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The Drake Equation primarily allows scientists to quantify the uncertainty of the factors which determine the number of “intelligent” extraterrestrial civilizations contained in our galaxy.
The Drake equation states that:
N = R* X fp X ne X fℓ X fi X fc X L
N : number of civilizations in our galaxy with which communication might be possible.
R* : yearly average rate of star formation in our galaxy
fp : fraction of those stars that have orbiting planets
ne : average number of planets (or moons) that can potentially support life per star with planets
fℓ : p fraction of the above that actually proceed to develop life
fi : fraction of the above that actually go on to develop intelligent life
fc : fraction of civilizations that are able to transmit detectable signals into space
L : length of time civilizations are able to release signals into space
Great Drake Equation Links
The Galaxy is Getting Crowded: What Does the Drake Equation Say About Kepler’s Discoveries?