Are there really 36 alien civilizations out there? Well, maybe.

Jun 17, 2020
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I wrote an essay several years ago titled “SETI’s Mission Impossible.” I argue that the complexity of any extraterrestrial life form that could evolve to the point that it could produce radio signals which could be detected by radio telescopes on Earth is virtually impossible. Using human beings as a proxy, I challenged the famous Drake Equation used to estimate the likelihood of civilizations on other planets with capabilities similar to ours – that is to the point where they could send out radio waves. As opposed to the Drake Equation’s seven variables, I identified 57, but used only 40, which are assumed to be sequential and thereby calculated as a factorial. The end result for succession of 40 conditions in order for life like ours to exist on another planet would be 40!, which is 8.16^47. That is to say, the chances of another alien civilization like ours is a little under one in 8.16 trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion. So, clearly, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence is all but impossible.

For those who might be interested in this essay, see