Is There Anybody Out There? The Drake Formula & SETI
Everyone has always wanted an answer the question, Is there anybody out there? As our society grows and our technology advances, it seems more and more probable that were arent alone in the universe. Many astronomers have tried to answer different aspects of this question. First there was Dr. Frank Drake who, in 1961,wrote an equation to estimate the number of civilizations in our galaxy that would be able to contact each other. This formula has become known as the Drake Formula:
N = R* × fp × ne × fl × fi × fc × L
The Drake Formula requires one to answer many questions, and make a lot of assumptions in order to calculate an actual probability of the existence of intelligent life. Since there is such tremendous guesswork involved, the real importance of this formula is found in just thinking about the questions that each variable raises. The more that we learn about our universe will enable us to make more educated guesses and perhaps one day have enough information to calculate a realistic probability.
Research the current formula and explain the variables in the current formula. Than research any new developments in the theory. Cite all sources. 1-2 pages.
You may watch one of the following astronomy-related films or series, one that you have not seen previously. Afterward, discuss in a one to two page write-up your reaction to the material presented in the film. You may propose alternative films that you find of interest, related to astronomy and space.
The Right Stuff (1983): The first U.S. astronauts were called the Mercury 7, seven men chosen out of many to be our vanguard in the conquest of space. As such, they have a historical significance few men have enjoyed, yet they are today almost forgotten.
The Dish (2000): The Parkes radio telescope dish in Australia played an unexpected role in the success of the 1969 manned Moon landing.
For All Mankind (1989): The moon landing made its mark on history not as a cry of American scientific dominance but, as in the famous words of Neil Armstrong, a giant leap for all mankind. This documentary is not just the footage of the Apollo 11 moon landing from take-off to touchdown; it inspires pride in what humanity as a whole has accomplished.
Apollo 13 (1995): When America lost interest in its manned space program, we lost something crucial to our vision.
Contact (1997): Do you think there are people on other planets? If it's just us, it would be an awful waste of space.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968): A philosophical statement about man's place in the Universe ... it is time to move on to the next step, to know that we live not on a planet but among the stars, and that we are not flesh but intelligence.
Gravity (2013): A gripping adventure about astronauts coping with an orbital disaster.