A Stochastic Process Approach of the Drake Equation Parameters Article - Janvier 2012

Nicolas Glade, Pascal Ballet, Olivier Bastien

Nicolas Glade, Pascal Ballet, Olivier Bastien, « A Stochastic Process Approach of the Drake Equation Parameters  », International Journal of Astrobiology, janvier 2012, pp. 103-108. ISSN 1473-5504

Abstract

The number N of detectable (i.e. communicating) extraterrestrial civilizations in the Milky Way galaxy is usually calculated by using the Drake equation. This equation was established in 1961 by Frank Drake and was the first step to quantifying the Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence (SETI) field. Practically, this equation is rather a simple algebraic expression and its simplistic nature leaves it open to frequent re-expression. An additional problem of the Drake equation is the time-independence of its terms, which for example excludes the effects of the physico-chemical history of the galaxy. Recently, it has been demonstrated that the main shortcoming of the Drake equation is its lack of temporal structure, i.e., it fails to take into account various evolutionary processes. In particular, the Drake equation does not provides any error estimation about the measured quantity. Here, we propose a first treatment of these evolutionary aspects by constructing a simple stochastic process that will be able to provide both a temporal structure to the Drake equation (i.e. introduce time in the Drake formula in order to obtain something like N(t)) and a first standard error measure.

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