Fwd: Alien expert illuminates audience on extraterrestrial possibilities
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Alien expert illuminates audience on extraterrestrial possibilities
Leif Griffin, 03/01/04
MADISON - Some of extraterrestrial expert Frank Drake's beliefs may
people bewildered. Speaking to an audience of 300 at the University
Wisconsin-Madison Feb. 19, Drake, director of the Search for
Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute in Mountain View, Calif.,
the reasons why he believes intelligent life exists in the universe
highlighted potential methods of communicating with far-off
"I think all of us who are well-read at all, or know anything about
universe, have at some time realized that it could well be that there
other intelligent beings in space," Drake said. "Many of them could
advanced, more sophisticated and with more of a history. It would be
fascinating just to find out what they are like."
He emphasized the importance of persistence and repetition in the
for extraterrestrial life.
"Detecting alien life is like winning the lottery, and to win any
we have to make many, many bets," Drake said.
Luckily, Drake asserted, there are also many, many solar systems that
that are capable of incubating civilizations. Of the estimated 400
stars in the Milky Way, 10 percent are similar to our solar system
able to support life, Drake said. Furthermore, it is only certain
billion stars are unable to support life due to their relatively
existence and rapid resource exhaustion. According to Drake, the
80 percent of stars in the Milky Way are smaller than our sun but may
just as useful in the quest for life.
"For a while scientists thought [the less massive stars] were not
for life, but now it appears they too could be abodes for life, and
perhaps better ones than the stars that are like the sun," he said.
The potential provided by myriad life-supporting stars bodes well for
discovery of intelligent life and Drake discussed methods of
required to detect extraterrestrial activity.
"We have the means, if we work very hard, to detect intelligent life,
get access to all of the wondrous things they can provide us with,"
Utilizing rockets to make contact with extraterrestrial life would be
costly and a doomed venture because of the distance, Drake said, so
best method of detecting alien civilizations is through
messaging. According to Drake, it is possible to send a 60-second
at the speed of light to the far side of the galaxy for only a
worth of energy. The conventional method of powering a space shuttle
complete the same task would take around 500,000 year's worth of
Drake also briefly discussed his famous equation, Drake's Equation,
implications. Drake created the seven-factor equation in 1951 to
the number of alien civilizations in the Milky Way. Using those
which account for the rate of star formation and civilization life
Drake estimated there are at least 10,000 such civilizations in the
Phillip Morrison, emeritus professor at the Massachusetts Institute
Technology, wrote of Drake's Equation: "Next to Einstein's equation,
the most recognized equation in science."
"Parts of the Whole" Metaphysical Web Site:
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