In an intergalactic federation, space ships are extremely common. They run supply routes, defend planetary bases, and transport colonists to new worlds. To aid in these adventures, most ships would follow a defined path in space. It would make sense to only fly through charted territories, so random asteroids and pirates are not as much of a problem, right?
In this scenario, shady people, like pirates, would want to travel off the beaten path. Mostly to avoid detection and prey upon unlucky travelers.
Most of the galaxy is in a constant state of expansion. This means that people are always looking for new real estate, even amongst the most inhospitable environments. Even if the planet-in-question is far away from any current civilization, eventually it will be discovered. But currently, it is a decent distance from any operations.
Even so, those pirates or lost travelers could potentially find their way near the unmarked planet. With these points in mind, what is the probability of a ship finding the planet?
- The planet is not labeled on any galactic maps
- Most ships are equipped with planetary scanners (they can see planets from just outside the system)
- The solar system where the planet is located is perfectly normal, nothing unusual
- The planet/system does not contain anything of value
- Most planets already discovered have resources and can support colonies/life
Bonus question: If the planet had life on it, would that affect the probability of accidental discovery?