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How accurate is the Drake Equation?

Launcher Icarus
Status Closed Mediated Closed 3 years, 5 months ago
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astronomy Astrobiology


As our telescopes become more and more powerful, we begin to discover more stars and planets. It's quite interesting to think that we may not be alone in the universe and the Drake's Equation was made to try and guess how many civilizations other than ours exist. I was just wondering how accurate Drake's Equation can be.

Answers (1)

  • Harlene Flores
    Sep 06, 2011

    Despite the years on the search for life outside of our planet, no concrete evidence has been found yet that there are truly other civilizations aside from ours. Many, however, choose to believe that there are other forms of life in space aside from ours, and the Drake Equation is one way for man to find or prove that with the huge, huge size of the universe, it seems impossible that we are only living creatures on it.

    With regards to its accuracy though, there are arguements as to the variables that the equation does not take into account such as the developments in the universe - how old is our Galaxy, the emergence of intelligent life, etc. On the other hand, the variables that the Drake Equation does account for can have values that differ from one scientific expert to another. In other words, there is no general agreement as to how these values are arrived at which means the result of the equation can differ substantially.

    The equation also takes into account several assumptions, which of course must be accurate in order to make the equation's results valid. One assumption that may be questionable is that it presumes that useful communication with other intelligent life in space is possible. It is possible that the technology of other civilizations in space are way higher than we can comprehend.

    It appears then that it our modern world, the Drake Equation is considered obsolete and not very accurate formula to detect intelligent life aside from ours. It misses to account some important variables and depends on fundamental assumptions that might be incorrect. The accuracy of the results that the equation comes up of course relies on the data inputs put into it. It also focuses a constrained search on specific civilizations. Truly, it is a great way though to stimulate our minds and keep searching for methods to find other civilizations in space.

    See below links for additional reading:

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