Documenting the Coming Singularity

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Calculating How Many ETs Exist

Simple math shows how many space aliens may be out there

It’s a lot more than you might imagine!

by Seth Shostak on MACH

If you say you believe space aliens exist, I doubt your friends will be shocked. In a universe aglow with 2 trillion galaxies, you'd be supremely smug to think that Earth alone hosts clever creatures. One 2015 poll showed that 54 percent of Americans feel confident that intelligent aliens are out there.

Maybe that optimism comes from science fiction. After all, if there are no extraterrestrials, there isn't much of a mission for the Starship Enterprise or job openings for Vulcans. Fiction aside, many scientists agree that the cosmos is undoubtedly sprinkled — perhaps liberally sprinkled — with life. Even sentient life.

But can we say anything about that sprinkling? Can we hazard a guess as to how close the nearest aliens might be?

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