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Can we use these dangerous phenomena to predict where life can't exist?

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    $\begingroup$ The Drake Equation doesn't explicitly consider anything that detailed. But you are free to use things like that in attempting to estimate some of its terms e.g., fractions of life-supporting planets that develop life, or fraction of the latter where life develops intelligence. $\endgroup$ May 12, 2023 at 10:44
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    $\begingroup$ The Drake equation, as it currently stands, was never meant to be a definitive equation. It was meant to be used as a discussion point for a conference that Drake was attending. $\endgroup$
    – Fred
    May 13, 2023 at 6:01
  • $\begingroup$ Comments are for comments and answers are where answers go... $\endgroup$
    – ProfRob
    May 13, 2023 at 13:06

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The Drake equation is a rough steady state model of the number of civilizations that can communicate at a typical time. There is no spatial model: it assumes an average over a large galaxy, so it will not tell you anything about where life may not exist. The way the danger shows up in the equation is the last term, how long a civilization remains able to communicate, and in the life/intelligence terms (a dangerous universe has low values for them).

You could imagine running the equation for local volumes with different parameters, but setting these parameters to depend on e.g. local supernova rate is most of the work anyway. It would only be a meaningful exercise if you think there are predictable patterns for how different terms change across space.

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Does the Drake equation consider how far a planet must be from gamma ray bursters, black holes supernovae etc for life to survive?

It never explictly says anything about it.

Can we use these dangerous phenomena to predict where life can't exist?

Not with the Drake equation. But absoultely. For example, we know for a fact no life could exist within the event horizon of a black hole (if it did it would be "sucked in" very quickly)

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We don't have a quantifiable definition for "life". All we generally say is that e.g. it's possible liquid water could exist in a region, but we can't even necessarily say that liquid water actually does exist there or that life (as we know it) would inevitably develop as a result. We cannot say that life would or would not exist in other conditions without liquid water.

You can probably rule out life (again as we know it) existing in close proximity to certain objects, but even this isn't definitive because we don't have a definition of life that makes this certain.

The Drake equation is just a "back of the envelope" toy for discussion purposes. It should not be taken as the basis for predicting life beyond that extremely limited purpose.

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