From the time humans started exploring the solar system and the universe, questions whether alien life exists in the universe started to haunt astronomers and other astroscientists.
In fact, in 1961, an astronomer named Frank Drake proposed an equation, which could prove the existence of intelligent and technologically advanced civilizations. It also outlines the variables needed before any civilization could contact Earth.
After 55 years, a team of scientists from the University of Rochester has published a study, which aims to better understand Frank’s equation and to further prove whether life is possible in the universe and elsewhere outside Earth.
The research team, headed by astronomer Adam Frank, based their study on the observations of exoplanets, first observed in the 1990s. The study, which was co-authored by Woodruff Sullivan from the University of Washington, was published in the journal of Astrobiology.
By making use of the data gathered by observing exoplanets for more than two decades now, the researchers were able to compute the probability of any technologically advance civilizations, other than ours, have ever existed.
“The question of whether advanced civilizations exist elsewhere in the universe has always been vexed with three large uncertainties in the Drake equation. We’ve known for a long time approximately how many stars exist. We didn’t know how many of those stars had planets that could potentially harbor life, how often life might evolve and lead to intelligent beings, and how long any civilizations might last before becoming extinct,” Frank said in a statement.
Meanwhile, world-renowned astrophysicist Steven Hawking believes there’s a slim chance intelligent life exist outside Earth, as previously reported by Morning News USA. Hawking, however, said this does not mean it’s totally impossible, he said. Hawking added that although the possibility is low, it’s still possible.
“The probability is low…probably. But the discoveries of the Kepler mission suggest that there are millions of habitable planets in our galaxy alone. And there are at least 100 billion galaxies in the visible universe. So it seems likely that there are others out there” Hawking was quoted as saying by Popular Science during the launch of the 100 million dollar project Breakthrough Starshot.