On The New York Times, Adam Frank says that for the longest time we questioned whether or not there were aliens out there; however, now that we know that "every star in the sky likely hosts at least one planet," even the worse case scenario still shows that "a trillion civilizations still would have appeared over the course of cosmic history." In other words, we may not know if there are aliens right now, but there's a good change that they definitely existed.
Or consider the average lifetime of a civilization. Humans have been using radio technology for only about 100 years. How much longer will our civilization last? A thousand more years? A hundred thousand more? Ten million more? If the average lifetime for a civilization is short, the galaxy is likely to be unpopulated most of the time. Once again, however, with only one example to draw from, it’s back to a battle between pessimists and optimists.
But our new planetary knowledge has removed some of the uncertainty from this debate. Three of the seven terms in Drake’s equation are now known. We know the number of stars born each year. We know that the percentage of stars hosting planets is about 100. And we also know that about 20 to 25 percent of those planets are in the right place for life to form. This puts us in a position, for the first time, to say something definitive about extraterrestrial civilizations — if we ask the right question.
|"Mir was simultaneously regarded as a resilient survivor and a derelict piece of junk."|
|Using Asteroids as Spaceship Filling Stations|
|"It's also possible there is life that's not carbon-based."|
|"Astronomers may be looking for alien life in all the wrong places."|
|"Jupiter matters. In fact, Jupiter is the hero of this story."|
|Termite-Inspired Autonomous Robotic Construction Crew|
|Unboxing a Factory Sealed IBM Compatible PC from 1988|
|“The release of methane from hydrate may be apocalyptic.”|
|The Unknown Reader|
|James Charles' Pop Culture Dollars|
|Reviewing Counterfeit Toys Made in China|
|"This very internationalism that contributed to the apocalyptic disaster that ended the Bronze Age."|
|“There was not only automation but where the suggestion that humans had any control [...] was absent too.”|
|"Most of what kids currently learn at school will probably be irrelevant by the time they are 40."|
|"Fossil fuel executives want to get a piece of the clean-energy business."|
|Pat the Zombie: A Cruel Adult Spoof of 'Pat the Bunny'|