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The Drake Equation Simplified for Kids

by Kenny Hoeschen
The Drake Equation Simplified for Kidszoom in

The Drake Equation is one method of estimating the number of detectable civilizations that might exist in the Milky Way galaxy. Originally put forth by astronomer Frank Drake, the equation involves seven factors: The rate of star formation per year in the galaxy (R), the percentage of stars that form planets (fp), the average number of planets for each star that has planets with conditions suitable for life (ne), the percentage of those planets on which life occurs (fl), the percentage of those planets where intelligence develops (fi), the percentage of species that produce interstellar communications (fc), and the average lifetime of a communicating civilization (L).

We previously wrote about an interactive version of The Drake Equation that allows the user to change the variables and see how the outcomes are affected. Now we have an infographic that explains the Equation in a way this is easier for kids ages 10-14 to understand. The full-size PDF of this infographic is available here.

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