The Search for Life: The Drake Equation


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WinterKnight
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Message 1055927 - Posted: 14 Dec 2010, 12:32:39 UTC

Sorry folks this for the UK only.

Tonight, Tuesday 14 December, 2000 GMT, on BBC4 after that on the BBC site via IPlayer.

For further info see:
Why haven't we found aliens yet?

Profile William Rothamel
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Message 1056015 - Posted: 14 Dec 2010, 18:04:44 UTC - in response to Message 1055927.
Last modified: 14 Dec 2010, 18:06:40 UTC

Well if there are 10,000 as suggested how far would they be scattered in a galaxzy shaped like ours that is maybe 100,000 parsecs across.

Does this average distance preclude picking up spurious radiation or even a high-powered focused beam?

The uncertainty and the adequateness of the variables subject to estimation will remain a topic for debate. We may gradually answer some of the more relevant ones in the not too distant future such as:

What percentage of main sequence stars have planets in a temperate zone.
how many of these are are in a near circular orbit.
how many have water
how many stars have an outer gas giant.
how many planets have a moon to stabilize spin and provide tidal action.
how many have been around for billions of years.
how many have a magnetic shield
how many have an ozone layer
how many have dry land?

How many more conditions are necessary for intelligent like to form and how likely are these.

Profile William Rothamel
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Message 1056142 - Posted: 15 Dec 2010, 0:31:33 UTC - in response to Message 1056015.

Correction. That's 100,000 lightyears accross and 1000 lightyears thick. Not parsecs.

Norwich Gadfly
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Message 1056229 - Posted: 15 Dec 2010, 11:04:56 UTC - in response to Message 1056142.

50 years ago, Drake estimated that there are 50,000 discoverable intelligences in the Milky Way.

It seems to me that the proportion of habitable worlds that would eventually produce a technological civilisation has been greatly overestimated. Our species is the first and only one that has developed advanced technology, so many planets may never develop any at all. Another factor not appreciated then is the role of our moon is stabilising the earth, these must be rare.

I suspect these might be sufficient to reduce the estimate to one, i.e. the Earth.


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Profile Johnney Guinness
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Message 1058265 - Posted: 21 Dec 2010, 2:09:03 UTC

BBC, The Search for Life: The Drake Equation

You can watch the TV show on this Youtube users channel; http://www.youtube.com/user/rachanak03

Enjoy,
John.
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Message 1065551 - Posted: 11 Jan 2011, 9:28:18 UTC

Is it possible to come up with an alternative to the Drake equation?

As follows: A formula in order to calculate the possibility of finding
extraterrestrial life outside of earth based on our current technological capabilities.

Take that challenge!

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Message 1067148 - Posted: 15 Jan 2011, 23:28:03 UTC - in response to Message 1056015.
Last modified: 15 Jan 2011, 23:28:31 UTC

I came back here and actually discovered what Mr. William Rothamel wrote in Message 1056015.

Interesting stuff and worth reading through a couple of times.

If we are not supposed to be very successful in our search (are we only detecting signals from UFO's perhaps?), we might go back and look for signals close to stars that are both closer to us and also resembles our own sun.

Like Project Ozma in the late 1960's, I think. There was an attempt trying to detect signals from stars like Tau Ceti and possibly Epsilon Eridani. Apparently with no success.

Vega, Altair and Procyon could be good examples for doing this search close to nearby stars.

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Message 1067157 - Posted: 15 Jan 2011, 23:54:00 UTC - in response to Message 1067148.
Last modified: 16 Jan 2011, 0:26:41 UTC

Like Project Ozma in the late 1960's, I think. There was an attempt trying to detect signals from stars like Tau Ceti and possibly Epsilon Eridani. Apparently with no success.

At the time there were no known exoplanets; now there are hundreds. We are still a little way from detecting terrestrial worlds in the "Goldilocks zone", but in the coming years or decades I expect some such targets to present themselves—perhaps even to the Kepler satellite that’s already operating.

P.S.
Vega, Altair and Procyon could be good examples for doing this search close to nearby stars.

Vega is spectral type A0 and may not be old enough to have a stable planetary system conducive to life, and indeed may not even last long enough to develop one. Altair is A7, also rather young and hot. Being a binary system Procyon isn’t considered very likely to have well-behaved planets, and it can’t have been any fun when the B component went through its red-giant stage! The A component is an F5 star, so more like Sol than the other two, but now it too is entering old age; if the system does host any life-forms their prospect for the next hundred million years or so is not at all good.
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Message 1067218 - Posted: 16 Jan 2011, 3:23:11 UTC - in response to Message 1067157.

Any thougts of sun like stars like Delta Pavonis, Beta Hydrii of being good candites for SETI, Kepler search, even Gliese, red dwarfs fusion process lasts longer than sun like stars, thus life would have more time to develop on planets orbiting stable red dwarfs. Has SETI ever targeted the regions closer to Sgr A* for signals.

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Message 1067220 - Posted: 16 Jan 2011, 3:36:02 UTC - in response to Message 1056229.

hard to imagine earth being the only planet in the universe with life, life's components are made of elements found with abundance through out the universe. Water might be the most prevelent soluble in the universe, any planet orbiting the goldylocks orbit around a stable star; the chance for life development is great. The Kepler team might want to focus Kepler to the Centauri system, being the closest stars to the sun, they could harbor terrastial planets. It is possible for rocky planets to form in the habitable zones in a binary system.

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