Billions and Billions: Intelligent Life in the Galaxy

One prominent number in the Drake equation seems to have been filled in. I looks like there might be several billion potentially habitable planets in our galaxy.

Of course the last three variables are still pretty unconstrained (probability of life becoming intelligent, fraction developing appropriate technology, working lifetime of such a civilization), and we only have plausibility arguments for the fourth from last (probability of life developing on a potentially habitable planet).

Still, if we last long enough, there might be interesting planets out there.


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