As Earthlings, we have pondered the possibilities for potential life forms in the universe. If they’re really there, can they talk with us? Would they even want to? How do they survive out there in the vast expanse? This line of questioning helped to bring about the Drake equation which has been utilized in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. Named after astronomer Frank Drake and developed back in 1961, the formula outlines variables necessary for another technological civilization to contact us in hopes to communicate.
What are the chances of intelligent life elsewhere in the cosmos?
With the release of the latest paper in Astrobiology, it is suggested we may have an easier way to go about simplifying the equation. Using observations of exoplanets which were made since the very first on was encountered in the 90’s, results seem to indicate life was plentiful. Sadly, such abundant life is now largely extinct. Researchers are looking at the bright side however. This new research could potentially assist mankind in extending our own civilizations.
Led by physics and astronomer professor with University of Rochester, Adam Frank released a statement.
“The question of whether advanced civilizations exist elsewhere in the universe has always been vexed with three large uncertainties in the Drake equation. We’ve known for a long time approximately how many stars exist. We didn’t know how many of those stars had planets that could potentially harbor life, how often life might evolve and lead to intelligent beings, and how long any civilizations might last before becoming extinct.”
3 Elements Astrobiologists Say Could Be Changed
- How many stars have planets that are capable of sustaining life? An estimated 20% of stars possess planets with habitable areas.
- How long can civilizations survive? Since this is such a complex query, scientists opted to propose one slightly different. “Are we the only technological species that has ever arisen?”
- What are the chances for advanced life on another planet? To answer this, researchers tried to picture a cosmos in which humanity is the one and only. Through the application of stars’ probabilities that we do know, they ultimately found the likelihood to be approximately one in 10 billion trillion. Compare this probability to the numbers of our Milky Way and you’ll see it rise to one in 60 billion.
How many intelligent alien life forms are out there?
Humankind’s civilization is around 10,000 years old. Therefore, unless a normal civilization is supposed to last a great deal longer, the 13-billion-year life span of the cosmos has likely seen many civilizations meet their demise. Scientists hope you apply this equation in a practical manner that will actually maintain our way of life much longer.
“Our results imply that our evolution has not been unique and has probably happened many times before,” Frank says. “The other cases are likely to include many energy-intensive civilizations dealing with their feedback onto their planets as their civilizations grow. That means we can begin exploring the problem using simulations to get a sense of what leads to long lived civilizations and what doesn’t.”
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