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Scientists have been seeking life on other planets for decades, but until now there has been confirmation. But one thing is for finding life and quite another intelligent life . For evidence of this last there are projects, like SETI, that are dedicated to scanning the universe for signs, past or present, of extraterrestrial civilizations. However, the evidence that there is life on other planets may be here, in the Earth . At least that is the thinking of the scientific David Kipping , Columbia University (EE. UU.).
In a recent article published in the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” (PNAS), the astronomer tries to narrow the possibilities of that past extraterrestrial life on the basis of bayesian statistics : taking as a reference how it came about humanity on our planet, you try to test through the math if you the same way you could in other parts of the cosmos. And Kipping comes to the conclusion that while the proliferation of organic beings is very likely , it is not so much to develop their intelligence.
Four possible scenarios
“The technique applied is similar to that of the bets,” explained Kipping. “It promotes the test repeated of new evidence against your opposition, in essence, a positive feedback loop to refine the probability estimates of an event”. That is to say, the odds of a repeat of an event given in the same way several times . To do this, the astronomer took four possible scenarios : life is common and often develops intelligence, life is rare but often develops intelligence, life is common and rarely develops intelligence and, finally, life is weird and rarely develops intelligence. It is one thing that leads to life and another to do so in the form of civilization.
For its analysis, Kipping back in time a few 4,000 million years, moment in which they were formed the oceans. The study points out that, on the basis of earlier research, probably the life emerged quickly , just 300 million years after (the so-called LUCA, the first relative that resulted in all the species, including the human being). As writes the researcher, the organic proliferation so early in geological terms provides an statistic of 9:1 or even higher.
“If planets with similar conditions and lines of evolutionary time to the Earth are common, then the analysis suggests that the life should have few problems to emerge spontaneously on other planets ,” the ministry said in a press release from the University of Columbia. But the evolution of intelligence is another matter.
To bring humanity, first he had to give life. And he knew early on in our planet can be a prerequisite for that after the intelligence : that is to say, not only that life is open step, but do so for so long that to be able to evolve until there are intelligent species, so that without doubt will take much more time . “A key result here is that when one compares the scenarios of intelligent life versus those of common life; the stage of life, common is always at least nine times more likely than the rare,” explained Kipping. And the proportion of the emergence of intelligent life drops to 3:2.
what, Then, would emerge the intelligent life in our if reiniciásemos the clock?: “Life emerged on Earth within the first quintile of its window space, but a technological civilization did not flourish until the last (…) If we play the history of the Earth, the emergence of intelligence is in reality something unlikely ,” says the researcher.
Applied to other planets, it means that if the time scale for the evolution of intelligence is very slow, then a faster onset of life it is really necessary to pop up a civilization, but the proliferation of advanced civilization “does not necessarily mean that it is a process is usually fast,” he writes. That is to say, the study rejects the idea of advanced civilization to appear quickly, as can happen with life in general.
“This is not unusual, as it took several billion years to arise that the intelligent life here.” So Kipping sentence: “The possibility that intelligence is extremely rare and that the Earth ‘has had enough’ is still quite viable “. Even so, many researchers say that life has been unable to open step in many other ways. Who knows if the intelligence has taken the same path in other parts of the universe.