SCIENTISTS have identified the place where aliens are most likely lurking in the Milky Way.
Using computer simulations, the US team determined that the mysterious centre of our galaxy represents our best hope of finding ET.
That’s assuming other space-faring civilisations exist at all, of course – a question that remains a hot topic among the world’s top experts.
The researchers, Penn State and Columbia University, say their findings could help to steer future missions to find little green men.
The centres of galaxies are “promising search directions” for such missions, they wrote in a research paper published last month.
Computer models were built by the team to determine how alien life might spread across the universe.
They assumed that an extra-terrestrial civilisation used ships that travel at speed comparable to our own spacecraft (about 18 miles per second).
After a ship arrives at a virtual habitable world in the simulation, it’s considered to have formed a colony after 100,000 years.
The colony is then able to launch its own spacecraft which can travel to an uninhabited world if one is within range.
The results showed a wave or “front” of colonisation before the nomadic aliens reach the galaxy’s core.
After this, the rate of colonisation skyrockets. Even with conservative limits on the speed of ships, a galaxy could be colonised within a billion years.
That may sound like a long time, but when you consider that the Milky Way is 13billion years old, it’s a small slice of the lifetime of a galaxy.
The results, published in the The American Astronomical Society, hint that the core of our galaxy might be the best pace to look for aliens.
That’s because, according to the simulation, it’s the most likely point at which a civilisation proliferates at a rapid place.
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Not only is our galaxy’s centre more likely than anywhere else to house little green men, it’s also relatively easy to comb for clues.
Telescopes on Earth have a direct line of sight to the dense region of space, making scanning it for technology a walk in the park (sort of).
The centre is also filled with our galaxy’s oldest planets, providing more time for extra-terrestrial life to have emerged.
So, if the spot is ripe for the growth of civilisations, why haven’t we run into ET yet? Lots of reasons, according to the researchers.
It’s possible alien colonies die out before reaching us, or that civilizations take care to not interfere with inhabited planets such as ours.
Whatever you believe, the study shows that rapid colonisation can take place with relatively simple technology, and in a short period of time.
“Even very conservative rates of settlement ship launches and ship ranges can quickly lead to a galaxy endemic with technology,” researchers wrote.
The research comes on the cusp on the launch of Nasa’s James Webb space telescope, which will scan alien atmospheres for signs of life.
In other news, aliens may have dropped life-detecting sensors onto Earth, according to a Harvard University professor.
China successfully launched a three person crewed mission to build its own space station.
And, the European Space Agency has revealed it will be sending a probe called EnVision to study the planet Venus.
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