Scientists believe that in our galaxy at the moment there is no such technologically advanced race that could send artificial signals into space. Scientists returned to the theory that intelligent life could exist somewhere in the Milky Way, and talked about what it might look like.
This time, the researchers used the Murchison Wide-Field Radio Telescope to find an artificial signal at the center of the Milky Way, suggesting an intelligent civilization.
According to preliminary simulations, the best conditions for the emergence of life may exist near the center of the Milky Way at a distance of 3,200 light-years.
So far, as before, observations have not brought positive results. But that doesn’t mean life doesn’t exist, scientists say.
In their opinion, intelligent beings may exist, but their civilization is not sufficiently developed to use radio waves, or the alien signals have not yet reached the Earth. As a result, humans could be the most technologically advanced species in our galaxy.
But how many galaxies are there? Counting them seems like an impossible task.
The universe is astonishingly vast. The Milky Way has more than 100 billion stars, and there are over a trillion galaxies in the visible universe, the tiny fraction of the universe we can see. Even if habitable worlds are rare, their sheer number — there are as many planets as stars maybe more — suggests lots of life is out there. So where is everyone? This is the Fermi paradox. The universe is large, and old, with time and room for intelligence to evolve, but there’s no evidence of it.
So if we are the most advanced civilization in our galaxy, we can only imagine how far extraterrestrials have evolved in other galaxies.
Imagine that intelligence depends on a chain of seven unlikely innovations — the origin of life, photosynthesis, complex cells, sex, complex animals, skeletons and intelligence itself — each with a 10% chance of evolving. The odds of evolving intelligence become one in 10 million.
But complex adaptations might be even less likely. Photosynthesis required a series of adaptations in proteins, pigments and membranes. Eumetazoan animals required multiple anatomical innovations (nerves, muscles, mouths and so on). So maybe each of these seven key innovations evolves just 1% of the time. If so, intelligence will evolve on just 1 in 100 trillion habitable worlds. If habitable worlds are rare, then we might be the only intelligent life in the galaxy or even the visible universe.
And yet, we’re here. That must count for something, right? If evolution gets lucky one in 100 trillion times, what are the odds we happen to be on a planet where it happened? Actually, the odds of being on that improbable world are 100%, because we couldn’t have this conversation in a world where photosynthesis, complex cells, or animals didn’t evolve. That’s the anthropic principle(opens in new tab): Earth’s history must have allowed intelligent life to evolve, or we wouldn’t be here to ponder it.
Intelligence seems to depend on a chain of improbable events. But given the vast number of planets, then like an infinite number of monkeys pounding on an infinite number of typewriters to write Hamlet, it’s bound to evolve somewhere. The improbable result was us.