Hollywood cinema has shown us many times that there are planets hosting other civilizations on advanced spaceships and that they are, or could be, very bad. But does this make sense from a scientific point of view?
for 20 minutes
An amateur Spanish astronomer wondered if there was a hostile alien civilization in the Milky Way, which is home to millions of potentially habitable planets. And his answer is yes. As a possibility, there could be four of them looking at us with dark intentions: they would invade Earth if they could.
The small study (8 pages) was written by Alberto Caballero and published in the ArXiv database in the absence of, yes, peer review (inter-expert assessment used by scientific journals). This PhD student in conflict resolution at the University of Vigo wondered how likely it is that humans will one day be able to come into contact with a hostile alien civilization capable of invading our planet.
In his text, Caballero wrote: “This work attempts to provide an estimate of the spread of hostile extraterrestrial civilizations by extrapolating the possibility that we, as a human civilization, attack or invade an inhabited exoplanet.”
How are we humans?
To answer himself, he began by taking a look at the history of mankind. He counted how many countries here on Earth invaded other countries between 1915 and 2022. He found that a total of 51 of the world’s 195 countries launched some form of invasion during that time, with the United States leading the way.
Next, Alberto Caballero weighed the probability that each country would launch an invasion based on a percentage of global military spending. Once again, the United States ranks first with 38% of global military spending. Then add the probability of each country instigating the invasion and divide the sum by the total number of countries on Earth.
In this way he obtained something like the formula for our desire to conquer other planets, which he calls “the present human possibility of conquest of an extraterrestrial civilization.” Today the probability is 0.028%.
But even if we wanted… a human being is currently incapable of making an interstellar journey. That’s why, according to Live Science, Caballero calculated when we’ll be able to experience such a flight. According to the Kardashev Scale (a system that ranks a civilization’s progress based on its energy expenditure), at the current rate of technological progress, it would take humans 259 years to make interstellar voyage (in astronomy, a type 1 civilization).
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