No one can say for certain whether extraterrestrial civilizations exist, but one new study suggests the Milky Way is full of them, though many could be dead.
The research, which can be read on the arXiv repository, was written by experts at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, and Santiago High School in Corona, Calif. It uses the famous Drake Equation and determined that intelligent life may have emerged some 8 billion years after the Milky Way formed.
“As we cannot assume a low probability of annihilation, it is possible that intelligent life elsewhere in the galaxy is still too young to be observed by us,” the researchers wrote in the study. “Therefore, our findings can imply that intelligent life may be common in the galaxy but is still young, supporting the optimistic aspect for the practice of [search for extraterrestrial intelligence].”