How long would it take an alien civilization to explore the whole galaxy using automated probes?
Given that mankind has sent numerous robotic probes out in to space to explore the solar system it is reasonable to assume that any sufficiently advanced extraterrestrial civilization would be doing the same thing. On that basis, if the aliens were advanced enough would it be possible for them to scour the entire galaxy ?
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have calculated that a fleet of self-replicating robotic probes traveling at one tenth of the speed of light could realistically explore the whole of the Milky Way galaxy in less time than the age of the Earth. Such a conclusion suggests that it is not outside of the realm of possibility that such a civilization would be aware of our existence despite the vast distances between star systems.
"The team’s simulations mean that our solar system should have been visited — perhaps more than once — well-before the dawn of man."
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Source: Discovery News
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