Calculating the distance from Earth to the nearest alien civilization

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Offline blue_c

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I was wondering if it is possible, if you calculate how many alien civilizations there are in the Milky Way, if you than also could calculate the distance to the nearest alien civilization.
Put the number of alien civilizations and place them sort of "randomly" in the Milky Way and than see where the nearest alien civilization could be from Earth.


Offline RD

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How long is a piece of string ? ...

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The Drake equation has been used by both optimists and pessimists with wildly differing results. Carl Sagan, using optimistic numbers, suggested as many as one million communicating civilizations in the Milky Way in 1966, though he later suggested that the actual number could be far smaller. Frank Tipler and John D Barrow used pessimistic numbers and concluded that the average number of civilizations in a galaxy is much less than one. Frank Drake himself has commented that the Drake equation is unlikely to settle the Fermi paradox; instead it is just a way of "organizing our ignorance" on the subject