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SETI Radio Searches

One faint signal from light-years away could prove we're not alone in the vastness of space -- and alter humanity's view of our place in the 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.

The Planetary Society's Southern SETI is the most sustained SETI search in the southern hemisphere. This is particularly significant because the most star-rich region of our galaxy -- its center -- is only marginally observable from the northern hemisphere, but clearly visible south of the equator.

With two 30-meter dishes at the Argentine Institute of Radio Astronomy, Southern SETI targets the very heart of the Milky Way. If aliens are hailing us from any of the billions of stars in that region, Southern SETI will be the first to know.

Our Southern SETI project is due for an upgrade after nearly two decades of operation. This includes a new "backend" to the system to increase bandwidth -- and coverage -- by 30 times. The upgrade will also make the system portable to make it easier to test different observational strategies, even on other telescopes at other wavelengths.

These program improvements will greatly increase our chances of contact, enabling Southern SETI to listen even more closely for that signal from the stars for many years to come.

From its inception to this day, The Planetary Society has supported the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. From "Suitcase SETI" in the early 1980s, to the Harvard-based Project META and its successor Project BETA, we have searched the skies for alien signals. In 1996, we became the founding sponsor of SETI@home, the project that brought the search for extraterrestrial intelligence into millions of homes, and we have also sponsored numerous short-term projects, such as the search for the origins of the "Wow!" signal.

We believe SETI represents one of the most thrilling exploratory efforts in human history: a quest to understand our true place in the galaxy. And we're committed to keeping vigilant watch.


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