Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Drakes equation

  1. Aug 15, 2006 #1

    I am not sure if this is in the correct forum, please move if required. I know this equation is not really suited to this forum but i think a discussion about some of the Drake equations parameters are.

    First please see,


    If unsure of what Drakes equation is.

    Please disregard the fact that most/all of the values for the given parameters are unquantifiable. My interest in this is not so much the discussion that inteligent life may exist beyond Earth, but more towards the parameters Drake chose for his equation and whether you think any are misguided or just plain wrong!

    My questions in relation to this are,
    1) Do you think this equation misses out any parameters? if so what?

    2) Given that distance will be a major factor in any detection method, are there any current technical limits that restrict estimating the given parameters?

    3) If there is a missing parameter and its value was zero then the probability of life beyond Earth is also zero, can you think of anything that drake may have left out that would give a null value?

    4) If you could ask Drake one question about his equation what would it be?

    Thanks for your comments
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 15, 2006 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    I think Drake left a wholle world of paparmeters out of his equation partly because they are unanswerable or because he just couldn't imagine them.

    We do not know, all these decades after Drake wrote, what are the true boundaries of life or the actual parameterization of the totally unknown requirements for the rise of technology-using life. So the whole Drake effort to parametrize our ignorance looks to me like a mug's game.
  4. Aug 15, 2006 #3
    This is the crux of what i was considering, what parameters do you think he missed out?

    i think he missed out a parameter for the fraction of planetary systems with a stable planetary system.

    i.e no planetary migration.

    Is this even a consideration?
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook