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Life in the Universe

Could humans be the only intelligent beings in all the vastness of the universe? Or are we just one humble race, a member of a vast intergalactic fraternity of advanced civilizations? SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, is the scientific quest to answer these great unknowns. As of now all we have are questions, but we know the answers, when they come, could transform our world. Since the day it was formed in 1980, The Planetary Society has been there to support the search.

And what about other life? Is there -- or was there ever -- anything else alive in our solar system? Did microbes once spring to life in oases on early Mars, or around the undersea volcanic vents of Europa or Enceladus?  Could life have originated on Mars and been transported to Earth? We've never detected evidence for anything living elsewhere than our own fragile planet. Are we alone?

Planetary Society's Optical SETI Telescope Offers Online View of Night sky

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2007/10/30 12:00 CDT

The Planetary Society's Optical SETI Telescope was built solely to search for possible light signals from alien civilizations. Located at Oak Ridge Observatory in Harvard, Massachusetts, it is the first dedicated Optical SETI telescope in the world. Its 72-inch primary mirror also makes it larger than any optical telescope in the U.S. east of the Mississippi river.

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With Observations in Full Swing, Team Prepares to Remove "Sunglasses" from Telescope

Posted by Amir Alexander on 2007/02/26 11:00 CST

Winter time is observing time at the Oak Ridge Observatory in Massachusetts, when humidity is low and the sky is often clear. And so it has been for the Optical SETI telescope, which opened its doors in April 2006.

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Keeping an Ear to the Center of the Galaxy, Southern SETI Prepares for Great Leap Forward

Posted by Amir Alexander on 2007/02/26 11:00 CST

Located in the southern part of the continent of South America, Southern SETI has a continuous view of densest star-fields in our galaxy. And, since 1990, it has been sponsored and supported by The Planetary Society.

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Telescope Goes "Semi-Automatic"

Posted by Andrew Howard on 2006/10/20 12:00 CDT

Andrew Howard talks about the "semi-automated" nature of the observations from the Optical SETI telescope.

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With Multi-Beam Receiver, SETI@home Takes Giant Step Forward

Posted by Amir Alexander on 2006/08/14 12:00 CDT

In seven intense days spent at the radio telescope Chief scientist Dan Werthimer and his colleagues completely overhauled the way SETI data is gathered at Arecibo, and ensured that SETI@home will henceforth enjoy the benefits of gathering data with the most advanced equipment anywhere in the world.

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Telescope shows its Amazing Capabilities

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2006/07/11 12:00 CDT

During a few observation sessions in late April, the new Optical SETI Telescope was already demonstrating its amazing capabilities. Over three nights, the telescope completed 17 hours of observation, under the direction of Paul Horowitz and his team of Harvard graduate students. During that time, the telescope observed 1% of the sky, looking for the briefest flashes of light coming from outer space.

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Searching for E.T. and the Cure for Cancer:The Planetary Society Helps Trigger a Computing Revolution

Posted by Charlene Anderson and Amir Alexander on 2006/07/07 12:00 CDT

Planetary Society members truly have helped pioneer new techniques in the conduct of science. Our initial investment has returned amazing results that will continue to deliver benefits over years to come.

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The Planetary Society Optical SETI Telescope Opens

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2006/04/28 12:00 CDT

On April 11, 2006, a new era dawned in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) with the dedication and beginning of operations of The Planetary Society Optical SETI Telescope in Harvard, Massachusetts. It is the first devoted optical SETI telescope in the world. The telescope was constructed by Paul Horowitz and his group at Harvard University using funding from Planetary Society members.

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Analyzing Signals in Real Time

Posted by Amir Alexander on 2005/07/07 12:00 CDT

Candidate signals sent in by users around the world will be quickly analyzed and compared to existing signals.

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

Posted by Amir Alexander on 2004/11/24 11:00 CST

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.

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