It might take another 1,500 years before extraterrestrial aliens make contact with the human race, a team of astronomers has predicted.

The scientists performed a calculation based on the likelihood of technological civilisations arising among the stars, and the probable length of time they had been transmitting signals across space.

They concluded there was no reason to think we are alone in the universe. We just need to exercise a *little* patience…

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US researcher Evan Solomonides, a PhD student from Cornell University, said: “We haven’t heard from aliens yet, as space is a big place – but that doesn’t mean no one is out there.

“It’s possible to hear any time at all, but it becomes likely we will have heard around 1,500 years from now.

“Until then, it is possible that we appear to be alone – even if we are not. But if we stop listening or looking, we may miss the signals. So we should keep looking.”

Earth
If life isn’t unique to Earth, where are all the aliens? (NOAA/PA)

Astronomers have long pondered why, given the number of stars in our galaxy, the Milky Way, there has been such a deafening silence from the cosmos – despite attempts by Seti (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) scientists to eavesdrop on alien signals.

There are more than 200 billion stars in the Milky Way, almost half of which may host Earth-like planets, according to one estimate.

If life is not unique to the Earth and has evolved in a similar way elsewhere, the galaxy should be teeming with civilisations. Yet not one confirmed alien signal has ever been detected.

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This puzzle was highlighted in 1950 by Italian physicist Enrico Fermi in what has become known as the “Fermi Paradox”.

A number of logical reasons for the lack of contact have been suggested. These include the possibility that intelligent extraterrestrial life is very rare or non-existent, that all intelligent civilisations eventually destroy themselves before reaching out to the stars, that the aliens have decided inter-species communication is too dangerous, or that they’re observing us from afar as part of a “hands off” experiment. Riiiiight…

But the new research suggests there’s nothing contradictory about “Fermi’s Paradox” and we shouldn’t have expected to make contact with aliens so soon.