A stochastic process approach of the drake equation parameters
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 reexpression. An additional problem of the Drake equation is the timeindependence of its terms, which for example excludes the effects of the physicochemical 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.
 Publication:

International Journal of Astrobiology
 Pub Date:
 April 2012
 DOI:
 10.1017/S1473550411000413
 arXiv:
 arXiv:1112.1506
 Bibcode:
 2012IJAsB..11..103G
 Keywords:

 astrobiology;
 drake formula;
 Poisson processes;
 SETI;
 Astrophysics  Earth and Planetary Astrophysics
 EPrint:
 22 pages, 0 figures, 1 table, accepted for publication in the International Journal of Astrobiology