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California Institute of Technology, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Santiago High School are updating the famous Drake Equation (1961):


Over the span of human history, many have wondered if life exists on other planets—intelligent or otherwise. As new tools have been applied to the question, many space scientists have become convinced that the likelihood of extraterrestrial civilizations developing seems more probable than not given all that has been learned. As other exoplanet systems have been found, many circling stars very similar to our sun, it has become difficult to find anything unique about our own planet to justify a belief that Earth alone ever produced life. In this new effort, the researchers have expanded on research done by Frank Drake back in 1961. He and his colleagues developed an equation (now known as the Drake equation) to calculate the odds of the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations—given all that was known about space and astronomical objects back then. The researchers factored in such variables as the number of believed exoplanets and star systems and how many of them were likely to be capable of supporting life.


Bob Yirka, “An updated way to calculate the likelihood of the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations” at Phys.org (December 22, 2020)
Here’s the open access paper.


The universe appears fine-tuned for life to a dramatic degree: “The universe’s expansion speed is said to be just right for life, the Higgs boson seems to be fine-tuned, and Earth has a “unique” iron signature, just as a few examples.”


Perhaps we should just as much wonder if there isn’t life out there than if there is.

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