, if there’s nobody out there, it would be a ‘waste of space,’” said Shostak.

With all the suitable real estate that’s out there, if we’re the only place with intelligent life, then we’ve really won the mother of all lotteries.”Seth Shostak, SETI Institute senior astronomer

Scientists searching for extraterrestrial beings — and, yes, to those beings, we would be aliens — are like archaeologists combing a vast space for treasures and information to learn more about the history of our species.

A colorful deep space image captured by the Hubble Space Telescope is seen in a NASA handout released June 3, 2014. Researchers say the image, from a new study called the Ultraviolet Coverage of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, provides the missing link in star formation. The Hubble Ultra Deep Field 2014 image is a composite of separate exposures taken in 2003 to 2012 with Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys and Wide Field Camera 3. REUTERS/NASA/ESA/Handout via Reuters (OUTER SPACE - Tags: ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY) ATTENTION EDITORS - FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
NASA / REUTERS This colorful deep space image captured by the Hubble Space Telescope was released by NASA in 2014. What’s astonishing about the image is that it depicts a very small portion of the sky but shows approximately 10,000 galaxies, each made up of billions of stars.

“I love the notion of a cosmic archaeological question. I think this puts an important new spin on the question about the rise of technological communicating intelligence,” Penelope J. Boston, incoming director of NASA’s Astrobiology Institute at Ames Research Center, told HuffPost.

“We have only been looking for other intelligences for a few decades in a galaxy of unfathomable proportions,” Boston said. “Of course we haven’t found anybody yet. I think it is childish to imagine that we should somehow have started looking, and bingo, there they are! I have trouble finding my dropped contact lens in the grass. Should I then disbelieve in the reality of my contact lens?”

While scientists had long wondered if there were other planets orbiting stars in the Milky Way galaxy and elsewhere, it wasn’t until the early 1990s that the first extrasolar world was confirmed.

“The existence of planets orbiting stars other than the sun is a 2,500-year-old question that has been entirely answered over the last 20 years,” said Frank. “We now know that every star in the night sky has at least one planet orbiting it, and many of those are in the right place for life to form.

“Ten thousand years from now, no one will remember anything about our era except it was when we discovered this single profound fact: We live in a cosmos of planets.”

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121 Comments on "Alien Civilizations May Number In The Trillions, New Study Says"

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Christ said in His New Scriptures. ( not the Bible), “The Cosmos is vastly inhabited….” Throughout the Universe, life thrives…
( AUTHOBIOGRAPHY: Paragraph 24.)

Source: ” WHO NEEDS LIGHT? THE NEW SCRIPTURES AND AUTOBIOGRAPHY WRITTEN BY SANANDA/JESUS” Transcribed by Kathryn E. May, PsyD.2015

Guest

Thank you so much. I’ll have a look at it. Didn’t know it existed.

Guest

If space is infinite yes there would be other species out there. That sure kill the big bang theory

Guest

It’s highly plausible..

Guest

Grateful to hear, at least it’s not just one alien or one ship… as most of the post have been.

Guest

Logically, that makes more sense numerically

Guest

Complete understatement considering there’s infinite amount of planets!

Guest

And time.

Guest
Why go to the extreme let them admit to one first then can we suggest the number of planets are inhabited or good to be inhabited by aliens. On my side I have long made my research and got my personal conclusion that aliens come in different kind and forms starting from man going off to beyond humans imagination highly intelligent telepathic come under one banner for peace only wars is against diseases and illiteracy some planets have more then one sun in time we will be part of the overall confederation as is the main idea for new settlement… Read more »
Guest

I like your philosophy Ghassan Kalmoni!!

Guest
It’s nothing more then science fiction but sense it appeals to you never the less , we all have a way to create a scenario to fit our world this is my thoughts running wild be it real or fancy or is it just a hope no matter how much we delve into the fictitious realm especially the elusive topic of aliens its rather difficult to say when reality becomes unreal because we know nothing of it to start off with I find deep ideas more interesting then shallow ones I am not a scientist but a simple cook my… Read more »
Guest

Great story Ghassan Kalmoni. It sounds like science fiction, but hopefully we of our generation can experience it, before we head to another dimension! Better sooner, than later. Howver, not everybody will be able to handle it. Takes more time.

Guest

Guest

Earthlings are not alone in the vast universe.

Guest

Excellent! Thanks for sharing!!

Guest
I have often said that only that only an idiot could conceive that God would create that huge universe little ole insignificant us. If so, we are repaying Him horribly disrespectful for his efforts. What did make us significant is the fact that we are the only bi-lateral created beings in the universe, and with the capability to procreate with Alien Beings, AKA the Anunnaki. This is why Enoch was the only man taken up to the heavens, because Anu, the King of Nibiru wanted to see for himself that he was real and discovered that he was begotten by… Read more »
Guest

Amazing! 😀

Guest

Demons, yeah cos we’re the only ones, right! If space is infinite, there must be an infinite number of suns so all those solar systems must be full of demons! Get real, unless you really believe the earth was made in 6 days, hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Guest

It’s definitely 6 days of creation and a day of rest. 🙂

Guest

Louise Bath i am not sghure if that is correct in the Bible. You cnow that many things ware CHANGED BY US from the truth and, could be different. I thing they ware 7 days, but its just my opinion

Guest

Well that conveniently explains creating the earth in any time frame you like, that’s handy! What a crock 💩

Guest

Well God worked for 6 days and then had to have a lie down on the 7th! 😀

Guest

And they are not 6 days but 7 🙂 Its 6 bec ause vatican says so

Guest

6 NOT earth days. Time is different in every planet… Time is different even on our own planet. So 6 days could be 6 mln years, 600 000 years or 6 000 years

Guest

No they aren’t. And yes trillions. Then, trillions of aliens inhabitants of those planets and star systems.

Guest

Gor Nakhikyan You make my day Gor! I feel flattered. Thank you so much! Have a wonderful weekend Gor!

Guest

Finally somebody with some senses in his head .

Guest

Arthur Nieuw I agree.

Guest
Пецко Фейсбук Thanks for your reaction! I appreciate that!! The Bible is only one source of philosophy, there are many others, next to philosophy that has never been written. I think that the Bible was good for that time it was written. Part of human kind evolved so far, that the Bible can be considered nowadays as a book to teach us some ethics. I think that we should not be religious, but spiritual. And further on open our hearth and mind for more possibilities about where we come from and where we go to. Until now, nobody, but nobody… Read more »
Guest
Arthur Nieuw They are not our Gods for shure… Read the Bible, there it says do not do ani image of what is in the sky or in the earth and do not worship it… That is why there is so many fake gods… some random aliens that just used us or something elce, but left in the history as Gods.. any way , most of real meanings of the words are SKY PEOPLE not GOD but, just like you worship singers, actors, the samee is with someone grater with abilities than you… you start worship it instead of develop… Read more »
Guest

Welcome to Curacao Dave Hawes. We have big fish in our water!

Guest

We’re on the same wavelength Dave Hawes!

Guest

Arthur Nieuw yes. Cause and effect. However, focusing on the effect. Rather then the cause. I too agree

Guest

Dave Hawes Hmmmmm……..a lot is possible in the Universe!! That’s why I believe in the Law of Attraction.

Guest

Arthur Nieuw or a control comand, I bet if one prayed to God while being abducted, wonder what they would think.

Guest

Dave Hawes Quite possible too!

Guest

Or do the aliens have a “God”?

Guest

This is just the beginning. Even the Vatican admits it! The contrary, the aliens are considered by the Vatican to also be children of God. However, I wonder whether they might be our God(s).

Guest

No question. We are very young. We must not forget the universe has about 14 billion years on us.

Guest

Ther are more 🙂

Guest

There are an infinite number of other universes,galaxies,solar systems,planets…what ever elements/forces have made life here on Earth can quite easily have done so in an infinite number of other places as well. It is very arrogant of humans to assume our planet is the only 1 throughout the whole of space with life on it.

Guest

ALIENS ARE DEMONS .

Guest

Cat Cal, you still haven’t explained why aliens are demons. 🙁

Guest

@ CAT YOUR A DEMON LOL👽

Guest

Just part of gods universe

Guest

No they’re not

Guest

Lmao

Guest

Why are they demons?

Guest

They already live amongst us…. Human hybrid beings. Since the sixties….

Guest

Your a bit sick mate thats somones kid prob photoshop or just very poorly with a disability

Guest

I wonder what flavour icecreams theyll have.

Guest

We were created. Do u understand the value of that thought

Guest

Them shit prject/ion and rebirth OPS OVER

Guest

IDCARE them battery’s are over now they licking asses

Guest

Of course they do. If the brain can fathom it, it’s real

Guest

Angel Ferreira then it’s real to you in your fairy tale world smart ass. Read books. That’s has been said by scholars. Your mind is clouded with you you you

Guest

My brain can fathom a flying unicorn that shits rainbows and barf gold.

Guest

Therr may not be any alian civilisations as there is the possibility that we are a premature planet we could be the only civilisation. …..just saying …….its a thought

Guest

We’re all in a game wearing virtual reality suits, biodegradable virtual reality suits……..

Guest

Or he. W.e.

Guest

Brett Kuester she’s just being willfully ignorant

Guest

Patrick, most things are second hand knowledge. What does it matter what we believe. Things are only as close to the truth as our perception of reality..

Guest

Wish you the best mate!

Guest

So what you see, u believe…….and is what u believe u live on and what you read you take as confirmation? Wow! You really have a lot to learn lee!

Guest

That is the most ridiculous thing l have ever read, Lee.

Guest

All I know is what I see and what I read

Guest

I doubt it also but on the other hand wtf do I know in the grand scheme of things

Guest

I doubt we are the only civilization, or that we are significant. The universe is fine without us. I doubt we make earth spin around the sun. People need to get their egos in check, and maybe other civilizations would make contact. Other civilizations probably think, ‘oh, these humans think they are so special, I guess they don’t need us. Let’s go find a humble species to give our technology to..

Guest

Maybe were just the beggining of something much greater or maybe not I guees well never know because our government is more concerned about money and war rather than find out what the fuck are we acctually doing here

Guest

If we are the best the universe can do it would be a sad sad day.

Guest

Your mind isnt open what if were the beggining I never said were alone but its a possibility

Guest

I bet ants believe they are alone as well

Guest

Lmao!

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