Scientists may have an extra challenge when it comes to detecting alien civilizations: a time limit. A new study suggests that intelligent aliens, if their technological progression is similar to that of humanity’s, are likely to have moved away from noisy radio transmissions to harder-to-hear digital signals within a 100-year time frame. That offers Earth just a narrow window in which to pick up any signals from extraterrestrial civilizations. “Based on the results that we looked at, if we assume that the civilizations are humanlike with similar technological progress to us, we calculate the probability of making contact is roughly one in 10 million,” the study’s lead author, Duncan Forgan, told SPACE.com.

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