The whole thing reads like this:
This is entirely theoretical -- we have yet to find even one alien, let alone an alien civilization -- but the chance is always out there, especially mathematically so.
And, with all the Curiosity-generated interest in aliens at the moment, BBC created a fairly fun infographical calculator that people can play with to generate different answers to the Drake Equation with.
So you don't have to do all that multiplication, I suppose.
But it's great for imagining scenarios (there's even a skeptical analysis of the day up there), and you can plug in optimistic scenarios, pessimistic scenarios, and just fiddle with it. Though, at least at first glance, there doesn't really seem to be too many ways to drop the number of potential alien civilizations in the universe below 15,000. Which is kind of awesome.
All in all, it's a great way to spend time ignoring work.
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Rachel is the co-founder of How To Survive Alien Invasion Novels, and spends her time writing, studying, and reading what would probably be considered far too many books. Connect with her and Rusty on Twitter and Facebook, and click here to read more of her articles about alien theories and how to survive alien invasion novels.