London, Feb 5 (ANI): In a new research, a scientist has quantified the number of alien worlds that may have intelligent beings as their inhabitants.
According to a report in BBC News, the scientist in question is Duncan Forgan from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.
Intelligent civilizations are out there and there could be thousands of them, said the Edinburgh scientist.
Forgan said that according to his research, there are at least 361 intelligent civilizations in our Galaxy and possibly as many as 38,000 in the Universe.
Even with the higher of the two estimates, however, it is not very likely that contact could be established with alien worlds.
While researchers often come up with overall estimates of the likelihood of intelligent life in the universe, it is a process fraught with guesswork; recent guesses put the number anywhere between a million and less than one.
"It's a process of quantifying our ignorance," said Forgan.
In his new approach, Forgan simulated a galaxy much like our own, allowing it to develop solar systems based on what is now known from the existence of so-called exoplanets in our galactic neighborhood.
These simulated alien worlds were then subjected to a number of different scenarios.
If alien life forms do exist, we may not necessarily be able to make contact with them, and we have no idea what form they would take.
The first assumed that it is difficult for life to be formed but easy for it to evolve, and suggested there were 361 intelligent civilizations in the galaxy.
A second scenario assumed life was easily formed but struggled to develop intelligence. Under these conditions, 31,513 other forms of life were estimated to exist.
The final scenario examined the possibility that life could be passed from one planet to another during asteroid collisions - a popular theory for how life arose here on Earth.
That approach gave a result of some 37,964 intelligent civilizations in existence.
"Even if alien life forms do exist, we may not necessarily be able to make contact with them, and we have no idea what form they would take," said Forgan.
"Life on other planets may be as varied as life on Earth and we cannot predict what intelligent life on other planets would look like or how they might behave," he added. (ANI)