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The Drake equation is a probabilistic argument used to estimate the number of active, communicative extra-terrestrial civilizations in the Milky Way Galaxy. So it takes into account the 200 Billion stars in our own galaxy. However there are an estimated 200 Billion or so galaxies in the known universe. So the figures stand up and should confirm that intelligent alien civilisations do exist. So why are we not seeing open proof that we are being visited on a regular basis.

One reason we are not being inundated by alien space ships is the vast distance of space. Our Milky Way galaxy is about 100,000 light years across. That’s the time light takes to travel from one side of the galaxy to the other. The speed of light is 299,792,458 miles per second. You may think this is pretty quick. However in the scheme of things this is very slow when it comes to space travel even withing our galaxy, let alone interstellar travel between galaxies.

Our nearest star is Proxima Centauri and is 4.2 light-years from Earth, a distance that would take about 6,300 years to travel using current technology.

So its becoming clear any alien visitors would need technology that would reach speeds close to or indeed faster than the speed of light to be able to meaningly travel between the stars. However under Einstein's theory, the speed of light becomes a sort of ultimate speed limit. In fact, objects with mass, be they space ships or neutrinos, can't go faster than the speed of light.

So how do aliens get here? One ,method could be a ‘warp drive’ made famous by Star Trek. This uses the fact that space itself can travel faster than light if it is warped. Warp drives work by annihilating matter (in the form of deuterium, a kind of hydrogen gas) and antimatter in a fusion reaction mediated by dilithium crystals. This produces the enormous power required to warp space-time and drive the ship faster than light. We don’t know how to make usable anti matter or indeed if ‘dilithium’ or its equivalent exists.

Another method aliens could get here would be by utilising worm holes. A wormhole is like a tunnel between two distant points in our universe that cuts the travel time from one point to the other. Instead of traveling for many millions of years from one galaxy to another, under the right conditions one could theoretically use a wormhole to cut the travel time down to hours or minutes. So if they do exist, could they be controlled in some way or would they just transport you from one random part of space to another random part of space which is not that useful of you want to visit a specific star system.

Other methods would be to utilise anti-gravity technology which is not to be ruled out given that we still don’t understand how gravity actually works.

So its clear alien visitors would have to own unbelievable technologies that we could only dream of. It is not impossible and the truth is indeed out there. In the words of the band JOURNEY - "Don’t stop believing". 

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