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New numerical determination of habitability in the Galaxy: the SETI connection

  • Rodrigo Ramirez (a1), Marco A. Gómez-Muñoz (a1) (a2), Roberto Vázquez (a1) and Patricia G. Núñez (a2)

In this paper, we determine the habitability of Sun-like stars in the Galaxy using Monte Carlo simulations, which are guided by the factors of the Drake Equation for the considerations on the astrophysical and biological parameters needed to generate and maintain life on a planet's surface. We used a simple star distribution, initial mass function and star formation history to reproduce the properties and distribution of stars within the Galaxy. Using updated exoplanet data from the Kepler mission, we assign planets to some of the stars, and then follow the evolution of life on the planets that met the habitability criteria using two different civilization hypotheses. We predict that around 51% of Earth-like planets in the habitable zone (HZ) are inhabited by primitive life and 4% by technological life. We apply the results to the Kepler field of view, and predicted that there should be at least six Earth-like planets in the HZ, three of them inhabited by primitive life. According to our model, non-technological life is very common if there are the right conditions, but communicative civilizations are less likely to exist and detect. Nonetheless, we predict a considerable number of detectable civilizations within our Galaxy, making it worthwhile to keep searching.

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International Journal of Astrobiology
  • ISSN: 1473-5504
  • EISSN: 1475-3006
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