Shalom Life | December 25, 2014

Israeli Researchers: We're Most Likely Alone in the Universe

Of the estimated 100 billion galaxies in the known universe, only about one in ten may be able to support complex life comparable to that on Earth

By: Maya Yarowsky, NoCamels

Published: December 15th, 2014 in Health » World

Israeli Researchers: We're Most Likely Alone in the Universe

According to the mediocrity principle, adapted by such notable scientists as Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking, it is highly likely that intelligent life exists on other planets because the universe is just too huge. This is the accepted scientific theory that astrophysicists and scientists the world over have adopted as their modus operandi when observing the universe for signs of intelligent extraterrestrial life.

However much as we’d like to think that we are not the only intelligent species in the known universe, this may not be the case. As new research conducted by Hebrew University astrophysicist Prof. Tsvi Piran suggests, due to powerfully destructive gamma ray bursts in certain locations in our galaxy and others, the chances that complex intelligent life, similar or more advanced than our own, exists in the known universe are slim. To put this into perspective, of the estimated 100 billion galaxies in the known universe, only about one in ten may be able to support complex life comparable to that on Earth, much less than what was previously thought.

All others are likely too close to these destructive gamma rays, the research found.“The chances of aliens or other intelligent lifeforms is much smaller than we previously thought,” Prof. Tsvi Piran tells NoCamels.

Understanding the chances of gamma ray-induced extinction

Gamma ray bursts are known as the ‘brightest electromagnetic event to occur in the known universe,’ characterized by either small or large flashes of powerful gama ray energy in association with cataclysmic events in space. They were first discovered in the late 1960s in the United States, suspicious of potential attempts by the USSR to conduct secret nuclear tests in space, but have since been confirmed to be naturally-occurring phenomena. And there are two kinds: short gamma ray bursts occur when stars merge with blackholes, and longer, more powerful gamma ray bursts occur when stars burn out, collapse or explode, releasing 100 times the energy as short ones.

This article was first published on NoCamels - Israeli Innovation News and was re-posted with permission. To continue reading this article on the site, click here.

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