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UFO Blog Series: Part 16: The Drake Equation

Posted by Gary Robusto on June 10, 2013 at 1:25 PM

Written by UFOlogist Tom Conwell

The Drake Equation


I can hear it now. Why does he always hit us with Math stuff? Can't he just let up for a moment? Hasn't he figured out yet that I can get through life just fine without Algebra or even simple Math? When is the last time that I put any numbers into an equation to meet any daily challenge? Probably never. Just shut up, Tom, and let me be. Not happening here folks because this relates to everything that I have been doing.


You just can't think that extraterrestrial civilizations exist without understanding the likelihood that they do or don't. This is a percentage game. If the chance that extraterrestrials exist was one in a trillion, then we would not be having this blog or even Science Fiction for that matter. Water is very common around newly formed stars and it also happens to be a key ingredient in the formation of our type of life form. It would be likely that water would try to find its way onto every planet formed and in enough quantities and at the right temperature, it would facilitate the building blocks of life.


How common is this? Now we have a reason for Math. Frank Drake, a former director of SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) came up with a likelihood of finding life with this equation which is

N = R* fp ne fl fi fc L

N= number of civilizations in our galaxy (our total)

R* = number of star formations in our galaxy

fp = fraction of those stars that have planets

ne = fraction of those planets that can support life

fl = fraction of those that go on to develop life

fi = fraction of those that go on to develop intelligent life

fc = fraction that develop enough technology to become detectable

L = length of time that these civilizations release detectable signals and are findable.


If you came up with numbers for the likelihood of intelligent civilizations to exist and answer all of the questions above, you would receive a very small number. Since there are so many stars in the Milky Way, the end result will be some number near let's put this conservatively at 1000. 1000 civilizations existing in the Milky Way today. Is that possible? Yes but it's also possible that it would require divine intervention as is believed by many for humanity to start. Whatever you believe, there are plenty of planets to build life, support life or establish life in our galaxy alone. The entire universe with over a billion galaxies has way more potential. The building blocks are there and who knows if our creator intends for us to go through the cosmos spreading the seeds of life or He/She intends to do so. Science does not keep one from believing in God, it only allows us to understand the building blocks that are right there in front of us.




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Reply TomC
10:11 AM on June 11, 2013 
I said, ... "over a billion galaxies", It should have read over a 100 billion. If the truth were known, I would even venture a guess that there are nearly a trillion galaxies but that's just me!
Reply Rev. Joe
1:02 AM on July 5, 2013 
Tom You lost me on the math stuff. But I get the Idea of what you are saying.