do you think there really is life out there? Did Roswell actually happen? Or are you on the other end of the spectrum, no life other than terrestrial being? Well today we will explore the mathematics of extra-terrestrials!
That’s right, math that predicts the probability of other aliens.
The equation is called the Drake Equation. This equation was brought about by Dr. Frank Drake of University of California who is a scientist in Astronomy and Astrophysics.
Not only does the equation predict how many civilizations are out there, it also predicts advanced civilizations! How many are at our level of intelligence and beyond. Without further ado, here is the ever so famous equation:
N = R x P x Ne x L x I x FC x LT
What do all these wonderful letters mean?
- N is the number of aliens that possible could contact us or visa versa.
- R is the average star formation
- P is the fraction of stars that have planets surrounding it
- Ne is the number of planets that could support life for every star that has a planet
- L is the fraction of planets that WILL have life on it... at one point. Because everything started off as a single celled organism, this is going to be higher than N
- I is the fraction of l that will become intelligent life. This could be an animal (anything that has a structure like our neural system).
- FC is the fraction of intelligent life that can and will build a detection device for communication purposes.
- LT is the time length in which a signal will be sent.
Here are values that have been used with this equation (taken from Wikipedia):
- R = 10/year the Milky Way averages 10 stars per years.
- P = 0.5 about half these stars will develop/pull planets into its orbit.
- NE = 2 scientists believe that 2 of these planets will be able to support life.
- Recap so far: 10 stars, 5 stars with planets 2 of these will have planets that support life.
- L = 1 (100% of these planets will develop life of any kind. Such as microbes or amoebas.) (I would think only 50% at most but let’s go with this)
- I = 0.01 (1% that could be intelligent)
- FC = 0.01 (1% that could communicate with us.)
- LT = 10,000 years (how long the civilization will last 10,000 years)
If we multiply each of these numbers together, we get N = 10 alien beings that we COULD encounter. This is only theoretical and we still have yet to encounter any (except possibly at Roswell).
If we use my 50% instead of the 100% for the ‘L’ value we come up with 5. This seems more reasonable. Makes sense why we have yet to encounter anything in this vast galaxy.
That concludes Drake’s equation. As always, comments are always excepted and topic suggestions are welcome as well.
Thanks for reading Keith’s Mind.