University of Rochester researcher talks about possibility of alien civilizations

A new study has focused on quite an old question as to whether humans are alone in the universe. The new study has provided a simplified version of astronomer Frank Drake’s famous Drake equation first published in 1961. The equation highlights variables vital for a technologically inclined civilization.

The research has suggested that alien civilizations could have been present in abundance, but most of them would now be extinct. Study’s lead researcher Adam Frank from University of Rochester said that three uncertainties in Drake’s equation has been acting as hurdle for the question behind the existence of advanced alien life.

Professor Frank said, “Thanks to NASA's Kepler satellite and other searches, we now know that roughly one-fifth of stars have planets in 'habitable zones,' where temperatures could support life as we know it”.

Researchers said that it is still tough to find out how long can civilizations survive. Frank and study’s co-author Woodruff Sullivan of the University of Washington for the question, the chances of advances life arising on a planet, imagined a university where humanity on earth is the only survive one.

Applying this fact to the number of known stars, they saw a probability of one in 10 billion trillion. Frank considered that one in 10 billion trillion a very small chance of humanity being alone in the universe. But owing to the universe’s vast distances and uncertainty behind the length of civilizations, it might be very difficult to communicate with any living being in other world.

Frank explained, “Other intelligent, technology producing species is very likely have evolved before us”. The researchers said that our current civilization is 10,000 years old. Most of the civilizations go extinct after a few thousand years. Considering 13 billion years of existence of the universe, most of the alien civilizations could have gone extinct. But, still, we can expect some signal from alien civilizations.

Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) has been working on finding exoplanets which could support life. Kepler space telescope has also discovered some exoplanets which could support life.

The findings published in the journal Astrobiology could hold practical benefits. Humanity could explore the matter of survival using simulations to know what encourages and prevents long-lived civilizations.