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May 24, 2016 AT 1:37 pm

‘Are We Alone?’ The Drake Equation Then & Now, with Interactive Probabilities

drank-equation

Physics and astronomy Professor Adam Frank from the University of Rochester along with astronomy and astrobiologist Woodruff Sullivan from the University of Washington, have revised and expanded the 1961 Drake equation, given recent confirmations of exoplanets and other Kepler Objects of Interest.

“The question of whether advanced civilizations exist elsewhere in the universe has always been vexed with three large uncertainties in the Drake equation,” said Adam Frank… “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.”

Their research is simplified in an interactive module hosted on the Rochester.edu website that puts into perspective the chances of our solitary existence in the known Universe. For example even if civilization sprung up on only “one in a billion billion” habitable planets orbiting stars, there would still be ~4000 civilizations throughout the course of time in this Universe:

drake-equation-r

Decrease those odds to your chances of winning the lottery and humanity would be one of “one million million” civilizations!

Fascinating stuff. See the interactive element and read more on their findings here.


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