Celebrating the Creator of the Drake Equation and SETI Pioneer, Frank Drake #SpaceSaturday

A founding member of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Frank Drake developed the Drake Equation is an attempt to set an agenda for the project. The equation puts into a formula the prediction for how many intelligent civilizations might exist in our galaxy. The initial set of variables suggested that our galaxy holds as many as 100,000 intelligent civilizations. Here’s more from Astronomy Now:

…Drake realised that they needed a more coherent agenda, so he set about creating a framework based on what he thought were the salient questions that needed answering before we could say whether SETI might be successful.

If extraterrestrial life existed, then it seemed reasonable to expect that it would live on planets, orbiting stars, so knowing the rate at which stars form seemed a good starting point. Then, how many of those stars form planets? How many of those planets are temperate like Earth, and how many ultimately develop simple life? Then, now how many of those worlds does that simple life evolve into complex, intelligent life? What fraction of those intelligent civilisations develop the technology for interstellar communication? And finally, how long do alien civilisations exist for, because the Universe is very old, and if technological civilisations don’t last long, the chances of our existence coinciding with theirs might be slim.

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