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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2004 > Mar > Mar 1

Drake Illuminates Audience On ET Possibilities

From: Frank Warren <frank-warren.nul>
Date: Mon, 01 Mar 2004 10:47:14 -0800
Fwd Date: Mon, 01 Mar 2004 14:59:36 -0500
Subject: Drake Illuminates Audience On ET Possibilities

Source: Wisconsin Technology Network


Alien Expert Illuminates Audience on Extraterrestrial

Leif Griffin, 03/01/04

MADISON - Some of extraterrestrial expert Frank Drakeís beliefs
may leave people wondering whether or not he has asteroids for
brains. Speaking to an audience of 300 at the University of
Wisconsin-Madison Feb. 19, Drake, director of the Search for
Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute in Mountain View,
Calif., explained the reasons why he believes intelligent life
exists in the universe and highlighted potential methods of
communicating with far-off civilizations.

"I think all of us who are well-read at all, or know anything
about the universe, have at some time realized that it could
well be that there are other intelligent beings in space," Drake
said. "Many of them could be more advanced, more sophisticated
and with more of a history. It would be fascinating just to find
out what they are like."

He emphasized the importance of persistence and repetition in
the search for extraterrestrial life.

"Detecting alien life is like winning the lottery, and to win
any lottery we have to make many, many bets," Drake said.

Luckily, Drake asserted, there are also many, many solar systems
that are that are capable of incubating civilizations. Of the
estimated 400 billion stars in the Milky Way, 10 percent are
similar to our solar system and are able to support life, Drake
said. Furthermore, it is only certain that 40 billion stars are
unable to support life due to their relatively brief existence
and rapid resource exhaustion. According to Drake, the remaining
80 percent of stars in the Milky Way are smaller than our sun
but may prove just as useful in the quest for life.

"For a while scientists thought [the less massive stars] were
not suitable for life, but now it appears they too could be
abodes for life, and even perhaps better ones than the stars
that are like the sun," he said.

The potential provided by myriad life-supporting stars bodes
well for the discovery of intelligent life and Drake discussed
methods of communication required to detect extraterrestrial

"We have the means, if we work very hard, to detect intelligent
life, and get access to all of the wondrous things they can
provide us with," Drake said.

Utilizing rockets to make contact with extraterrestrial life
would be costly and a doomed venture because of the distance,
Drake said, so the best method of detecting alien civilizations
is through electromagnetic messaging. According to Drake, it is
possible to send a 60-second telegram at the speed of light to
the far side of the galaxy for only a dollarís worth of energy.
The conventional method of powering a space shuttle to complete
the same task would take around 500,000 yearís worth of energy.

Drake also briefly discussed his famous equation, Drakeís
Equation, and its implications. Drake created the seven-factor
equation in 1951 to estimate the number of alien civilizations
in the Milky Way. Using those factors, which account for the
rate of star formation and civilization life span, Drake
estimated there are at least 10,000 such civilizations in the
Milky Way.

Phillip Morrison, emeritus professor at the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, wrote of Drakeís Equation: "Next to
Einsteinís equation, it is the most recognized equation in

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