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NOVA ScienceNOW

The Drake Equation

  • By Lauren Aguirre
  • Posted 07.01.08
  • NOVA scienceNOW

The Drake Equation, named after its creator, radio astronomer Frank Drake, tackles a perplexing question: Does intelligent life, capable of communicating with us, exist beyond Earth? It makes the question easier to address by framing it as a numbers game. In this interactive version, learn about the factors in the equation and play around with the numbers yourself.

Launch Interactive

Try your hand at calculating how many intelligent, communicating civilizations might be in our galaxy.

Credits

Images

(Frank Drake)
© Roger Ressmeyer/CORBIS
(Milky Way, star formation, Earth, satellite dishes, meteorite);
© NASA
(star wobble)
produced by the Cornell Theory Center based on research by Alex Wolszczan, Penn State
(bacteria)
© Howard Sochurek/CORBIS
(dolphins)
Courtesy of NOAA

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