Our universe’s vastness and age has given alien intelligence ample space and time in which to arise. Why can we detect no sign of it? This is actually a momentous and scientifically serious question. Yes, really! With British astronomer Stephen Webb.
Tagged with “seti” (16)
50th anniversary of the equation that launched the search for ET.
Kevin Fong celebrates the anniversary of one of the most iconic equations ever written. The Drake Equation was created by Frank Drake some half a century ago in a bid to answer one of the most profound questions facing science and humanity: are we alone? Its creation launched a 50 year, genuine scientific endeavour to search for ET, known as SETI: The Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence. Kevin visits the SETI Institute in Northern California, to meet the great man himself, Frank Drake, and some of his scientific colleagues who have spent most of their working lives hunting for signs of alien life, out there in the cosmic ether.
We are one tool away from learning which distant planets already have life on them and which might be welcoming to life.
MIT Planetary Scientist Sara Seager is working on the tool. She is chair of the NASA team developing a “Starshade” that would allow a relatively rudimentary space telescope to observe Earth-size planets directly, which would yield atmospheric analysis, which would determine a planet’s life-worthiness.
Despite 1,000-plus exoplanet discoveries by the Kepler spacecraft and the hundreds more expected from the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite after 2017, neither instrument can make detailed observation of the atmosphere of small rocky planets, because each star’s brilliance overwhelms direct study of the rocky motes that might harbor life. A Starshade cures that.
A former MacArthur Fellow, Seager is author of Exoplanet Atmospheres (02010) and an astrophysics professor at MIT. Her maxim: “For exoplanets, anything is possible under the laws of physics and chemistry.”
This week it was revealed that astronomers are about to start the most intensive ever search for alien life. The Breakthrough Listen project will scan stars in 100 galaxies for radio and optical signatures that indicate someone, or something, is out there.
Until now, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence - or SETI - has been met with an eerie silence. What makes scientists so convinced it’s worthwhile looking for alien life?
What are the chances that we’ll find it? And should we consider beaming our own messages out into the cosmos?
Joining Hannah Devlin are astronomer Frank Drake; Professor Geoff Marcy and Dr Andrew Siemion, both from the University of California, Berkeley; and Dr Nick Lane, an evolutionary biochemist at University College London, whose work looks at how life started on Earth.
Dr. Jill Tarter holds the Bernard M. Oliver Chair for SETI Research at the SETI Institute in California. She has spent majority of her professional career attempting to determine whether we are alone in the universe, and among her other prior positions, she was the Project Scientist for NASA’s SETI program. In this interview, Dr. Tarter tells us about the latest in SETI research, including what we can expect the Square Kilometer Array to contribute to SETI.
"Someone described my office as an eight-year-old’s daydream," says astronomer Jill Tarter, who has been collecting E.T.-themed office ornaments for 30 years. Tarter was the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute’s first employee, and the inspiration for the character in Carl Sagan’s Contact.
As senior astronomer of the S.E.T.I. Institute in California tells Dick he has no doubt life exists in other parts of the universe, and believes scientists are getting closer to finding it â itâs just a matter of time.
Is intelligent life trying to communicate with us from space? Professor Paul Davies explores the potential and limits of research into the origin and evolution of life, and the search for life beyond Earth. Has ET maybe visited our planet ages ago and left us a message? At the Australian National University, Paul Davies discussed his latest book The Eerie Silence: Are We Alone in the Universe?
They’re heeeere! Yes, aliens are wreaking havoc and destruction throughout the land. But these aliens are Arizona beetles, and the land is in California, where the invasive insects are a serious problem.
And what of space-faring aliens? We have those too: how to find them, and how to protect our planet – and theirs.
From Hollywood to SETI’s hi-tech search for extraterrestrials, aliens are invading Are We Alone?
- Paul Davies – Physicist and author of The Eerie Silence: Renewing Our Search for Alien Intelligence
- Frank Drake- Senior Scientist, SETI Institute
- Andy Ihnatko – Journalist and tech blogger
- Margaret Race – Biologist and Principal Investigator at the SETI Institute
- Margaret McLean – Director of bioethics at the Markkula Center for Ethics, Santa Clara University
- Mark Hoddle – Biological Control Specialist at the University of California, Riverside
- Vanessa Lopez – Graduate student in entomology, University of California, Riverside
The SETI Institute’s Jill Tarter makes her TED Prize wish: to accelerate our search for cosmic company. Using a growing array of radio telescopes, she and her team listen for patterns that may be a sign of intelligence elsewhere in the universe.
SETI’s Jill Tarter has devoted her career to hunting for signs of sentient beings elsewhere, and almost all aspects of this field have been affected by her work.
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