The search for extraterrestrial life seems to be an increasingly fruitless task for us mere human mortals as our technology advances and our understanding of our universe increases. The universe is amazingly large, featuring nearly endless star systems, planets and chances for intelligent life to spring up. The only problem is that physics has more or less told us that it’d be nearly impossible for us to be able to reach out far enough to find anyone else.
According to Discovery, a new study posits that from all of the information that we’ve been able to gather about our surroundings and the universe, we are most likely surrounded by extinct civilizations. The researchers dub their new research an “archaeological form” of the famous Drake Equation, which laid out the early blueprint for searching for extraterrestrial life and the probability of it existing. According to this new research, the chances of intelligent life existing is one in 10 billion trillion, with the numbers in our own galaxy being a bit more positive with one in 60 billion. If those numbers sound desolate, remember just how huge the universe is.
But the problem is that societies have probably risen and fallen, considering that our known universe is believed to be 13 billion years old. Those 13 billion years most likely spawned intelligent life and that intelligent life has probably come and gone. It doesn’t mean that it won’t happen again, but that means that we could also be existing in a graveyard.
Science fiction and horror have long harped on these points, with H.P. Lovecraft introducing the world to the Great Old Ones, namely the embodiment of ancient evil that was Cthulhu. Cthulhu, residing on the sunken ancient city of R’lyeh in the South Pacific, was a constant source of subconscious grief and anxiety for humanity, who were unable to understand such an ancient evil. The BioWare franchise of Mass Effect has touched upon ancient space-faring civilizations and their own culling thanks to an ancient race of sentient machines spawned to bring order to mortal who overreached into the stars in the Reapers.