Sunday, May 29, 2016

Week 9 - Space & Art

Space and media have always shared close ties to one another. The media seeks to fascinate its audience, and space already has that effect on people to begin with. Shows like Star Trek and Star Wars have spread the idea around that there could be other planets with life on them and we may one day have the technology to communicate with other planets or even turn our galaxy into a community of worlds that we can travel between. But with our currently overpopulated world with limited resources, this is a real topic of discussion for scientists and theorists alike.

Matt Damon in The Martian colonizing mars by planting potatoes
Movies like Interstellar and The Martian are centered around this predicament we are currently in and present outer space as a solution to this ever worsening problem. But how likely is finding another world that we could settle, establish a colony, and actually live on? 

N = R_{\ast} \cdot f_p \cdot n_e \cdot f_{\ell} \cdot f_i \cdot f_c \cdot L
Drake's Equation

A man by the name of Dr. Frank Drake decided to look into this life-long question that so many people have found themselves pondering, and created an equation to estimate the number of active extraterrestrial civilizations in the universe. His equation has seven parameters and includes any rationale from fraction of formed stars that have planets, to fraction of those planets that have developed life, to average rate of star formation in our galaxy. This is the closest theory that has been thought up which estimates the number of life sustaining planets. There are 10 million, million, million suns (10 to the 18th power), one in a million suns having planets around them, and one in a million million having the right combination of chemicals, temperature, water, and day cycles to support planetary life. With all of this data, Dr. Drake has estimated that there are around 100 million worlds in the universe where life can potentially exist. In the Milky Way alone, there is estimated to be about 10,000 worlds with life on it. This seems like a remarkable find, and if we are able to communicate with these other life forms or even colonize viable planets, this could be a major solution to our current population strain.
The Milky Way Galaxy

In a world where space is quickly running out and resources are beginning to dwindle, space exploration might be the next step in finding humans a new home. And Drake's equation might be one of the most important equations we as a species have discovered.


 Drake, Frank. "The Drake Equation." SETI Institute. 2016. Web. 29 May 2016.

Fox, Steve. "Nine Real NASA Technologies in 'The Martian'" NASA. NASA, 19 Aug. 2015. Web. 29 May 2016.

Harris, William. "What Are the Odds There Is Life in Outer Space?" HowStuffWorks., 11 Aug. 2008. Web. 29 May 2016.

Jarmer, Michael. "The-milky-way." Michael Jarmer. 08 Dec. 2015. Web. 29 May 2016.

Vesna, Victoria. "Space & Art." Desma 9 - Week 9. UCLA, Westwood. 29 May 2016. Lecture. 

1 comment:

  1. That was extremely fascinating. I know you wrote out how many millions, millions but even writing the number down seems to be a bit of work for me. I once heard the expression, "how vain we must be to believe we are the only living organisms in the entire solar system". Dr. Drake's equation really proves just that, how viable and true it must be that there are other organisms out there, probably trying to find us as well. I don't know if once finding a planet that can support life, should we inhabit or try to populate. I feel like our predicament at the moment is because we don't understand our limits and our limited resources, but that's a question for another day once science proves what Dr. Drake has already estimated.

    SIDE NOTE: I hope you are well after today's events, from one UC student to another, STAY STRONG AND GOOD LUCK ON FINALS.