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How many alien civilizations are there ?

Posted on Thursday, 6 December, 2012 | Comment icon 184 comments


Image credit: Hajor, Wikimedia

 
How likely is it that we will find an advanced alien civilization within our own Milky Way galaxy ?

In 1961 astronomer Frank Drake proposed a famous equation designed to calculate the number of detectable alien civilizations within our own galaxy. The calculation required numerous factors, many of which were controversial or unobtainable such as the percentage of alien civilizations that have developed electromagnetic radiation emitting technologies. The results of the equation therefore could be considered speculative at best.

In 2010 however Italian astronomer Claudio Maccone developed a new version of the equation known as the SDE ( Statistical Drake Equation ). This revision is a little more robust than the original, filling in the blanks using the Central Limit Theorem. According to his findings there is a 75% chance of finding an alien civilization between 1,361 and 3,979 light-years from Earth.

"Looking to the Drake equation factors, it is obvious that none can be precisely determined by modern science."

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 Source: Phys.org


  Discuss: View comments (184)

   


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #175 Posted by psyche101 on 14 January, 2013, 8:37
Just a thought- Perhaps alien civilisations are trying to contact us by telepathy which is instantaneous and breaks the light-speed barrier? Furthermore perhaps humans have been picking up these alien telepathic communications for years, but the human mind is unable to process them properly. Foe example suppose aliens broadcast this telepathic message into space "Hello, we are on another planet", and it's picked up by a human. But instead of coming across loud and clear, it triggers hallucinations in the recipients mind and he thinks he's having a close encounter or abduction. Drugs are bad Mk... [More]
Comment icon #176 Posted by psyche101 on 14 January, 2013, 9:25
I adopted Noelle after she'd been through some terrifying times and was the first safe haven she'd ever had. As a result, we were pretty much inseparable for the majority of the time we were together. Even now, that bond exists despite there being 3500 miles between us. Gidday Mate It warms the heart to hear you speak of her. Inspiring to hear such pure goodness still exists out there. How'd it go? :-) Really well thanks She is just glowing, had just been down to the local shopping centre and had her picky taken with her little boy, and a python wrapped over her shoulders! I sure was not expec... [More]
Comment icon #177 Posted by psyche101 on 14 January, 2013, 9:36
Unfortunately I am flat out oversubscribed these day and simply have no time to engage, although I miss the debates here a lot. I do, however, pop in every day to follow what is going on, but sadly I cannot afford the time to post very much. Hopefully in February things will turn out to the better. Gidday Mate I know where you are coming from, my contributions have been rather sporadic of late as well, but always good to see you, and hope the new year see's you in well. I have rather hit the ground running myself. I am also a glutton for punishment it seems . I must admit that I miss Sky. At l... [More]
Comment icon #178 Posted by quillius on 14 January, 2013, 9:37
I miss Sky, but am happy to see he is in his new niche, and comfortable. I kind of hope he does not come back, because he has become something of a legend, and Indeed I agree, he was ten times the man when it comes to the current silly debates such as how did man mange to pile rocks up. Todays "believers"** truly pale by comparison. Sky was a military man, and as such commanded respect. I sort of hope the legend lives on, as I fear he might have some trouble living up to the shoes he left. For sure, not a debater has come close to filling them. Long Live Skyeagle409. Hey Psyche, Happy New Year... [More]
Comment icon #179 Posted by psyche101 on 14 January, 2013, 10:11
Hey Psyche, Happy New Year mate!! hope you all had a lovely time. (yes me and the Quilliuses all did, many thanks ) with regards to Sky not returning, although I see your point I still think it would be great to have McG and Sky on the same thread arguing the cases......dont you think? Cheers mate Up and down, lost a mate over the break, that was sad, but he was a fighter, and did well, and inspiration to us all right to the end. Always good to see the kids in daylight hours too Indeed, I would welcome the old bird back, it just seems sometimes legends can become larger than life, heck, I am s... [More]
Comment icon #180 Posted by quillius on 14 January, 2013, 10:31
Cheers mate Up and down, lost a mate over the break, that was sad, but he was a fighter, and did well, and inspiration to us all right to the end. Always good to see the kids in daylight hours too Indeed, I would welcome the old bird back, it just seems sometimes legends can become larger than life, heck, I am singing his praises! I'd hate to see a slip up, or something happen, and the legend lose some status. People are usually remembered for the last bad thing they did, not good, Sky has managed just the opposite, he was not Superman, but a great and passionate debater all the same and walke... [More]
Comment icon #181 Posted by Kludge808 on 15 January, 2013, 4:29
Gidday Mate Good afternoon. Minor monsoon this AM which took the power out here for some 7 hours. Made going to my psychonanny appointment a bit entertaining since traffic lights weren't functioning at very busy intersections. It warms the heart to hear you speak of her. Inspiring to hear such pure goodness still exists out there. I don't know that I do anything special. I feel that I'm doing what any parent should, taking care of my little girl. We are close though and always have been. Really well thanks She is just glowing, had just been down to the local shopping centre and had her picky t... [More]
Comment icon #182 Posted by Kludge808 on 15 January, 2013, 4:33
Your direction will see that tin foil hat come of forever. Dammit, I just bought a new one, custom made even! We can't do away with them yet!
Comment icon #183 Posted by Slave2Fate on 15 January, 2013, 4:51
Dammit, I just bought a new one, custom made even! We can't do away with them yet! Well I guess there's more than one way to turn heads than just being handsome I suppose... BTW: it's good to see you around the forums again Kludge, I always get a smile or some smarts from your posts...sometimes both.
Comment icon #184 Posted by Kludge808 on 15 January, 2013, 5:01
Well I guess there's more than one way to turn heads than just being handsome I suppose... Well, with my dashing good looks, I don't need to make a fashion statement but I didn't want a plain off-the-rack tin foil helmet either. :-D BTW: it's good to see you around the forums again Kludge, I always get a smile or some smarts from your posts...sometimes both. Thanks. I'll be in and out since I have some projects going on that require my attention but it's all good and I'll be on board as much as possible. Of course, one can never tell where I'll pop up next. Bwaaahahaha ...


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