Drake Equation 2.0: There Have Been Aliens
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Adam Frank, a physicist - full disclosure, I've hung out and talked with him as he's a friend of a friend -- writing in the New York Times, reformulates the Drake Equation, arguing that the resulting numbers overwhelmingly support the existence of other technical civilizations during the history of the universe.
If this is the case, then surely this becomes a prominent part of Big History
The Drake Equation has always seems to me a futile exercise, because so many of the inputs were just pure guesses.
The large number of planets within the range of Kepler may help reduce some of the unknowns for the Drake Equation.
And the number of discoveries has been an amazing thing to watch over the last decade.
Still the distances involved are so extreme.
If light speed is in fact a limit, and Star Trek's warp drive is not a possibility, then it does not surprise me that intelligent civilizations have no contact.
I do not expect ever to make contact. It would be enough for me to pick up some weak signal from 10,000 ly and know that 10k years ago some civilization had existed.
Yeah, but we're talking billions of years. If aliens exist they're going to be old. At close to light speed you could cross the Milky Way ten times in a million years, let alone a billion.
Is near light speed travel a possibility for any technology?
And can an intelligent civilization last a million years?
That there have been many civilizations in the 4 billions years of our galaxy is something that I have never doubted. It is good that a high probability has been calculated using available data.
I think we will discover EM radiation that gives evidence of other past civilizations. And it will be interesting, a galactic archaeology of past civilizations more advanced than our own.
Contact and exchange, I do not expect to be ever possible. The distances are too vast.
So, my belief is that any alien race that reaches the stars is immortal, unless killed by a more powerful alien race also spreading over the same area. A civilization that goes about colonizing stars is going to spread, and no local event could kill it.