The Drake equation has proven valuable in encouraging scientists to consider the prospect of extraterrestrial life. Its estimates regarding the number civilizations in the Milky Way vary widely, though, and they are also consistently challenged. Initially, Drake’s equation indicated at anywhere between 1,000 and 100 million alien civilizations existing within the galaxy, and yet subsequent results have suggested that we could be alone.
The true value of the Drake equation doesn’t, however, necessarily relate to the numbers that it throws up. Instead, it’s argued that the statement is important thanks to its capacity to stimulate speculative thought within astronomy. It helps those within the field to break down one enormous question into smaller and more manageable lines of enquiry.
The search for the existence of aliens – dependent as it is on advanced technology – is a relatively recent human endeavor. It began in the middle of the 20th century and continues to this day, with efforts having taken the form of both direct and indirect searches.