Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Calculating Intelligent Life (Part 2)

Here's part 2 of my original post on calculating intelligent life using the Drake Theory. If you haven't checked it out yet, it's definitely worth a look. Without the previous post, this one will be hard to follow. Cutman... Don't even try.

Please open your Sears Catalogue and follow along as I try to explain my calculation.

Here we go.

N* = 100 Billion

I use this number because that is the general estimation of stars in our galaxy.

Fp = .5%

This is an extremely low fraction of how many stars have planets based on new findings, but I'm being conservative for a reason.

Ne = 1

This is the amount of planets able to sustain life. Recent studies have shown that the Goldilock Zone is getting larger and larger, but for right now, lets assume that each star ecologically has a similar Goldilock Zone to our star system and is only capable of sustain life on one planet. For my equation, lets look at Ne = 1 as a certainty.

Fl = 100%

Here's where my numbers go from conservative to certainty… at least in my mind.

If a planet lies within the Goldilock Zone, it means it lies within the perfect place with the perfect conditions for life to form. If Earth were a tiny bit closer to the sun – we would fry. If Earth were a tiny bit further from the sun, we would freeze.

So looking back at Ne = 1, then it must be said that the conditions are perfect for Fl to equal 100%

Fi = 1%

This is my absolutely novice guess of how many little alien farm animals have evolved into something more intelligent.

Fc = 100%

Fc is used to determine how many intelligent life forms have the ability to communicate. This part seems a little stupid to me. I consider communication to be a vital part in the process of life becoming intelligent, so we'll leave this number at 100% to represent Fi.

FL = 10 billion years (the estimated age of the Milky Way)

Using 10 billion years, we would be assuming that 100% of the intelligent life forms that have evolved since the beginning of the Milky Way haven't somehow blown themselves up with nuclear bombs. Seems pretty optimistic right? Hey what can I say, I probably give humanity and any other intelligent life forms out there more credit than deserved.

So with all that we get N = 5,000,000 or 5 million intelligent life forms have evolved since the formation of the Milky Way.

If we were to make a few adjustments to this calculation for not only our Galaxy, but also the entire universe, we get a much more astounding number.

Right now the current count of stars in the Universe is 70 sextillion and the estimated age of the Universe is 13.37 Billion years old.

Putting those calculations in we get:

N = 4.6795E+14

And I don't even know what the hell that number is, but it's a lot of civilizations.

Now trust me when I say I'm not a mathematician. And trust me when I say I'm sure some of the readers of this will be mathematicians – So I expect fully to be put in my place by someone who knows a lot more about this than me.

More so than anything, I did this for fun and as a way of saying were crazy if we think out of 70 Sextillion stars out there, were the only intelligent civilization around.

Seems pretty arrogant to me.

And this calculation doesn't even dive into the Multiverse theory.

Let the arguments begin.

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