Never pass up a chance to sit down or relieve yourself. -old Apache saying

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


SETI stands for "Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence."  

What is the SETI project?

SETI stands for the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. It is a project which started in 1959 to search for radio signals from intelligent life in space. The SETI project uses radio telescopes from around the world to scan the sky and look for special patterns in radio waves which could have been sent by another civilization in space. Radio telescopes are used because radio waves can travel very far in space without being absorbed by the thick clouds of gas and dust which lie in many regions of space. Also, radio telescopes can be used both day and night. We have been sending out our own radio waves into space for over sixty years. All of our radio and televison signals travel into space at the speed of light and may one day be detected by another civilization in space.

Science continues to push the frontiers of knowledge.  It's so gratifying to think that we humans are actively searching for life elsewhere in the cosmos.  If the preachers and bishops had their way, humans would not seek anything beyond the planet, hell, hardly anything beyond their own noses.  After all, everything we need is right there in the Bible (I gag even writing that sarcastic comment.)

When that time comes....when we discover once and for all that there is indeed intelligent life somewhere else in the universe, it will change the world.  Well, it will change a LOT of the world.

You just KNOW that the fundies, and the Muslims, will deny the discovery.  Then they will try to co-opt it to fit in with God's plan.  I mentioned it was gratifying before about humans seeking to discover life elsewhere.  It's perhaps equally appalling and very depressing to think that a certain number of humans will resist new knowledge with all they have.  Their entire lives are vested in ignorance, how can they just chuck it all?

Frankly, I don't care.  Religionistas will be tossed onto the scrapheap of history, where they belong, where they should have been tossed hundreds of years ago.  

Knowledge is a powerful thing.

So, a word from the President and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of SETI:

This is an incredibly exciting time for the SETI Institute. The number of verified planets outside of our solar systems grows rapidly, and includes several that may have liquid water on their surfaces. At the same time, we are learning that life can survive in amazing places, even in lakes sealed beneath the Antarctic ice. These and other recent developments virtually assure the existence, and ultimate verification, of life beyond Earth. Recently NASA Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan agreed, predicting "I think we're going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth within a decade, and I think we're going to have definitive evidence within 20 to 30 years." The SETI Institute is at the forefront of many of these discoveries. As the only organization that addresses the full range of disciplines related to understanding and explaining the origin and nature of life in the universe, we search for answers to critical questions such as:
  • How did life begin on Earth?
  • Where/when/how did it overcome bottlenecks?
  • Does it exist elsewhere?
  • Are there other technological life forms?
  • Can we survive our own technological adolescence?
  • Is there a long future for life on Earth?

The answers to these and related questions are critical for informing some of the most important decisions mankind will make in the next 50 years.

Unfortunately, it has become increasingly difficult for basic research institutions like our Institute to rely on government funding in the United States. Increasingly, we are dependent on visionaries such as you to support our programs. When you invest in the SETI Institute, you join leaders such as Dave Packard, Paul Allen, Bill Hewlett, Gordon Moore, and Franklin Antonio, all of whom have been strong supporters. The Institute is approaching a critical point where we may need to curtail some of our programs, so we need your support now!

After nine years en route, the New Horizons spacecraft is nearing Pluto for the July 14 flyby. We have many ideas to enhance our public and student engagement based on the expertise of our scientists who are participating in this mission, but we lack the funding to execute on them. 

The Institute’s NASA Astrobiology Team uses innovative, autonomous rovers in the high lakes of the Andes to simulate landers that will float in Titan’s ethane lakes. This team strives to better understand planetary responses to rapid climate change.  We have multiple opportunities for independent studies by postdoctoral fellows using these data, but we must find funds to support them. 

The Allen Telescope Array is being upgraded with more sensitive radio receivers, capable at working at even higher frequencies, to improve the search for other technological civilizations. This improved sensitivity is like building more telescopes, making the search even more effective. But we must urgently find funding to support our scientists to make use of the array.

These opportunities are all here today, but we need your help to seize them. You can be a part of discovering life beyond Earth! Please go to to make your tax-deductible donation now!

Thanks for your help!

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