Sunday, January 28, 2018

Simple math shows how many space aliens may be out there

Simple math shows how many space aliens may be out there

Yes, there may be a mind-boggling number of habitable planets out there, and based on an estimate of the likelihood that a habitable planet may produce and sustain a technological society, there may be 10,000 such societies in our own galaxy, and scientists estimate there are at least a hundred billion galaxies.

But ...

... even the mammoth number produced by that multiplication is less mind-boggling than the sheer vastness and emptiness of space. A few simple calculations lead to an estimate that the nearest technological civilization is likely to be at least a thousand light-years away. "Today's fastest rockets would take at least 20 million years to get there, by which time you're going to be awfully tired of on-board pretzels."

The universe undoubtedly includes many civilizations. But few, if any, are close enough neighbors to visit one another. It is possible for a single star to be surrounded by multiple habitable planets, in which case it is possible (maybe even likely) that existing somewhere out there are civilizations from different planets who have met one another. It does not seem that we will ever be one of those civilizations unless it is possible to conquer the light barrier.


  1. Never say never. "Whatever Man can dream, Man can achieve". The possibilities in Science Fiction are endless. I read in a Popular Science magazine not too long ago of a new metal that a lab was working on. It was clear enough to see through and yet had the tensile strength of light metal. Transparent Aluminum, anyone?

  2. This assumes that more technologically advanced civilizations have not found a way to warp space. If they can and travel to our solar system they could share the technology with us. That said if they observed us for hmjust a short while I get a feeling they would decide not to make it easy for us to get around cosmically.

    1. I agree with that in general. I qualified everything by the light barrier.

    2. True. The lightspeed barrier will likely never be broken. The deal with Warp Speed (or whatever you want to call it) is that it does NOT break the lightspeed barrier. It depends on... well, warping space so as to bring two points of space closer together so that it seems like the trip is actually shorter. And physically, it would be. It's like having two points on a long piece of paper. It takes a finite amount of time to go between those two points. But if you 'warp' the paper in such a manner as to bring the two points closer to each other, it will take considerably less time to travel between them.

      But that will depend on our ability to create the system that could actually warp space.

      People will say that's only science fiction and that it will never happen, but remember... in the 50's breaking the sound barrier was considered science fiction and in the 60's, landing a man on the moon was, as well.

      Like I said, 'whatever Man can conceive, Man can achieve'.