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SETI Archive

    The Kepler Space Observatory

    Scientists Crying Wolf About Aliens

    Last week, citizen-scientist astronomers combing through data provided by the Kelper Space Observatory, identified what has been called “alien megastructures” orbiting a distant star called KIC 8462852.  News outlets everywhere exploded with speculation and wonderment, printing and reprinting the same vague soundbites and out-of-context quotes, to the…


    14.04 – MU Podcast

    Best selling author Robert Kurson joins us this week to discuss his new book Pirate Hunters, a new adventure of danger and deep-sea diving, historic mystery and the search for a legendary pirate ship.  We also include the latest on SETIs new funding, MoD cover ups, and 17th century French…

    Francis Barraud, "His Master's Voice" (1899).

    Frank Drake on SETI: Let’s Shut Up and Listen

    Harvard-educated astrophysicist Frank Drake is the father of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, so he isn’t exactly a skeptic on the question. He speculates that as many as 10,000 extraterrestrial civilizations may thrive in the Milky Way galaxy alone, and his famous equation has helped move of the…

    Church dome in Budapest. Photo: © 2010 Marc Veraart. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs.

    Theologians Prepare for Alien Contact

    Earlier this year, Internet discussion forums were ablaze with a somewhat bizarre debate over whether extraterrestrials can go to Heaven. But more serious theologians have less provincial questions to ask, and some of these questions were explored at NASA’s September astrobiology symposium, titled (appropriately enough) Preparing for…

    Promotional photo for the DOCTOR WHO episode "Planet of the Ood." Photo: © BBC.

    How Should We Talk to Extraterrestrials?

    Seth Shostak, director of the Center for SETI Research, wants us to answer a very important question: assuming we can overcome the logistic and technological obstacles and get a message to extraterrestrials, how can we be sure that message will be comprehensible to them? He writes: [W]hat’s the best…

    Earth and ISS

    Is There Life on Earth?

    Human beings have a tendency to picture themselves – or something very similar – when they use the word “life”. By that definition, the answer to the question “Is There Life on Earth?” is “Yes, of course there is” – as long as we’re talking about Earth…

    Sound wave illustration

    Alien Contact in Puerto Rico?

    Shortly before the dawning of the 1960s, a historic document, with the title of Searching for Interstellar Communications, was prepared by Phillip Morrison and Giuseppe Conconi, a pair of physicists at Cornell University, and which was published within the prestigious pages of Nature. Its focus: the potential…

    The Necklace Nebula. Photo: NASA.

    The Universe is Broadcasting 10,000 Unidentified Radio Signals

    Earlier this year I wrote about the Parkes/Arecibo radio bursts, very old radio signals—probably dating back to the early universe—that originated outside of the Milky Way galaxy, but can’t be identified. Now astronomers at McGill University have published a followup study on the bursts, and—depending on how…

    Planck units

    Max Planck and the Aliens

    Max Planck is one of the biggest names in physics. Most famously, he was the first person to realize that electromagnetic radiation can only be emitted in discrete chunks in accordance with the fundamental parameter now known as Planck’s constant. This groundbreaking discovery paved the way to…


    SETI from the Top Down

    Mainstream science has a natural tendency to approach problems from the bottom up. Scientists like to understand simple building blocks before they turn their attention to complex systems. The science of astrobiology – the search for extraterrestrial life – is no exception. The questions that interest astrobiologists…

    Open sky. Photo: © 2011 Acid Pix. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution License.

    What Good Are UFOs?

    During a recent U.S. congressional hearing on the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), a conservative member of the House asked UC-Berkerley SETI director Dan Werthimer about UFOs in general, and the History Channel series Ancient Aliens in particular. Werthimer’s response was one for the books: “UFOs have nothing…

    Earth from space at night. Photo: NASA.

    NASA Plans for First Contact with an Alien Civilization

      Earlier this month, NASA published an anthology titled Archaeology, Anthropology, and Interstellar Communication (SP-2013-4413). If you find yourself thinking “hey, that sounds like a scholarly anthology dealing with the cultural implications of alien contact,” you’re absolutely right. And it’s amazing. I’ll be writing more specifically (and…