Tag Archives: Life in Outer Space

Life in Outer Space – A Mathematical Approach

Milky Way Galaxy
Photo by Arnaud Mariat on Unsplash

Is There Really Intelligent Life Out There?

One of our previous articles discussed the minerals of Star Trek, giving rise to the hope that there is extraterrestrial life out there, but the real discussion about ET’s existence is a loaded subject. 

For this article, we are going to focus on what the mathematical formulas tell us. The ones developed by astrophysicists; in other words, what are the odds that there really is intelligent life on other planets?

As difficult it is to comprehend that the sun fuses hydrogen and helium resulting in the power of 100 billion atomic bombs every time second, we need to go even further and try to comprehend the immense size of our universe.

It is estimated that there is an average of 1 – 2 billion stars in any recorded galaxy and there are over 2 trillion galaxies in the universe. If 10% of each galaxy contains a solar system, that is, it contains a star with planets revolving around it, then we can estimate that each galaxy has between 100 – 200 million solar systems. If 1% of the stars in each solar system has a planet just distant enough from their sun where life could evolve, we could have 1 – 2 million possible planets that could contain life. And if 1% of these planets have the right ‘ingredients’ to build intelligent life. then there is the possibility that there exist 10,000 stars that could have planets with intelligent life in each galaxy.

Cutting the odds even further, let’s take 10% of this result, which would equate to the possibility of 1,000 stars with intelligent life in each galaxy.

That would mean that there could exist 1,000 x 100,000,000,000,000 (galaxies) = 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 (1 Quadrillion) planets with intelligent life. How many is that? Take a look at this numerical comparison.

If we use the estimate of 200,000,000 galaxies in the universe, well, that would mean ET lives in over 2 quadrillion planets in our universe.

Don’t even try to comprehend how many fusion reactions occur in the universe every second. Fuhgeddaboudit!

What About the Scientific Formulas?

The above calculations were based on a general assumption, but have the experts really gave this serious thought? Of course!

American astronomer and astrophysicist Dr. Frank Drake developed a formula that he presented at a meeting in Virginia in 1961 and it is called the Drake Equation, which calculates the possibilities of life on other worlds within our own Milky Way galaxy.

Drake Equation
Nasa Photo

We won’t go into the particulars, but in a general sense, it is based on calculating our assumptions above but uses trigonometry to formulate a much more explicit and precise determination of ET’s existence. For you science and math connoisseurs, feel free to give it a shot!

Just maybe Men in Black had it right!