Of those people that are serious about the prospect of finding extraterrestrial life the formalized approach is called SETI or the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. Among those involved in SETI, the Drake Equation, developed by Frank Drake in 1961 at the first SETI conference, is a key point of contention. The equation attempts to quantify the number of intelligence civilizations based on a number of parameters. The equation is debated for its components and applications among members of SETI and the greater scientific community. While many posit that we will never come close to making contact, there is still a greater number that believes we should try.

Key Takeaways:

  • SETI or the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence is a multi-national consortium of professionals and amateurs that engage in the discovery of alien life.
  • A key and controversial component of SETI’s approach is the use of the Drake Equation which quantifies the number of intelligent civilizations.
  • While the Drake Equation is mere speculation and serves little practical value, it is important to members of SETI as an impetus to start looking rather than waiting for contact.

“Frank Drake presented the equation in 1961 at what may have been the first formal SETI conference at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in West Virginia.”

Read more: http://nautil.us/issue/80/aliens/what-are-the-odds-of-alien-contact

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