Are humans alone in the universe?
The Drake Equation is an attempt to summarize the factors that determine humans’ ability to communicate with an extraterrestrial civilization. This is accomplished by providing a simple formula to calculate the number of civilizations in our Milky Way galaxy from which we potentially could receive a signal.
Shortly after humanity’s first search for an extraterrestrial radio signal (conducted in 1960 at Green Bank, West Virginia — a search known as “Project Ozma“1 ), the very first scientific conference on searching for extraterrestrial intelligence took place. Astronomer Frank Drake (who was behind Project Ozma) came up with a simple equation — now called “the Drake Equation” — to frame the agenda of that 1961 conference. …
- Project Ozma used the National Radio Observatory’s radio telescope at Green Bank, West Virginia to search for artificial radio signals (near the 21 cm wavelength, the wavelength of radiation emitted naturally by interstellar hydrogen and thus believed to be a universal frequency for communications from other intelligent civilizations) from the nearby Sun-like stars Tau Ceti and Epsilon Eridani. [↩]