The Drake equation has proven valuable in encouraging scientists to consider the prospect of extraterrestrial life. Its actual estimates regarding the number civilizations in the Milky Way vary widely, and they are consistently challenged. Initially, Drake’s equation suggested anywhere between 1,000 and 100 million alien civilizations within the galaxy, though subsequent developments also submit that we could be alone.
The true value of the Drake equation, however, doesn’t relate to the numbers it produces. Instead, the statement is more useful in its ability to stimulate speculative thought within astronomy. It helps astronomers to break down an enormous question and to reach smaller conclusions in the process.
The search for the existence of aliens, dependent as it is on advanced technology, is a relatively recent endeavor of the human race. It began the middle of the 20th century and continues to this day, with efforts taking the form of both direct and indirect searches.