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New 'Drake Equation' for Alien Habitats

 
BOWMAN
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09/18/2009 05:47 PM
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New 'Drake Equation' for Alien Habitats
New 'Drake Equation' for Alien Habitats
Thursday, 17 September 2009


by Heather Catchpole

SYDNEY: A mathematical equation that counts habitats suitable for alien life could complement the Drake equation, which estimates the probability of finding intelligent alien beings elsewhere in the galaxy.

That equation, developed in 1960 by U.S. astronomer Frank Drake, estimates the probability of intelligent life existing elsewhere in our galaxy by considering the number of stars with planets that could support life (see "Are we alone?").

The new equation, under development by planetary scientists at the Open University in Milton Keynes, England, aims to develop a single index for habitability based on the presence of energy, solvents such as water, raw materials like carbon and whether or not there are benign environmental conditions.

Input of energy

The draft equation will be presented today at the European Planetary Science Congress in Potsdam, Germany, to garner feedback.

"At present, there is no easy way of directly comparing the suitability of different environments as a habitat for life," said planetary scientist Alex Hagermann, who led the research.

Currently, the experts are focussing on energy, which, in the form of visible and infrared light is important for photosynthesis, but can also come in forms that can harm life, such as UV light and X-rays.

"If you can imagine a planet with a thin atmosphere that lets through some of this harmful radiation, there must be a certain depth in the soil where the 'bad' radiation has been absorbed but the 'good' radiation can penetrate," said Hagermann.

Icy planetesimals

"We are looking to be able to define this optimal habitable region in a way that we can say that it is 'as habitable' or 'less habitable' than a desert in Morocco, for example," he said.

So far there has been some criticism of the approach. Astrobiologist and physicist Paul Davies, of the University of Arizona in Tuscon, said it was a "pointless exercise" as the equation refers only to life as we know it.

"The main thing omitted from the conventional Drake equation is the possibility of life inside icy planetesimals, most of which are rogue objects, untethered to stars. Such life is, however, most unlikely to be intelligent," he said.

Australian astrobiologist Malcolm Walter, with the University of New South Wales in Sydney, said in his opinion it was more important to focus on searching for Earth-like planets in other solar systems.

"The Drake equation is interesting in that it was Drake's view of how to get started in thinking about the possibility of industrialised civilisations in the rest of the universe," said Walter. "Going beyond that isn't particularly useful because there are so many uncertainties in the basic Drake equation itself."

Hagermann argued that it was important to approach the search for alien life from a theoretical as well as an experimental viewpoint, and that despite uncertainties about what sort of environment aliens might require, there were some things such as energy that are crucial to life.

"In one way or another, this is what our thinking with regard to habitability is like: constrained by our limited experience of "life as we know it". In our framework we would like to be able to question those assumptions," he said.



[link to www.cosmosmagazine.com]


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The Random Number

User ID: 799108
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10/21/2009 08:46 PM
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Re: New 'Drake Equation' for Alien Habitats
bump
Jezz, I can't believe I missed this when you posted it!
Excellent, Drakes is like only my favourite equation ever.
hf
EVERYTHING IS TOTALLY NORMAL!
BOWMAN (OP)

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10/24/2009 11:10 AM
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Re: New 'Drake Equation' for Alien Habitats
bump
Jezz, I can't believe I missed this when you posted it!
Excellent, Drakes is like only my favourite equation ever.
hf
 Quoting: The Random Number



Hey anytime.

Yeah, it's something that will need to evolve as our understading of the universe grows.


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Anonymous Coward
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10/24/2009 11:12 AM
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Re: New 'Drake Equation' for Alien Habitats
What's the equation for aliens living among us?
BOWMAN (OP)

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10/24/2009 11:19 AM
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Re: New 'Drake Equation' for Alien Habitats
What's the equation for aliens living among us?
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 795404



I don't think that other meat puppets like ourselves would actually build metalic ship's and make a conventional trip to come here and see us.

The time and distances invovled simply make this kind of exploration horribly inefficient.

What the real truth of the matter I think is, is that there is another plane of reality that is connected to the one we experience. We just don't have the sensory apparatus to perceive of it, yet.

In this other plane, time and distance is not a limiting factor at all.


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Last Edited by halman on 10/24/2009 11:20 AM
Anonymous Coward
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10/24/2009 11:20 AM
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Re: New 'Drake Equation' for Alien Habitats
Yes, OP, and imagine that life started out on planets similar to our own, i.e., dinosaurs. Had the meteor have not struck earth 65 million years ago, then it's likely that dinosaurs would have continued to thrive and evolve into intelligent, upright, bipedal beings similar to humans, except distinctively reptilian in appearance. This may have actually happened on planets in other star systems, and maybe there is truth to these reports of people being abducted by, or encountering extra-terrestrial reptilian-humanoids?
Arctec

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10/24/2009 11:35 AM
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Re: New 'Drake Equation' for Alien Habitats
I don't think that other meat puppets like ourselves would actually build metalic ship's and make a conventional trip to come here and see us.

The time and distances invovled simply make this kind of exploration horribly inefficient.

What the real truth of the matter I think is, is that there is another plane of reality that is connected to the one we experience. We just don't have the sensory apparatus to perceive of it, yet.
In this other plane, time and distance is not a limiting factor at all.


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 Quoting: BOWMAN



Soon and hopefully we will be able to travell the stars!!!
BOWMAN (OP)

User ID: 800399
United States
10/24/2009 12:10 PM
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Re: New 'Drake Equation' for Alien Habitats
I don't think that other meat puppets like ourselves would actually build metalic ship's and make a conventional trip to come here and see us.

The time and distances invovled simply make this kind of exploration horribly inefficient.

What the real truth of the matter I think is, is that there is another plane of reality that is connected to the one we experience. We just don't have the sensory apparatus to perceive of it, yet.
In this other plane, time and distance is not a limiting factor at all.


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Soon and hopefully we will be able to travell the stars!!!
 Quoting: Arctec




Man, I just wonder what it is going to feel like. Will we still have the abiliy to emote like we do now?

How would this change effect human relationships?


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zacksavage
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10/24/2009 12:17 PM

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Re: New 'Drake Equation' for Alien Habitats
Yes, OP, and imagine that life started out on planets similar to our own, i.e., dinosaurs. Had the meteor have not struck earth 65 million years ago, then it's likely that dinosaurs would have continued to thrive and evolve into intelligent, upright, bipedal beings similar to humans, except distinctively reptilian in appearance. This may have actually happened on planets in other star systems, and maybe there is truth to these reports of people being abducted by, or encountering extra-terrestrial reptilian-humanoids?
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 801672


I see.



Z
In time we hate that which we often fear.

--- William Shakespeare
BOWMAN (OP)

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10/24/2009 12:28 PM
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Re: New 'Drake Equation' for Alien Habitats
Yes, OP, and imagine that life started out on planets similar to our own, i.e., dinosaurs. Had the meteor have not struck earth 65 million years ago, then it's likely that dinosaurs would have continued to thrive and evolve into intelligent, upright, bipedal beings similar to humans, except distinctively reptilian in appearance. This may have actually happened on planets in other star systems, and maybe there is truth to these reports of people being abducted by, or encountering extra-terrestrial reptilian-humanoids?


I see.



Z
 Quoting: zacksavage



Hey Zach.

Graduation is almost upon us!


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Anonymous Coward
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05/07/2011 07:22 AM
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Re: New 'Drake Equation' for Alien Habitats
Frankly, the Drake Equation tells us nothing about how many
aliens there are. It totally ignores interstellar travel,
migration, colonization, terraforming. It ignores all the
evidence that aliens are visiting.

A key term is the time a civilization lasts. We have no data
whatsoever on how long any civilization lasts...

It ignores the simple fact that technological progress comes
from doing things differently whether travel or communication.

One would think the fast rate of change over the past 100 years
in energy production, travel, communications would have taught
us something..Admittedly asronomers have had little to do with
any of these developments.
BOWMAN (OP)

User ID: 1403418
United States
01/07/2012 08:11 AM
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Re: New 'Drake Equation' for Alien Habitats
Frankly, the Drake Equation tells us nothing about how many
aliens there are. It totally ignores interstellar travel,
migration, colonization, terraforming. It ignores all the
evidence that aliens are visiting.

A key term is the time a civilization lasts. We have no data
whatsoever on how long any civilization lasts...

It ignores the simple fact that technological progress comes
from doing things differently whether travel or communication.

One would think the fast rate of change over the past 100 years
in energy production, travel, communications would have taught
us something..Admittedly asronomers have had little to do with
any of these developments.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 82347


I agree AC. As we discover more about the true nature of the reality of the universe, the further away we get from the 'reality' as painted by the Drake Equation.

thumbs


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