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There Could Be 36 Communicating Extraterrestrial Civilizations in Milky Way

Article by News Staff                          June 15, 2020                           (sci-news.com)

• A study paper published (June 15th) in the Astrophysical Journal (by scientists at the University of Nottingham) attempts to calculate the ‘Astrobiological Copernican Limit’ on the number of alien civilizations in the galaxy.

• Estimating the number of intelligent civilizations relies on making guesses of values relating to life. But “opinions about such matters vary quite substantially,” noted Dr. Tom Westby, first author of the study. “Our new study simplifies these assumptions using new data, giving us a solid estimate of the number of civilizations in our Galaxy.”

• Since our own civilization on Earth formed after 4.5 billion years, the study’s criteria focused on other planets that formed at least 5 billion years ago. Assuming that other technological civilizations last 100 years, as we have so far, then there will be about 36 ongoing intelligent technical civilizations throughout our galaxy.

• “Our new research suggests that searches for extraterrestrial intelligent civilizations not only reveal the existence of how life forms, but also give us clues for how long our own civilization will last,” senior author Christopher Conselice said. It is possible that we are the only civilization within our galaxy, depending on the length of time that a technological civilization survives. “If we find that intelligent life is common then this would reveal that our civilization could exist for much longer than a few hundred years. Alternatively if we find that there are no active civilizations in our Galaxy it is a bad sign for our own long-term existence.”

• With our present technology the average distance to these civilizations would be 17,000 light-years away, making detection and communication very difficult.

[Editor’s Note]  Senior SETI astronomer, Seth Shostak, argues in his article, “How Many Alien Societies Are There?” that the flaw in the Nottingham study is that the author’s ‘Astrobiological Copernican Principle’ basis for their estimate assumes that “whatever we on Earth have done, the rest of the universe also does, or has done. For instance, the Nottingham scientists assume that all technological cultures will start by using radio waves to search for other civilizations for one hundred years, but no longer. That’s like saying because we’ve had airplanes for a century, everyone will have airplanes for a century, and no longer. This arbitrary assumption by the authors is largely responsible for their strikingly low estimate of the number of alien societies. Given the usefulness of radio, you could easily claim that the technological lifetime of societies is 10,000 years, not 100. If you argue for the larger number, the tally of inhabited worlds increases by a factor of 100.

The Nottingham paper also assumes that every Earth-size planet in the habitable zone of its solar system will spawn life, and after about 4 to 5 billion years, intelligent life. That’s like saying that every kid who takes piano lessons will inevitably win the Van Cliburn Prize. Venus and Mars are in the ‘habitable zone’ for life in this solar system. But they both appear to contain no life whatsoever.

By making one’s own assumptions, you can derive just about any estimate you wish for the number of intelligent cosmic species.

 

      Christopher Conselice

“There should be at least a few dozen active CETI civilizations in our Galaxy under the assumption that it takes 5 billion years for intelligent life to form on other planets, as on Earth,” said Professor Christopher Conselice, senior author of the study.

“The idea is looking at evolution, but on a cosmic scale. We call this calculation the Astrobiological Copernican Limit.”

Dr. Tom Westby

“The classic method for estimating the number of intelligent civilizations relies on making guesses of values relating to life, whereby opinions about such matters vary quite substantially,” added Dr. Tom Westby, first author of the study.

“Our new study simplifies these assumptions using new data, giving us a solid estimate of the number of civilizations in our Galaxy.”

The two Astrobiological Copernican limits are that intelligent life forms in less than 5 billion years, or after about 5 billion years — similar to on Earth where a communicating civilization formed after 4.5 billion years.

In the strong criteria, whereby a metal content equal to that of the Sun is needed, the authors calculate that there should be around 36 active CETI civilizations in the Milky Way.

They show that the number of civilizations depends strongly on how long they are actively sending out signals of their existence into space, such as radio transmissions from satellites, television, etc.

If other technological civilizations last as long as ours which is currently 100 years old, then there will be about 36 ongoing intelligent technical civilizations throughout our Galaxy.

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Early Detection System for Catastrophic Solar Storms

Article by Greg Nichols                        June 17, 2020                          (zdnet.com)

• Solar storms can wreak havoc on Earth, affecting up to 40 million people and causing over $2 trillion in damages in the U.S. alone. In 2003, a solar storm disrupted satellite communications, impacted air travel, and caused a significant blackout in Sweden.

• The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has tapped the Seattle-based commercial space exploration company, Xplore Inc., to provide an early detection system for solar events that can disrupt power grids and communications on Earth.

• Xplore Founder and Chief Operating Officer, Lisa Rich says, “We are pleased to announce NOAA has awarded Xplore a study to evaluate the feasibility of a commercial Lagrange point mission with our Xcraft spacecraft.” The spacecraft will be parked at the Earth-Sun L1 Lagrange point – the neutral gravity point between the Earth and Sun a million miles away from Earth.

• At the L1 Lagrange point, the craft can detect light from the Sun 5 seconds before it hits the Earth. But it can detect the stream of particles from the Sun known as the solar wind a full hour before hitting Earth, providing the possibility for advanced warning.

• Xplore’s ESPA-class space vehicle, known as the Xcraft, is designed for missions beyond Earth orbit that include the Moon, Mars, Venus, near-Earth asteroids, and, of course, Lagrange points. Xplore is one of a handful of companies commercializing space by providing payload capacity and communications links aboard private unmanned space vehicles at a lower cost to space agencies.

• Chief Scientist for the U.S. Space Force, Dr. Joel B. Mozer, sais, “Space weather monitoring has been a government-led activity for the last 50 years, but this is an area where innovative companies can play a key role. I am looking forward to the next era of advanced space weather capabilities coming from this partnership with Xplore.”

 

                             Lisa Rich

A commercial space exploration company has been tapped to conduct a study into the possibility of providing early detection for solar events that can disrupt power grids and communications on earth. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) awarded the study to Seattle-based Xplore Inc.

Solar storms can wreak havoc on earth. In 2003, a storm disrupted satellite communications, impacted air travel, and caused a significant blackout in Sweden. One study predicts that 20 to 40 million people in the U.S. could be affected during extreme solar events, with damages upward of $2.6 trillion.

That makes early detection critical, and if you’re going to detect solar activity with enough advanced warning to send a heads up back to earth, it’s going to have to be pretty far away. That’s where the so-called Earth-Sun L1 Lagrange point comes in. The L1 is located approximately a million miles from the Earth at the neutral gravity point between the Earth and Sun. Light from the sun hits L1 about 5 seconds before it gets to earth. Crucially, the stream of particles from the sun known as the solar wind, which travels slower than the speed of light, reaches L1 a full hour before hitting Earth, providing the possibility for advanced warning in the case of a disruptive solar event.

Getting out to L1 is no easy feat. Xplore is hoping that its multi-mission ESPA-class space vehicle, known as the Xcraft, is up to the challenge, which the study will help determine. The vehicle is designed for missions beyond Earth orbit that include the Moon, Mars, Venus, near-Earth asteroids, and, of course, Lagrange points.

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Scientists Show Our Place in the Galaxy

Article by Natasha Kumar                            June 16, 2020                           (thetimeshub.in)

• Despite the fact that we persistently listen to heaven through sensitive antennas, we still have not received any signal from an extraterrestrial civilization and none of them have responded to our messages. Adam Grossman from The Dark Sky Company has created a map of our Milky Way galaxy, illustrating the full extent of its huge size. A radio signal issued on one side of the galaxy would take 100 thousand light-years to reach the other side.

• On Grossman’s map (above), the little blue circle with a diameter of 200 light years around the Earth represents the maximum distance that the first radio signals have traveled from Earth over the past 100 years, since the radio was invented. In this radius of 200 light years around the Earth, there are no known habitable exoplanets, with liquid water and oxygen in the atmosphere.

• SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) is constantly listening to radio signals from space. But considering the size of our galaxy, we’d have to listen for signals for tens of thousands of years before humanity had a chance to establish contact with another civilization. Then double this time to receive a reply.

 

Are we alone in the Universe or at least in our galaxy? Despite the fact that we persistently listen to heaven your most sensitive antennas, we still have not received any signal from an extraterrestrial civilization and none of them respond to our messages. The Fermi paradox has tried to answer this question, but the answer can be simple, if you look at our milky Way galaxy to scale to rate how vast distances in space and realize that we simply do not hear.

Adam Grossman from The Dark Sky Company has created a map of our galaxy, so you can see the full extent of its huge size. And the milky Way is not the biggest galaxy in the Universe. The diameter of the milky Way is about 100-180 thousand light-years, depending on how you measure. That is, the radio signal issued in one side of the galaxy, you will need at least 100 thousand light-years to reach the other side.

Now, it is worth remembering that our civilization is familiar with the radio only about a century. And the little blue circle with a diameter of 200 light years around the Earth, represents the maximum distance that at the moment overcame the first radio signals from Earth. Below us to hear the alien civilization must be in a tiny radius. It should be noted that in the nearest 200 light years not found any habitable exoplanets, or at least with liquid water and oxygen in the atmosphere.

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