Nearly 38,000 ET civilisations trying to contact us!

February 5th, 2009 - 6:23 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Feb 5 (IANS) There could be nearly 38,000 intelligent civilisations in our galaxy - and some of them could be trying to contact us even as you read this, British scientists say.If that sounds too far-fetched, rest assured that there are at least 361 such civilisations out there, say scientists from Scotland.

Be warned though - these Extra Terrestrials are likely to be clever than you.

Researchers collated data from the 330 planets known to man and worked out what proportion would be suitable for life. The results were then applied across the Milky Way, says the study which is reported in the International Journal of Astrobiology.

Duncan Forgan, a University of Edinburgh scientist who led the research, said Thursday a team of scientists worked on the assumption that intelligent life forms are most likely to be found in ‘Goldilocks Zones’ - where the planet is neither too close to nor too far from the parent star.

Too close and it’s too hot; too far and it’s too cold for life to survive. Earth, on the other hand, is “just right.”

But those of us dreaming of a flurry of intergalactic civilised exchanges may have to wait awhile - thousands of years, actually - because time and distance are a problem, as ever.

“It’s quite likely that if one civilisation became intelligent, it may not find another intelligent civilisation at that point of time. It could equally be that they are trying to contact us now but we won’t hear from them for thousands of years.”

The researchers examined three scenarios: The first assumed that it is difficult for life to be formed but easy for it to evolve, and suggested there were 361 intelligent civilisations in the galaxy.

The second assumed life was easily formed but struggled to develop intelligence. Under these conditions, 31,513 other forms of life were estimated to exist.

The final scenario, which examined the possibility that life could be passed from one planet to another during asteroid collisions, saw the total rocket to 37,964 intelligent civilisations.

“Most of the other planets we have looked at are older than our own - so I would expect to see more advanced civilisations than ours existing,” Forgan said.

“But that makes us ask why we have not already seen them - although some would say we have.”

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