- What are the actual odds that we'll discover intelligent alien life in our galaxy? Not good, unfortunately.
- The size of the Milky Way means it's likely that life exists out there, but finding it will be near impossible... for now.
- We've not even begun to scratch the surface of our exploration of the cosmos, and progress is moving slowly.
Over the past couple of weeks two research papers have popped up that seem to hint at the inevitability of life — intelligent life, at that — existing outside of Earth but within our own home galaxy. The Milky Way is big, and if we take these papers at face value we see that there are around 6 billion "Earth-like" planets in our neighborhood and at least a few dozen intelligent alien races that have spawned on them.
Scientists use the information at their disposal to come up with these figures, noting the odds of any given star hosting a planet similar to Earth, that the planet is within the habitable zone of the star, and the likelihood of life emerging there and sustaining itself to reach a point of intelligence. The problem, of course, is that even if we take the most optimistic estimates and double those odds in favor of aliens, we'll still probably never actually find them.
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