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Could Be Millions of Planets with Intelligent Life in The Milky Way Alone

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posted on Aug, 14 2007 @ 04:56 PM
This is from a book I am reading by Bill Bryson, called: "A Short History of Nearly Everything."

I was contemplating this subject when someone in one of my other threads said it wasn't "proven" that there is intelligent life on any other planet in the universe except Earth. This, of course, is pretty egocentric thinking and not really intellectually sound.

According to Bryson:

Statistically, the probability that there are other thinking beings out there is good. Nobody knows how many stars there are in the Milky Way - estimates range from 100 billion or so to perhaps 400 billion - and the Milky Way is just one of 140 billion or so other galaxies, many of them even larger than ours. In the 1960s, a professor at Cornell named Frank Drake, excited by such whopping numbers, worked out a famous equation designed to calculate the chances of advanced life in the cosmos based on a series of diminishing probabilities.

Under Drake's equation you divide the number of stars in a selected portion of the universe by the number of stars that are likely to have planetary systems; divide that by the number of planetary systems that could theoretically support life; divide that by the number on which life, having arisen, advances to a state of intelligence; and so on. At each such division, the number shrinks colossally - yet even with the most conservative inputs the number of advanced civilizations just in the Milky Way always works out to be somewhere in the millions.

Conservatively, SOMEWHERE IN THE MILLIONS. That is just in the Milky Way. There are supposedly another 140 billion or so other galaxies. So, I think it is safe to say that there are billions of possible planets in the universe that could support intelligent life and the chances that that life is far more advanced than life on Earth is HUGE.

So, personally, I don't think there is any question that there are billions of possible planets that could be visiting us. Why? Who knows. Why did we go to the moon?

[edit on 14-8-2007 by Excitable_Boy]

posted on Aug, 14 2007 @ 05:07 PM
Re-post from a parallel thread:

Fascinating discussion – thank you for adding your insights and giving me and others different perspectives to ponder.

Like some here, I’ve done extensive research on this topic of extraterrestrial life, and while I personally believe in it, I admit we have no (public) empirical evidence of their existence. Nevertheless, I believe some of the logic presented can be used to validate a few of the OP’s premise.

I agree that some of Drake/Sagan assumptions for variables in their equation are perhaps a bit optimistic, superfluous even. In circumspect, there are alternative ways to think and logically, mathematically, reach a similar conclusion.

I implore everyone here (esp. E_Boy) to pick up a copy of the following book and read it. You’ll find yourself amazed and quoting from it often. This is a great addition to any library for those interested in this subject. The author does not rely on Drake’s equation, yet clearly lays out in lay terms an unambiguous, irrefutable case for it to be impossible that our planet alone harbors life in the universe.

Almost no math and no equations will distract you from the treatise and it is an enjoyable, captivating quick reading. You’ll have no trouble finishing the paperback in a few sessions. The basis for the author’s study is heavily grounded in mathematics, however, particularly the probability laws, such as the:
*Union of collection of independent events
*Sequential probability paradigm
*Information inspection paradox
*Panspermia hypothesis
*Increasing entropy in thermodynamics
*Chaotic probability distributions in deterministic and random systems

For those unfamiliar with these terms, don’t let them intimidate you – the book is very easy to grasp…

Probability 1, by Amir D. Aczel, Harcourt, Inc., ISBN: 0-15-601080-1 (pbk.)

This is a fun, entertaining read and may even alter your thinking a bit. There are a bunch of used copies available at Amazon - only a dollar or two. See – now there’s no excuse to read it!

You can get it here, right now: Probability 1
Probability 1 should be a part of every library. I’ve shared it with many skeptics and believers alike. The result is always similar: “Wow – I had no idea it was so obvious…”

Intriguing Thread, Thanks - and keep looking up!

posted on Aug, 14 2007 @ 05:52 PM
The Drake Equation is, if you read carefully, only an estimation of the number of civilizations in our own galaxy which could attempt to communicate with us. By conservative estimates this computes out to less than a handful per galaxy.

More moderate estimations compute out to about 50

The Drake Equation:
(N = 40 × 0.5 × 0.5 × 1 × 0.1 × 0.1 × 500 = 50)

I don't know where you got your quote, but the scope that Drake intended was not cosmic. His estimate was for the Milky Way GALAXY (or a typical galaxy), not for the whole universe.

If you think about it, there really isn't much value in trying to estimate the prevalence of something in an entire Universe. The error factor is going to be, well, astronomical, when you're talking hundreds of billions of galaxies.

Though I applaud your courage for speculating so optimistically, I think you have to be careful applying emotional estimates to very large numbers, or to complex calculations.

Alter one or two of those terms above and you are rapidly down to one Type I civilization per galaxy. (We are about a Type 0.7 and can only listen passively).

I usually break it down like this:
Type I Civilization - one per ten galaxies - 20 billion per Universe??
Type II Civilization - one per Universe
Type III Civilization - one or less per Universe - Type III would be able to move about the Universe easily and would presumably have had time to colonize everywhere by now. Since we don't see evidence of this, it's unlikely there are any Type IIIs.

posted on Oct, 29 2007 @ 11:48 PM
reply to post by Excitable_Boy

Great post Excitable! Glad to see it.

Have you heard recently? NASA is going to admit that it is no longer a space exploration agency, but a defense agency!

They will announce this when they find ancient ruins on the moon in 2015. I will post a source when I find it..

posted on Oct, 30 2007 @ 12:25 AM
reply to post by StreetCorner Philosopher

why 2015? i thought the plan was to land on the moon again in 2020?

and i think NASA knows there are ruins and artifacts on the moon already.

posted on Oct, 30 2007 @ 01:33 AM
reply to post by StreetCorner Philosopher

NASA, a defense agency? Thats the first that I've heard about it but Im seriously interested in reading more about it.. Could you post some links for this, if you have any?
If not, ill google it tomorrow, im really to tired tonight.

I guess that I've always thought of the Air Force and the Navy as our primary space defense departments.

I remember the case of the Englishman that hacked into the DoD network and claimed that he found information of non-terrestrial officers, I though he mentioned something about the Navy in his story too..idk


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