Mat KaplanNov 05, 2013

Planetary Radio: Looking for Intelligence in a Flash

The All-Sky OSETI Search Gets Even Better

There was a good story on NPR this morning about the just published work indicating that one in five stars probably has an Earth-sized planet in its habitable zone.  The Morning Edition host introduced it by saying (roughly), "...there may be billions and billions of planets like Earth!  Well, maybe not that many."  Argh!  Yes, yes!  Billions and billions!  And that's something to celebrate.  And to explore. 

This week on Planetary Radio I visit with two such explorers.  Paul Horowitz and Curtis Mead are watching the entire sky every clear night.  The Planetary Society Optical SETI telescope, or "light collector," as Paul prefers to call it, is designed to catch a burst of laser light sent our way by some galactic neighbor.  There's much more to the story of how they do this, including a truly amazing detector designed by Curtis.  Listen to the show and read Bruce Betts' blog to learn more.  You'll learn why I'm so proud that the Society is behind this project.

As always, PlanRad is a multi-course feast.  If you follow Emily Lakdawalla, you know she stayed up late last night to watch the successful launch of India's Mars Orbiter Mission.  She shares some of what she has learned on the show.  NASA Administrator Charles Bolden made a pretty bold statement before a hearing in Washington.  Bill Nye shares his thoughts about it.  Regarding What's Up, do you wonder if Bruce Betts and I are really enjoying ourselves as much as it sounds?  We are, and this week's segment is a good example.  Clear skies!

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