URL to an interesting post from The Daily Galaxy
Some new insights into search for extraterrestrial intelligences
(Madness takes its toll. Please have exact change)
Some paragraphs from the post
"...The Drake Equation does not take into consideration such factors as the
age of the Galaxy, when intelligence first emerged, or the presence of
physio-chemical variables such as the presence of metals necessary for the
presence of life and the formation of planets. The equation, Dvorsky
emphasizes, assumes "a sort of cosmological uniformity rather than a dynamic and
ever changing universe."
The equation asks us to guess the number of Earth-like planets, but it does
not ask us to estimate when Earth-like planets evolve advanced life forms.
The Milky Way's extreme age and the potential for intelligence, which may
have been present as long as 2 to 4.5 billion years ago, to have emerged at
disparate points in time leaves an absurdly narrow window for detecting
The Drake Equation, Dvorsky believes, does not tell us about exponential
civilizational growth on account of _Von Neumann probe_
disbursement. "It does not tell us
where advanced ETI’s may be dwelling or what they’re up to (are they outside
the Galaxy? Do they live inside Jupiter Brains? Do they phase shift
outside of what we regard as habitable space? ).
This is a serious shortcoming because the answers to these questions
should help us determine not just where we should be looking, but they can also
provide us with insight as to the makeup of advanced intelligence life and
our own potential trajectory."
In other words, Dvorsky concludes, post-Singularity machine-based
intelligence may represent the most common mode of existence for late-stage
civilizations. And that’s who we should be looking for rather than radio
Since 1992 astronomers have been finding more and more exoplanets and as
of today over to 2000 exoplanets are confirmed. The number of Sun-like stars
with planets is believed to be around 40% or higher. Currently most of the
planets found are massive and orbit very close to their stars (they’re
called Hot Jupiters), but as detection techniques improve scientists think
many more planets will be found of different sizes and orbits.
Research of the past two decades have shown that literally billions of
planets in the Milky Way might have niches that would support at least a level
of life represented by Earth's extremophiles.
Yet, in 2012, Drake Equation is of still of seminal importance because it
orders our thinking. This one equation formed the backbone of astrobiology
as a science. Carl Sagan was inspired that the Drake Equation showed the
chances of intelligent alien life were high but he also added that
extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
In 2010, the Italian astronomer Claudio Maccone published in the journal
Acta Astronautica the Statistical Drake Equation (_SDE_
). It is mathematically more
complex and robust than the Classical Drake Equation (CDE).
The SDE is based on the Central Limit Theorem, which states that given the
enough number of independent random variables with finite mean and
variance, those variables will be normally distributed as represented by a Gaussian
or bell curve in a plot. In this way, each of the seven factors of the
Drake Equation become independent positive random variables. In his paper,
Maccone tested his SDE using values usually accepted by the SETI community,
and the results may be good news for the “alien hunters”.
Although the numerical results were not his objective, Maccone estimated
with his SDE that our galaxy may harbor 4,590 extraterrestrial civilizations.
Assuming the same values for each term the Classical Drake Equation
estimates only 3,500. So the SDE adds more than 1,000 civilizations to the
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