How many civilizations are there in the Milky Way?

Are there other thinking creatures in the universe? Researchers recently determined that life should be at least relatively common. In terms of intelligence, however, the results, which were based on an analysis of its development on Earth, were less clear.

A new article published in the Astrophysical Journal has come to somewhat more encouraging results. Astrophysicist Tom Westby, one of the authors, explains his group’s approach: “The classic method for estimating the number of intelligent civilizations relies on making guesses of values relating to life. Opinions about such matters, however, vary quite substantially. Our new study simplifies these assumptions using new data, giving us a solid estimate of the number of civilizations in our galaxy.”

The value that the researchers came up with was 42. Okay, not really, that was just a little joke. Westby continues:

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