The Milky Way is home to millions of planets with habitats for life to exist, and about four of them could harbor civilizations that would threaten Earth if they could, new research has been published. load on the arXiv database.

The probability that humans could come into contact with one of these extraterrestrial civilizations – and then be colonized by them – is very small, (Image: Getty image)

The new paper, still uncensored, raises a particular question: How likely is it that humans could one day come into contact with an alien civilization capable of invading our Earth? how much %?

To answer this, the study’s sole author Alberto Caballero – a PhD student in conflict resolution at the University of Vigo in Spain – set out to answer the question by looking back at the history of species. people before looking out at the stars.

To get his estimate, Caballero first counted the number of countries that invaded other countries between 1915 and 2022. He discovered that there were a total of 51 out of 195 countries. Countries around the world undertook some form of invasion of other countries during that period. He then weighed each country’s probability of launching an invasion based on that country’s percentage of global military spending.

From there, Caballero added each country’s probability of planning an invasion, then divided by the total number of countries on Earth, ending up with what he described as “the current human probability in invading an extraterrestrial civilization”.

The percentage of humans entering another potentially habitable planet is 0.028%. (Artwork: Pixabay)

According to this model, the percentage of humans entering another potentially habitable planet is 0.028%. However, Caballero wrote, that probability refers to the current state of human civilization – and that humans are currently incapable of interstellar travel.

If the current rate of technological progress holds, interstellar travel will not be possible for another 259 years, Caballero calculates using the Kardashev scale – a system of degree classifications the progress of a civilization based on its energy consumption.

Assuming the frequency of human invasions continues to decline during that time at the same rate as invasions have declined over the past 50 years (average is negative 1.15% per year, according to the Caballero paper) , then humanity has a 0.0014% probability of invading another planet when we are likely to become an interstellar civilization.

For his final calculation, Caballero turned to a 2012 paper published in the journal SETI Mathematics, in which the researchers predicted that as many as 15,785 alien civilizations could theoretically exist. can live in the same galaxy as humans.

Caballero concluded that less than one of the civilizations (0.22% to be exact) would be ‘hostile’ to humans. However, the number of dangerous “neighbors” increased to 4.42% when taking into account civilizations that, like modern humans, were not yet capable of interstellar travel, Mr. Caballero told Vice. News.

“I don’t mention 4.42 civilizations in my article because we don’t know if all the civilizations in the galaxy are like us and a civilization like ours might not. pose a threat to another civilization,” Caballero told Vice.

These 4 hostile alien forces for us are not much to worry about. What’s more, the probability that humans could come into contact with one of these extraterrestrial civilizations – and then be colonized by them – is very small, Caballero added.

“The probability for humans to make an extraterrestrial invasion is about two orders of magnitude lower than the probability of a deadly asteroid impact with a probability equivalent to 1 in 100 million years. “, said Mr. Caballero.

Although Caballero’s work offers an interesting idea experiment, the author admits his model has limitations. The probability of invasion is calculated based on only a very narrow part of human history, and it makes many assumptions about the future development of our species. The model also assumes that alien intelligence will have similar brain composition, values ​​and feelings of empathy to humans, which may not be entirely accurate, Caballero told Vice. .

“I’ve done this research based solely on the life we ​​can perceive, we can’t actually know what the mind of aliens is like,” he said.

And by the looks of things, it’s going to be at least a few hundred years before we can do that.

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