Recognize that? It’s the Drake Equation–a formula that is used to estimate how many intelligent civilizations might exist in our own galaxy. It accounts for several variables such as the number of stars that have planets (fp) and how many of those planets might develop life (fl).
Of course it’s all speculation and we can only guess what each of those f’s and n’s are actually worth. People have used the formula to come up with anywhere from 0-182 million, (although we know the answer isn’t 0 thanks to us…unless…no wait, let’s not go there).
As a sci-fi/fantasy writer, the existence of 182 million alien civilizations is great news. It’s still great if the answer is only 2, because it means that there are whole new worlds out there waiting to be discovered, along with new species, perspectives, and story lines. And if the answer is 1, then we’ll have to start looking at the other 170 billion+ galaxies in the universe.
To infinity and beyond! Unless the aliens get to us first.