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Blog Archive


Launching Cosmos 1 on a Soviet ICBM

Louis D. Friedman • May 25, 2005

The biggest reason that NASA—as well as other western space agencies—has not attempted a solar sail flight is that the cost of launching even a small spacecraft is so high that they are unwilling to carry out a mission with very modest goals.

IBM's World Community Grid: A New SETI@home-Inspired Venture

Amir Alexander • November 24, 2004

As SETI@home has demonstrated, untold millions around the world are ready and eager to donate their computer time for the advancement of knowledge and the benefit of humankind. The story of distributed computing is only just beginning.

Scientists from Different Fields Line Up to Join the BOINC Family

Amir Alexander • August 24, 2004

BOINC stands for the “Berkeley Online Infrastructure for Network Computing.” Its purpose is to spread the credo of distributed computing beyond SETI@home, by making it easy for researchers in all fields to launch their own projects, and tap into the enormous computing capacity of personal computers around the world.

Multi-Beam Receiver Promises New Vistas for SETI Research

Amir Alexander • August 04, 2004

Faster and more regular sky surveys, at an increased sensitivity and broader bandwidth, will push the boundaries of SETI to new and unexplored territories.

Pulses, Triplets, and Gaussians: Rescoring the Reobservations

Amir Alexander • May 17, 2004

It has been more than a year since the SETI@home crew spent a hectic week at Arecibo, pointing the giant radio telescope at some of SETI's most promising targets. Much of the data collected during the reobservations has since been repackaged as work units, and sent out to users around the world for analysis.

Updates from Past Recipients of the Shoemaker NEO Grants

Bruce Betts • April 16, 2004

Update as of March 24, 2004 2003 was a good year with 50,779 asteroid astrometric observations submitted, including known NEOs and the discovery of a new Aten-class object, 2003 UY12. Based upon the volume of astrometric observations submitted, observatory code 683 was the world's eighth most productive asteroid astrometry station.

New and Improved SETI@home will Form the Backbone of Distributed Computing Network

Amir Alexander • September 25, 2003

SETI@home and BOINC are gradually converging, and the benefits for both are substantial. While SETI@home enjoys the increased flexibility of the BOINC platform, it brings to BOINC something of inestimable value to a distributed computing project: millions of SETI@home users, willing to use their computers' processing power for the advancement of scientific research.

Analyzing the Reobservations

Amir Alexander • July 18, 2003

SETI@home chief scientist Dan Werthimer and his team went back to Arecibo to reobserve the most promising candidate signals detected by the project so far. Unlike most of the year, when SETI@home piggy-backs on the regular operations of the telescope, this time the Werthimer's crew had the full use of the resources of the giant dish.

Reobservations Report No. 8: Beyond the Countdown: SETI@home Makes Plans for the Future

Amir Alexander • March 27, 2003

SETI@home's Stellar Countdown has come to an end at the Arecibo Radio Observatory. All in all the Stellar countdown observed 227 promising locations in the sky. Within the next few weeks all the data collected and recorded will be processed by SETI@home users around to world.

Reobservations Report No. 7: On Last Day at Arecibo, SETI@home Turns to Distant Planetary System

Amir Alexander • March 24, 2003

After getting bumped off the telescope last week to make way for Solar flare observations, SETI@home Chief Scientist Dan Werthimer and his crew will spend 14 hours today observing the locations of SETI@home's most promising candidate signals, as well as a few other interesting locations.

Reobservations Report No. 6: Solar Intervention Postpones SETI@home Reobservations

Amir Alexander • March 19, 2003

SETI@home's plans to reobserve its most promising candidate signals were interrupted today by the unexpected intervention of a Solar flare.

Reobservations Report No. 5: First Observation Session Completed at Arecibo

Amir Alexander • March 18, 2003

The SETI@home team has completed the first of its three 8-hour observation session at Arecibo, designed to revisit the most promising candidate signals detected so far by SETI@home.

Reobservations Report No. 4: Results in Real Time

Amir Alexander • March 17, 2003

SETI@home scientists will have to wait for several weeks for the full analysis of the data collected during the reobservations. But even while the observations are going on at Arecibo, they will already have a good idea if they have found something significant.

Reobservations Report No. 3: Selecting the Finalist Candidates

Amir Alexander • March 14, 2003

For three successive days SETI@home will have use of the giant Arecibo radio telescope to revisit the most promising candidate signals detected since the project was launched in 1999. SETI@home Chief Scientist Dan Werthimer and his team put together a list of the "best" 200 locations in the sky where promising candidates have previously been detected.

Reobservations Report No. 2: Reobserving, Recording, and Reprocessing

Amir Alexander • March 12, 2003

For the first time during the reobservations, Werthimer and his crew will have use of another recorder. This is Arecibo's "radar" recorder, built for those occasions when the giant dish is used as a radar, bouncing electromagnetic signals off planets, moons, and asteroids.

Reobservations Report No. 1: Shifting Gears at Arecibo

Amir Alexander • March 10, 2003

In the next few days, SETI@home Chief Scientist Dan Werthimer, along with team members Eric Korpela and Paul Demorest, will head down to Arecibo in Puerto Rico. There, at the site of the largest radio telescope in the world, they will begin a new chapter in the short history of the project: the reobservation of SETI@home's most promising candidate signals.

SETI@home Listens to the Dying Gasps of Black Hole

Amir Alexander • November 05, 2001

If we were to listen to radio transmissions from space, we should be able to hear the dying gasps of black holes. As it turns out, we are listening, or at least the SETI@home receiver is. Perched above the giant Arecibo dish, it is systematically surveying a large portion of the sky, listening to the signals coming from space.

Updates from Past Recipients of the Shoemaker NEO Grants

Bruce Betts • March 20, 2001

Update as of March 20, 2001 I just wanted to express my appreciation again to The Planetary Society for the Shoemaker Grant. Apogee Instruments delivered the AP6Ep purchased with the grant on 9 March 2001. Critical mass on all of the other components associated with implementing the proposal was reached last week.

The Adventure of the Planets

Carl Sagan • December 01, 1980

Carl Sagan's argument for planetary exploration. First published in the first issue of The Planetary Report magazine.

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