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The Drake equation for alien intelligence is more important than ever 5nvklj





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The Drake equation for alien intelligence is more important than ever

Dragon
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Post by Dragon Sat Sep 24, 2022 3:07 am

How many intelligent civilizations should there be in our galaxy right now? In 1961, the US astrophysicist Frank Drake, who passed away on Sept. 2 at the age of 92, came up with an equation to estimate this.

The Drake equation, dating from a stage in his career when he was "too naive to be nervous" (as he later put it), has become famous and bears his name.

This places Drake in the company of towering physicists with equations named after them including James Clerk Maxwell and Erwin Schrödinger.

Unlike those, Drake's equation does not encapsulate a law of nature.

Instead it combines some poorly known probabilities into an informed estimate.

Whatever reasonable values you feed into the equation, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that we shouldn't be alone in the galaxy.

Drake remained a proponent and a supporter of the search for extraterrestrial life throughout his days, but has his equation really taught us anything?


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Post by Dragon Sat Sep 24, 2022 3:10 am

Within the limits of our existing technology, any practical search for distant intelligent life must necessarily be a search for some manifestation of a distant technology.

After about 50 years, the Drake equation is still of seminal importance because it is a 'road map' of what we need to learn in order to solve this fundamental existential question.

It also formed the backbone of astrobiology as a science; although speculation is entertained to give context, astrobiology concerns itself primarily with hypotheses that fit firmly into existing scientific theories.

Some 50 years of SETI have failed to find anything, even though radio telescopes, receiver techniques, and computational abilities have improved significantly since the early 1960s.

It has, however, been discovered that our galaxy is not teeming with very powerful alien transmitters continuously broadcasting near the 21 cm wavelength of the hydrogen frequency; this was not known in 1961.


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Post by Dragon Sat Sep 24, 2022 3:12 am

The Drake equation for alien intelligence is more important than ever 392px-C_G-K_-_DSC_0421
By Colby Gutierrez-Kraybill

Closeup front view of one antenna of the Allan Telescope Array, a radio telescope for combined radio astronomy and SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) research being built by the University of California at Berkeley, outside San Francisco.

The first phase, consisting of 42 6 meter dish antennas like the one shown here, was completed in 2007. Eventually it will have 350 antennas. This type of antenna is called an offset Gregorian design.

The incoming radio waves are reflected by the large parabolic dish onto a secondary concave parabolic reflector in front of the dish, and then into a feed horn.

A metal shroud can be seen along the bottom of the secondary reflector which shields the antenna from ground noise. It covers the frequency range from 0.5 to 11.2 GHz.


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Post by Dragon Sat Sep 24, 2022 3:15 am



The Allen Telescope Array at the Hat Creek Radio Observatory


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