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SETI

At the core of our explorations is the quest to know if life exists beyond Earth. The Planetary Society is a leader in the search for life on other worlds, whether intelligent or microbial. Our active projects: SETI Optical Telescope - Looking for laser signals beamed across the vastness of space. SETI Radio Searches - Huge radio dishes sift through nature's random noise for beacons from other civilizations.

SETI Projects

Optical SETI

In 2006, The Planetary Society unveiled the first All-Sky Optical SETI (OSETI) telescope. Funded by The Planetary Society and operated by a Harvard University team, it's completely dedicated to capturing that one pulse of light that might be a communication.

SETI Radio Searches

One faint signal from light-years away could prove we're not alone in this universe. The Planetary Society is committed to finding that signal -- tirelessly surveying the skies with our Southern SETI project and our Optical SETI Telescope. You can be a part of these projects and help us keep the search going.

[email protected]

[email protected] is the most successful public participation science project in history, and it is dedicated to searching for a signal from the stars. The Planetary Society made it all possible.

Project Updates

Doing SETI Better by Understanding Ourselves

Jason Wright • October 06, 2017

One of the reasons SETI is hard is that we don’t know exactly what we are looking for, and part of that difficulty is that we still aren’t sure of who we are. An astronomer and an anthropologist team up to explore how cultural myopia shape what we can find in the cosmos.

Let’s be careful about this “SETI” signal

Franck Marchis • August 30, 2016

Several readers have contacted me recently about reports that a group of international astronomers have detected a strong signal coming from a distant star that could be a sign of a high-technology civilization. Here’s my reaction: it’s interesting, but it’s definitely not the sign of an alien civilization—at least not yet.

Back on the Rails with OSETI

Bruce Betts • August 28, 2014

The Planetary Society sponsored all-sky optical SETI search at Harvard University went off the rails, telescope roof rails that is, but it is back on track and hunting the sky for ET.

Intro Astronomy 2014. Class 13: Galaxies, the Universe, Life

Bruce Betts • May 08, 2014

Discover the Universe including the Big Bang, dark matter, dark energy, galaxies, life and more in this video of class 13 of Bruce Betts' Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy class.

Cosmos with Cosmos Episode 12: Encyclopedia Galactica

Casey Dreier • February 05, 2014

Cosmos returns in fine form in its penultimate episode. Sagan explores the historical and scientific precedents for the search for extraterrestrial life (SETI) and our human desires to not be alone in the universe.

Planetary Radio: Looking for Intelligence in a Flash

Mat Kaplan • November 05, 2013

An update on the Planetary Society's improved Optical SETI search, with Harvard's Paul Horowitz and Curtis Mead.

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