OVER 30 alien races could be living alongside us in the Milky Way, according to a new study.
Astronomers think there may be 36 civilisations out there hiding in the stars.
Scientists at the University of Nottingham worked on the assumption that intelligent life on other planets is similar to humans.
They then calculated that there could be as many as 36 alien races out there that are capable of sending radio signals.
However, they think the average distance to one of these civilisations would be 17,000 light years.
This would make communicating with them difficult with our current technology.
Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Nottingham, Christopher Conselice who led the research, explained: “There should be at least a few dozen active civilisations in our Galaxy under the assumption that it takes 5 billion years for intelligent life to form on other planets, as on Earth.”
“The idea is looking at evolution, but on a cosmic scale. We call this calculation the Astrobiological Copernican Limit.”
The Astrobiological Copernican Limit is different to other techniques for making estimations about alien life.
First author Tom Westby explained further: “The classic method for estimating the number of intelligent civilisations relies on making guesses of values relating to life, whereby opinions about such matters vary quite substantially.
“Our new study simplifies these assumptions using new data, giving us a solid estimate of the number of civilisations in our Galaxy.”
The researchers think the other civilisations may be sending out signals and that our chances of detecting them depends on how long these signals have been being sent for.
We’ve had our signal technology for around 100 years so the astronomers hope an alien race developing at the same rate would have the same.
Professor Conselice continues: “Our new research suggests that searches for extraterrestrial intelligent civilisations not only reveals the existence of how life forms, but also gives us clues for how long our own civilisation will last.
“If we find that intelligent life is common then this would reveal that our civilisation could exist for much longer than a few hundred years, alternatively if we find that there are no active civilisations in our Galaxy it is a bad sign for our own long-term existence.
“By searching for extraterrestrial intelligent life — even if we find nothing — we are discovering our own future and fate.”
Of course, we also need to bear in mind that this is just a theory and lots of scientists think alien life could be out there but in the form of tiny microbes.
The study has just been published in The Astrophysical Journal.
In other news, conspiracy theorists think they’ve spotted a human bone on Mars.
A fireball has been filmed soaring across the night sky in Tennessee.
And, another conspiracy theory is claiming the world will end this week.
What do you think of this alien life theory? Let us know in the comments…
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