Most of us have pondered this question – “Do aliens exist?”.
Well, it seems the answer to it is yes, there is. According to the paper published by astronomer Woodruff Sullivan and Professor Adam Frank, there are less than ONE IN 10 BILLION TRILLION odds that we are the only advanced life form that ever existed.
“This implies that other intelligent; technology producing species very likely have evolved before us.”
To understand how they reached this number you need a bit of background knowledge which goes something like this:
Do aliens exist? Aliens Are Real? We May Have An Answer
About half a century ago an astrophysicist (Frank Drake) came up with an equation that calculates the probability of alien life existing and communicating with us.
The equation, called Drake’s Equation (not very original, was it?), was just for argument’s sake and not to actually reach an empirical number. Drake’s Equation considered 7 factors. The glitch was that barring one, very little of the remaining factors were known to us.
Then our very own NASA sent Kepler to look for new planets. This gained us boatloads of data about new planets. This is when big changes occurred. Instead of just one factor, we now had information about 3 factors used in Drake’s Equation namely:
- The number of stars (think Sun and not just twinkling lights) born each year.
- Secondly, The number of stars that have planets (think Mars, Venus, etc).
- The number of planets that can support life form (think the number of Earths)
Numerically the answer is “roughly one-fifth of stars have planets in habitable zones”.
This brings us back to the original story of Sullivan and Frank, who used this data to form a new equation, the one that churned up the number less than 1 in 10 billion trillion odds. Yes, it is a mouthful but it is a number, a first for this field.
How Did they Calculate the Number?
Let’s bypass all the mathematical mumbo-jumbo of the published paper and put it simply: first they looked at the broader picture and then they asked the opposite of what everyone else was asking.
Broader Picture: The world has been asking how many aliens exist.
CURRENTLY. Sullivan and Frank asked, “whether we are the only technological species that has EVER arisen?” What this means is their equation does not talk about how long the aliens lived, it just takes into consideration that they lived at some point in time.
Drake’s equation or for that matter you and I ask what are the odds that technologically advanced life forms (read aliens who can talk to us) exist? Sullivan and Frank ask, what are the odds that we are the only intelligent beings to exist in the Universe.
In other words, their equation does not calculate the chances of aliens evolving. It comes up with the odds that alien life will never evolve.
Let’s be the selfish Homo Sapiens we were born to be and talk about just us, not the whole wide Universe. According to Sullivan and Frank’s calculation for our own Milky Way, “the probability of a technological species arising on a given planet in a habitable zone is greater than ONE IN 60 BILLION”.
Hell, if the odds are so low, then why is E.T. not phoning? The most likely reason is that he is extinct. The Universe is beyond I-can’t-see and I-have-no-teeth old. Alien forms have born and died long before we trudged along.
So, that answers your question. We are not unique; chances are everything we are doing has already happened before and that too many times. Isn’t that just kick- below-the-belt fantastic?
For those who can decipher Maths, click here for the paper.