A speculative equation that gives an estimate of the likelihood of discovering intelligent extraterrestrial life in the galaxy, expressed as the product of a series of factors such as the number of stars, the fraction of stars with planets, the fraction of planets on which life evolves, the average lifetime of a civilization, etc. It was formulated by the US astronomer Frank Drake in 1961.
- He wrote an equation - now known as the Drake equation - to estimate how many alien races in our own galaxy might be trying to contact us.
- The other five include the Drake equation on the likelihood of us forming radio contact with extraterrestrial life, and Shannon's equations on information transmission.
- From an astronomical perspective, relevant factors for their existence have been identified, and the overall mathematical probability of finding them has been estimated by astronomer Frank Drake in what is known as the Drake equation.
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