Is there intelligent life in our Universe apart from us?
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Dave: Are there aliens out there? What is the Drake equation?
Jeff: Dr. Frank Drake came up with an equation which is commonly used by scientists to determine how many technologically advanced civilizations may be in our galaxy.
Dave: It usually goes: N = R* • fp • ne • fl • fi • fc • L
Jeff: N = civilization in Milky Way where we can detect life.
Dave: R = Rate of formation of stars suitable for intelligent life.
Jeff: fp = Fraction of those stars with planetary systems.
Dave: ne = Number of planets, per solar system, with environment suitable for life.
Jeff: fl = Fraction of suitable planets where life actually appears.
Dave: fc = Fraction of civilizations that develop technology we can detect .
Jeff: L = Length of time those civilizations release signals into space.
Dave: That’s awesome. But, problems abound: lots of these are just guesses.
Jeff: Also, for intelligent life to appear, there are a lot more factors at play than 7 things. And, ne or a “suitable environment” that’s actually EXTREMELY RARE!