The Drake equation

The Drake equation

The Drake equation

Named for its creator, astrophysicist Frank Drake, the Drake equation is an attempt to estimate N, the number of advanced civilisations in the Milky Way galaxy. Many of the numbers that go into the Drake equation can only be guessed at, for example, the factor L, the average lifetime of an advanced civilisation.

According to Drake, the average of people's best estimates suggests that there are about 10,000 technically advanced civilisations spread across our galaxy.

Image: The Drake equation with an illustration of an exoplanet orbiting the star HD 209458 (Planet illustration credit: NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon/STScI)

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The Drake equation

Introduction

How many advanced civilisations are in the Milky Way?

About The Drake equation

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