Winnipeg UFO expert calls alien civilization research an ‘educated guess’

Chris Rutkowski, Canada's foremost UFO expert, whose day job is at the University of Manitoba is photographed in his Winnipeg home. John Woods / The Canadian Press / File

The news from researchers in the U.K. that there could be more than 30 intelligent alien civilizations in our galaxy is music to the ears of a Winnipeg science writer and “weirdologist”.

Astrophysics researchers from the University of Nottingham in England have come up with new data and calculations for figuring out how many potentially contactable civilizations are out there, calculating the most likely number at 36.

Winnipeg UFO researcher Chris Rutkowksi told 680 CJOB the number is a “relatively educated guess”, but it’s impossible for us to really know what — or who — is out there.

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“They’ve taken the assumption that, well, we’re here, so let’s assume that all other intelligent civilizations in the galaxy got to where they are the same way we did,” Rutkowski said.

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“So they look at how long the Earth has been around, how long it took for life to form… how often do planets form around stars. They did all these calculations assuming that everybody is the same us.

“It’s interesting, except that a lot of (Earth’s) calculations are based on fairly good guesses too. We really don’t know exactly when life started and so on and so forth.”

The research, published Monday by the American Astronomical Society, is based on the assumption that it takes roughly five billion years for intelligent life to form on other planets, as it did on Earth.

Christopher Conselice
Christopher Conselice. Christopher Conselice / Twitter

One of the study’s authors, professor Christopher Conselice, said in a statement that the research contains valuable information for the future of our civilization here on Earth as well.

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“Our new research suggests that searches for extraterrestrial intelligent civilizations not only reveals the existence of how life forms, but also gives us clues for how long our own civilization will last,” said Conselice.

“If we find that intelligent life is common then this would reveal that our civilization could exist for much longer than a few hundred years. Alternatively, if we find that there are no active civilizations in our galaxy it is a bad sign for our own long-term existence.

“By searching for extraterrestrial intelligent life — even if we find nothing — we are discovering our own future and fate.”

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Rutkowski said while the research does simplify the equations to find potential life on other planets, he suspects the number — 36 — isn’t entirely accurate.

“There’s no question that they’re out there, but how many and where they are — that’s the big question.

“It’s interesting that you can prove that life does form under certain conditions. There’s somebody out there… as the saying goes, the truth is out there, but we’re unfortunately stuck down here.”

While we’re stuck down here, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadians may be experiencing more UFO phenomena, he said.

“We actually delayed our 2019 annual Canadian UFO Survey because of the pandemic — we were unable to gather enough data and things went sort of haywire.

“We can say that so far in 2020, it looks like numbers seem to be up. Why that is, could be people are spending more time outside or perhaps have more free time, or the opportunity… we’re not sure about that.

“But it does seem that numbers seem to be a little bit higher and we hope to have the numbers to back that up in the next few weeks.”


Click to play video: 'Explore the galaxy from your home on Space Day'
Explore the galaxy from your home on Space Day


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