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It will take 400,000 years to hear from aliens, scientists claim

By T.K. Randall
May 4, 2022 · Comment icon 57 comments

It might be a while before we hear from our galactic neighbors. Image Credit: CC0 Pixabay
According to a new study, it may be quite a long time before we're likely to hear from ET.
The question of whether we are alone in the universe remains one of the biggest philosophical conundrums of our time. While it seems almost inconceivable that our civilization is alone in the cosmos, the fact still remains that we have yet to see any evidence to the contrary.

The Fermi paradox, which highlights the contradiction between the likely existence of extraterrestrial civilizations and the fact that we have still never encountered any, seems to suggest that either there are no aliens out there, or they are so rare that it is unlikely we would ever come across them.

Now according to a new paper by authors Wenjie Song and He Gao from the Department of Astronomy at Beijing Normal University, it could take another 400,000 years for humanity to actually make contact with an intelligent extraterrestrial civilization.

"As the only advanced intelligent civilization on the Earth, one of the most puzzling questions for humans is whether our existence is unique," they wrote.

"There have been many studies on extraterrestrial civilization in the past few decades."
To reach this number, the researchers started out by revisiting the famous Drake equation which attempts to calculate the number of alien civilizations within our own galaxy.

This method is not without its flaws, however, as many of the figures used are best guesses.

"Most studies on this problem are based on the Drake equation," they wrote.

"The obvious difficulty of this method is that it is uncertain and unpredictable to quantify the probability that life may appear on a suitable planet and eventually develop into an advanced communicating civilization."

While their findings are interesting, sadly we have no way to know for sure if they are accurate.

"[T]he subject of extraterrestrial intelligent and communicative civilizations will remain entirely in the domain of hypothesis until any positive detection is made," the researchers concluded.

Source: Science Alert | Comments (57)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #48 Posted by psyche101 2 years ago
Problem being is it is lacking too many facts for the time it was written. It's deliberately omitting a great deal of information to arrive at nowhere. Which is how philosophy often ends up.  You did realise the author is a philosopher, not a physicist or neuro surgeon? Ionization is transferring energy to matter. Like how a thought can be stored as a chemical, wouldn't you agree?  A relay isn't autonomous either, but networks don't work without them. We have a lifetime of chemically stored information in grey matter networked by white matter. Grey matter is the brains processor, white matte... [More]
Comment icon #49 Posted by zep73 2 years ago
@psyche101 I agree with you mostly. I just don't think you realize how extraordinary consciousness really is. It's not just something you can solve like a puzzle and move on. It is the greatest mystery of life, besides life itself. Philosophy is the heart of science. It is the bridge between laymen and physicists. It is the glue that binds all of science into one big tale. It is the explanation. If you are solely into physics, I understand you position, because from that point of view, philosophy is useless.
Comment icon #50 Posted by psyche101 2 years ago
Even angiogenesis isn't a tremendous mystery. We have the theory down quite well. We are only lacking in observation. It's the final step that will resolve the debates in the subject.   I see consciousness explained through that attention schema theory as very logical. It's elegance in simplicity is equaled by evolutionary theory, and subsequent facts. Simplicity over time well explains all aspects of evolution, if which consciousness is clearly a part of.  What aspects of the AST would you say don't explain how consciousness came to be? I don't agree. Philosophy asks questions. It doesn't ... [More]
Comment icon #51 Posted by zep73 2 years ago
AST would be a bi-product of consciousness. You are trying to explain something extraordinary with something extraordinary. Can't you see, that anything with intention is extraordinary? That even the concept of intention is crazy, seen from a molecular angle? You need to be careful not to make science a religion! Never accept the answer that things just are so.  
Comment icon #52 Posted by psyche101 2 years ago
No, it can't be a byproduct. I take it your not familiar with it? It precedes current levels of consciousness even existing. It starts with the first creatures on the planet, how they were able to navigate surroundings and the accumulation of known responses over millenia. Being aware of surroundings also became being aware of predators, shelter and food, and how to make conscious decisions to utilise those advantages to survive.  It starts with a blank page that after millenia had become a book. Perspective would determine of that is ordinary behaviour or extraordinary. I'd go with the forme... [More]
Comment icon #53 Posted by Golden Duck 2 years ago
@zep73, You might want to look into anything published by Anil Seth in the last year.  Seth is a neuroscientist from Sussek Uni.  He, and Tim Bayne from Monash University have a paper in Nature this month examining theories of consciousness. I couldn't find it on Sci-Hub.
Comment icon #54 Posted by zep73 2 years ago
I just think differently than you. I have a different perspective. But our love and respect for science is the same. I think our paths split when it comes to interpretations. You have yours and I have mine. Nothing wrong with that. It's actually a good thing. If we all always agree, we learn very little.
Comment icon #55 Posted by HSlim 2 years ago
So about as long as it takes my wife to let me know what she wants for dinner
Comment icon #56 Posted by psyche101 2 years ago
Different perspective drives questions which is good. Where I see us differ is on the information professionals provide. I've seen you say, they are just people too, but I hold a deeper respect for their dedication to a particular discipline. 
Comment icon #57 Posted by zep73 2 years ago
I assure you I hold them in the highest regards! I know that pursuing new knowledge is a path with many defeats, disappointments and possible ridicule, but I love their effort!

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