The Search for Life: The Drake Equation

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For many years, our place in the universe was the subject of theologians and philosophers, not scientists, but in 1960 a man changed all that.

Dr. Frank Drake was one of the references in the new science of radio astronomy, when he did something that was not only revolutionary, but it could have cost him the race. He worked at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Virginia in Greenback, said one of his new radio telescopes 25 meters to a star called Tau Ceti twelve years Earth light, hoping for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence.

Although Project Ozma was silent, which led to one of the most influential equations in the history of science – the Drake Equation – which examined the seven key elements necessary for ET intelligence exists, since the formation of stars the probable duration that a particular intelligent civilization can survive. When Frank and his colleagues entered the numbers, the equation suggested that there was a surprising 50,000 civilizations capable of communicating across the galaxy.

However, in the 50 years of hearing that followed, not a single beep is heard from ET. This Drake and his followers wrong and no way of life out there able to communicate? Drake’s own calculations suggest that would have to analyze the radio spectrum of ten million stars to make contact. But what the equation and the search for life science has done is

focus on some of the other questions about life in the universe, biogenesis specifically, the development of multicellular life and the development of intelligence itself.

The answers to these questions suggest that, far from being a one, life can not only be common in the universe, but once started will inevitably lead to intelligent life.

To learn more about the influence of the equation, Campbell Dallas will travel around the world to meet scientists who have dedicated their lives to focus on its different aspects.

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