An anonymous reader writes 'A mathematical equation that counts habitats suitable for alien life could complement the Drake equation, which estimates the probability of finding intelligent alien beings elsewhere in the galaxy. That equation, developed in 1960 by US astronomer Frank Drake, estimates the probability of intelligent life existing elsewhere in our galaxy by considering the number of stars with planets that could support life. The new equation, under development by planetary scientists at the Open University in Milton Keynes, England, aims to develop a single index for habitability based on the presence of energy, solvents such as water, raw materials like carbon, and whether or not there are benign environmental conditions.'
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