- Postulated means of calculating the number of civilisations in the galaxy by multiplying up variables like the number of stars, the percentage of these likely to have planets, the likelihood of life arising and continuing, etc. Thought up by US astronomer Frank Drake, the Drake Equation might be regarded as a triumph of mathematics over sanity, since most of the figures injected into it contain vast amounts of uncertainty and value judgment. If the assumptions on which it is based are sound the number of civilisations in our galaxy could be a few dozen. The Drake logic defines a civilisation as a planetary life form with the ability to communicate with others by radio – whales or dinosaurs would not qualify, but we would.
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