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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Posted by Amir Alexander on 2004/08/24 12:00 CDT
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.
Posted by Amir Alexander on 2004/08/04 12:00 CDT
Faster and more regular sky surveys, at an increased sensitivity and broader bandwidth, will push the boundaries of SETI to new and unexplored territories.
Posted by Amir Alexander on 2004/05/17 12:00 CDT
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.
Posted by Amir Alexander on 2003/09/25 12:00 CDT
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.
Posted by Amir Alexander on 2003/07/18 12:00 CDT
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.
The excitement is building! LightSail is counting down to our test launch, set for May 20—and you’re invited.