In order to estimate the number of extraterrestrial civilizations capable of communicating within our Galaxy – the Milky Way – the astronomers use a mathematical formula called Drake equation e. The name comes from Frank Drake, the US astronomer and astrophysicist who first issued it.
In the game we are proposing – realized with Scratch – you can estimate the number of intelligent civilizations in our Galaxy by using a simplified version of this formula. The original formula contains seven terms, whereas here we only have three terms:
- A: number of planets for each star
- B: fraction of planets in which there are suitable conditions for life
- C: fraction of planets with suitable conditions for life, in which life actually developped.
With these three terms, knowing that there are about 100 billions stars in the Milky Way, the number of intelligent civilizations given by the product A*B*C*100 billions!
After choosing the value of each term, you will be shown the image of a Galaxy, similar to our own, with highlighted in red the stars which host planets with forms of life. In the hypothesis that all civilizations emit a radio signal to communicate, a sound representing them is reproduced.
In order to play, click here!
You’ll see that it will open in your browser, at the homepage of Mit (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Click on the green flag, then go forward and click on the the purple arrow. Click on the grey circles in order to choose a value for each term. Have fun… careful not to jump on your chair as you hear the “radio signals” all together!