New Study Claims the Milky Way Could Contain 100 Million Planets with Complex Life

It's basically the Drake Equation with more variables.

Recommended Videos

In 1961, Frank Drake set out his formula for estimating the number of intelligent civilizations in our galaxy. A new study from the University of Texas at El Paso looks to improve on Drake’s estimate by studying data from more than 1,000 exoplanets for a number of factors, and the number they came up with is enormous.

The new study was authored by Louis Irwin and ranks the exoplanets with a “biological complexity index,” a number the researchers assigned by looking at parameters like the exoplanets’ distance from their star, temperature, density, age, and chemistry. All the factors of the “biological complexity index” are ones thought key to a planet supporting life.

Only 1% to 2% of the exoplanets looked at in the study scored a high enough “biological complexity index” to be good candidates for complex life. That seems like a low result, but when applied to the vastness of space it’s still huge.

If there are estimated 10 billion stars in the Milky Way, and each star has at least one planet, then that means 100 million planets could score a “biological complexity index” score high enough to make them likely to support life.

(via Universe Today, image via Gary Turner)

Meanwhile in related links


The Mary Sue is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more about our Affiliate Policy
related content
Read Article Yesterday’s Eclipse Jokes Were Pure Fire
The sun with a face of a baby inside it from Teletubbies
The sun with a face of a baby inside it from Teletubbies
The sun with a face of a baby inside it from Teletubbies
Read Article So You Think the World Is Going to End Because of the Eclipse …
Steve Rogers meme
Steve Rogers meme
Steve Rogers meme
Read Article So About You Going Blind If You Stare at a Solar Eclipse …
the singers with seymour in little shop of horrors looking at plants
the singers with seymour in little shop of horrors looking at plants
the singers with seymour in little shop of horrors looking at plants
Read Article Here’s What We Know About Why a Lunar Halo Appears
The moon, behind a telescope.
The moon, behind a telescope.
The moon, behind a telescope.
Read Article What Is Red Lightning? The Impressive, Elusive Phenomenon, Explained
A crack of red lightning against a black background.
A crack of red lightning against a black background.
A crack of red lightning against a black background.
Related Content
Read Article Yesterday’s Eclipse Jokes Were Pure Fire
The sun with a face of a baby inside it from Teletubbies
Read Article So You Think the World Is Going to End Because of the Eclipse …
Steve Rogers meme
Read Article So About You Going Blind If You Stare at a Solar Eclipse …
the singers with seymour in little shop of horrors looking at plants
Read Article Here’s What We Know About Why a Lunar Halo Appears
The moon, behind a telescope.
Read Article What Is Red Lightning? The Impressive, Elusive Phenomenon, Explained
A crack of red lightning against a black background.
Author
Glen Tickle
Glen is a comedian, writer, husband, and father. He won his third-grade science fair and is a former preschool science teacher, which is a real job.