Formula One: The Drake Equation


When it comes to contacting ET, SETI scientists do the math. They've been filling in values for the Drake Equation ever since 1961. That's when Frank Drake proposed his simple formula for estimating the number of communicating civilizations in the galaxy. It's one equation that everyone can understand.

We'll talk about the current best estimates for the terms in Drake's famous formulation - from the number of Earth-size planets to the life expectancy of advanced civilizations. Also, with all this number crunching, why haven't we yet heard from ET?


  • Frank Drake - Director, Carl Sagan Center, SETI Institute
  • Charley Lineweaver - Astrobiologist at the Australian National University
  • Lori Marino - Behavioral Biologist at Emory University
  • J. Richard Gott - Physicist at Princeton University
  • Natalie Batalha - Professor of Physics and Astronomy, San Jose State University, and science team member, Kepler Mission