Alien civilizations may be present in the Milky Way galaxy. As dramatic as it may sound, according to new research, there is a high probability that they were annihilated by their own science and technology.
Researchers with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the California Institute of Technology and Santiago High School used an upgraded version of an equation to determine the likely existence of intelligent life. They found that aliens may have come into existence 8 billion years after our galaxy was formed.
The team also considered the idea that the progress of science and technology inevitably results in the destruction of civilizations. Us humans haven’t made any contact with beings outside our planet and researchers think they understand why.
The study reads, “We found the potential self-annihilation to be highly influential in the quantity of galactic intelligent life. If intelligent life is likely to destroy themselves, it is not surprising that there is little or no intelligent life elsewhere.” Even if there is intelligent life anywhere else in the galaxy, they are too far away from Earth to be identified and “still too young to be observed by us,” according to the researchers.
Drake equation to find aliens
To undertake this study, the researchers updated the 1961 Drake Equation, written by Dr Frank Drake, that aimed at approximating the number of active, communicative extraterrestrial civilizations in the Milky Way.
According to the paper, the old equation does not consider the evolving stellar properties of our galaxy like discoveries of supernovae and exoplanets. The researchers looked at the chances of life in the pre-biotic condition, different possible timescales for biological evolution and the chances of self-annihilation of complex life.
The study reads, “Using our model, if we evaluate how much the quantity of complex life changes in the Milky Way within a specific time range, we could have a better understanding on the hypothesis of life origins, the Rare Earth Hypothesis.”
Further, it says, “The timescale for biological evolution has been largely assumed to be identical to the intellectual species on Earth. Without considering the possibility that life may require varied timescales to evolve, any result of the growth propensity of life is dependent on the ongoing debate whether or not humans on Earth are the paradigm resembling all other evolving complex life.”
For the first time, this research considers the prospects of self-annihilation, which other scholars have overlooked in the past. The results showed that most alien life present in the galaxy is younger than five million years old, “with values of probability parameter for self-annihilation between 0 – 0.01; with a relatively higher value of the annihilation parameter.”
The research also finds that the existence of alien life may be common in the milky way galaxy, but that it is not located in the region of our Earth. It also says that search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) practices need to be closer to the inner galaxy.
The team found that if the existence of aliens is true, they are 13,000 light-years away from the galactic centre, while Earth and the solar system are approximately 25,000 light-years away.