Drake Equation

Method of estimating the number of intelligent, technologically advanced species (i.e., able to communicate with other species) in existence in our Galaxy.

N is the number of species (life) at any given moment in our Galaxy. The parameters are as follows: R = rate of star formation in our Galaxy (in stars per year); fp = fraction of stars which have planets; ne = number of habitable planets per system with planets; fl = fraction of habitable planets upon which life arises; fi = fraction of these planets upon which life develops intelligence; ft = fraction of these planets where the intelligence develops into a technological civilization capable of communication; and L = mean lifetime of such a technological civilization. Only R and fp are known with any reliability with values of ~10 stars per year and ~1, respectively. The others are almost entirely pure speculation at this point. Calculations of N made by respectable astronomers differ by ~10 orders of magnitude. Further information on this fascinating subject may be found on the SETI website.

Some or all content above used with permission from J. H. Wittke.

This entry was posted in . Bookmark the permalink.