Exact Number Of ET Civilizations Now Known

No study of the galaxy should neglect the question "How many advanced civilizations are there?" Fortunately, an astronomer in Scotland, Duncan Forgan, has worked out how the various theories about the origin of planets, the development of life and the growth of civilizations can be compared.

Abstract: The search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) has been heavily influenced by solutions to the Drake Equation, which returns an integer value for the number of communicating civilisations resident in the Milky Way, and by the Fermi Paradox, glibly stated as: "If they are there, where are they?". Both rely on using average values of key parameters, such as the mean signal lifetime of a communicating civilisation. A more accurate answer must take into account the distribution of stellar, planetary and biological attributes in the galaxy, as well as the stochastic nature of evolution itself. This paper outlines a method of Monte Carlo realisation which does this, and hence allows an estimation of the distribution of key parameters in SETI, as well as allowing a quantification of their errors (and the level of ignorance therein). Furthermore, it provides a means for competing theories of life and intelligence to be compared quantitatively.

According to Forgan's paper, the number of advanced, intelligent civilizations in our galaxy is 361, 31,573 or 37,964.

I guess we can start constructing the Galactic Senate building now.


(The Galactic Sentate, addressed by Palpatine [Star Wars])

At this point, I'm reminded not of sf, but a quote from Mark Twain's Letters to the Earth:

Relics of this great artist's inspiration are exceedingly rare, and are valued at enormous sums; however, two shovels and a horseshoe made by him are on file at the British Museum, and no stranger should go away from London without seeing them. One of the shovels is undoubtedly genuine, but all authorities agree that the other one is spurious. It is not known which is the spurious one, and this is unfortunate, for nothing connected with this great man can be deemed of trifling importance.

As far as science-fictional predictions of the total number of civilizations are concerned, it varies. In his Foundation series, there is only one (ours) on 25 million worlds. In Star Wars, there are dozens of species (each with some sort of civilization); the government on Coruscant governs approximately one million worlds. How many civilizations are there in your (favorite) galaxy?

From A Numerical Testbed for Hypotheses of Extraterrestrial Life and Intelligence via /.; thanks to Moira for the tip.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/21/2008)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 6 )

Related News Stories - (" Space Tech ")

Unrolling The Filmy Materials Of Space Tech
'When unfolded and unrolled... it became a tough, gleaming film.' - Jack Vance, 1962.

Bake in Space Bake-Off... In Space!
'A joyous condition commenced for the cook in the electric kitchen...' - Otto Willi Gail, 1929.

Free-Floating Planet Capture Not Rare, Says Paper
'planets which had been pulled from their pathways ages ago by a passing star...' - Balmer and Wylie, 1932.

Spider Flyer Walker Space Suit For Mars Astronauts
'The eight thin metallic legs were pointed downwards...' - Charles Sheffield, 1979.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

TALOS Exoskeleton Development Proceeding
'Suited up, you look like a big steel gorilla...'

Autonomous Robots Navigate Like Rats
'Out of warrens in the wall, tiny robot mice darted.'

SINTEF Robot Cleans Solar Panels
'The window cleaners, with large padded feet...'

Pangorin Restaurant Service Robots
What'll you have? Jawa juice?

Drug Creates Real Melanin Tan
I've used them all my life...

Medical Drones Hover Like Angels Near You
'The death-reversal equipment is on its way...'

SkEye Amazing Israeli Gigapixel Drone
'An eye that could not only see, but fly...'

How Rude! DARPA Wants Robots To Behave More Like Threepio
'Do I know protocol? Why, it's my primary function.'

'Liquid Light' Flows Around Corners
Light as a superfluid.

Unrolling The Filmy Materials Of Space Tech
'When unfolded and unrolled... it became a tough, gleaming film.'

Buddy Companion Robot Your Bulbous Friend
'Nanny was built in the shape of a sphere, a large metal sphere, flattened on the bottom...'

Poli-X1 Prototype Bee Pollinator
Is there anything drones can't do?

Bake in Space Bake-Off... In Space!
'A joyous condition commenced for the cook in the electric kitchen...'

DeepMind AI Baffled By Homer Simpson, Needs Human Help
'Whenever a robot finds something it can't identify straight off...'

Does Earth's Middle Mantle Hold Oceans Of Water?
Al Gore, you have no idea.

Vaccine Blocks Heroin High
'You're biochemically incapable of getting off...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.