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Mistakes in the Drake Equation

16 Feb 2018, 17:30 UTC
Mistakes in the Drake Equation
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Juggling all the factors impacting the emergence of extraterrestrial civilizations is no easy task, which is why the Drake equation has become such a handy tool. But are there assumptions locked inside it that need examination? Robert Zubrin thinks so, and in the essay that follows, he explains why, with a particular nod to the possibility that life can move among the stars. Although he is well known for his work at The Mars Society and authorship of The Case for Mars, Zubrin became a factor in my work when I discovered his book Entering Space: Creating a Spacefaring Civilization back in 2000, which led me to his scientific papers, including key work on the Bussard ramjet concept and magsail braking. Today’s look at Frank Drake’s equation reaches wide-ranging conclusions, particularly when we begin to tweak the parameters affecting both the lifetime of civilizations and the length of time it takes them to emerge and spread into the cosmos.
by Robert Zubrin

There are 400 billion other solar systems in our galaxy, and it’s been around for 10 billion years. Clearly it stands to reason that there must be extraterrestrial civilizations. We know this, because the laws of nature ...

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