The Allen Telescope Array. Image Credit: SETI Institute

SETI to Resume Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence; Will Target Kepler Data

Article Updated: 26 Apr , 2016

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After being shut down for over six months due to financial problems, The Allen Telescope Array (ATA) is once again searching other planetary systems for radio signals, looking for evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence.

Some of the first targets in SETI’s renewed search will be a selection of recently discovered exoplanet candidates by NASA’s Kepler mission.

“This is a superb opportunity for SETI observations,” said Dr. Jill Tarter, the Director of the Center for SETI Research at the SETI Institute. “For the first time, we can point our telescopes at stars, and know that those stars actually host planetary systems – including at least one that begins to approximate an Earth analog in the habitable zone around its host star. That’s the type of world that might be home to a civilization capable of building radio transmitters.”

What other studies will SETI be performing with the array, and how were they able to restart the Allen Telescope Array?

This past April, SETI was forced to place the ATA into hibernation mode, due to budget cuts of SETI’s former partner, U.C Berkeley. Since Berkeley operated Hat Creek Observatory where the ATA is located, their withdrawal from the program left SETI without a way to operate the ATA.

SETI has since acquired new funding to operate the ATA and can now resume observations where they left off – examining planetary candidates detected by the Kepler mission. The planetary candidates SETI will examine first will be those that are thought to be in their star’s habitable zone (the range of orbital distance from a planet’s host star which may allow for surface water). Many astrobiologists theorize that liquid water is essential for life to exist on a planet.

“In SETI, as with all research, preconceived notions such as habitable zones could be barriers to discovery.” Tarter added. “So, with sufficient future funding from our donors, it’s our intention to examine all of the planetary systems found by Kepler.”

SETI will spend the next two years observing the planetary systems detected by Kepler in the naturally-quiet 1 to 10 GHz terrestrial microwave window. Part of what makes this comprehensive study possible is that the ATA can provide ready access to tens of millions of channels at any one time.

Resuming ATA operations was made possible due to tremendous public support via SETI’s www.SETIStars.org web site. In addition to the funds raised by the public, the United States Air Force has also provided funding to SETI in order to assess the ATA’s capabilities for space situational awareness.

Tarter notes, “Kepler’s success has created an amazing opportunity to focus SETI research. While discovery of new exoplanets via Kepler is backed with government monies, the search for evidence that some of these worlds might be home to intelligence falls to SETI alone. And our SETI exploration depends entirely on private donations, for which we are deeply grateful to our donors.”

“The year-in and year-out fundraising challenge we tackle in order to conduct SETI research is an absolute human and organizational struggle,” said Tom Pierson, CEO of the SETI Institute, “yet it is well worth the hard work to help Jill’s team address what is one of humanity’s most profound research questions.”

Dr. Tarter will be presenting during the first Kepler Science Conference (at NASA Ames Research Center) from December 5 to 9, 2011. You can view the agenda for the meeting, along with the abstract for her talk on Earth analogs at: http://kepler.nasa.gov/Science/ForScientists/keplerconference/sessions/.

If you’d like to learn more about SETI, or would like to make a donation to help fund their efforts, visit: https://setistars.org/donations/new

Read more about SETI’s partnership with the United States Air Force at: http://www.seti.org/afspc

Source: SETI Institute press release

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Anonymous
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Anonymous
December 6, 2011 4:46 PM
So, as a “SETI star” myself ( not too grand, a couple of $25 & $50 “investments”), the question is, how solid is the support. Funding for basic science is in serious peril with this Congress. The USAF could easily be told to cease and desist. You know, if Paul Allen and a couple of his pals would pony up a teenie fraction of their worht, maybe just a couple million dollars a piece, there would be some serenity. Here is what I am posting as comments at Facebook to a list of D.O.E labs and NASA missions: “The recent deficit super committee debacle in Washington means possible debilitating budget cuts to D.O.E labs and NASA missions. Please… Read more »
Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
December 6, 2011 4:46 PM
So, as a “SETI star” myself ( not too grand, a couple of $25 & $50 “investments”), the question is, how solid is the support. Funding for basic science is in serious peril with this Congress. The USAF could easily be told to cease and desist. You know, if Paul Allen and a couple of his pals would pony up a teenie fraction of their worht, maybe just a couple million dollars a piece, there would be some serenity. Here is what I am posting as comments at Facebook to a list of D.O.E labs and NASA missions: “The recent deficit super committee debacle in Washington means possible debilitating budget cuts to D.O.E labs and NASA missions. Please… Read more »
Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
December 6, 2011 4:46 PM
So, as a “SETI star” myself ( not too grand, a couple of $25 & $50 “investments”), the question is, how solid is the support. Funding for basic science is in serious peril with this Congress. The USAF could easily be told to cease and desist. You know, if Paul Allen and a couple of his pals would pony up a teenie fraction of their worht, maybe just a couple million dollars a piece, there would be some serenity. Here is what I am posting as comments at Facebook to a list of D.O.E labs and NASA missions: “The recent deficit super committee debacle in Washington means possible debilitating budget cuts to D.O.E labs and NASA missions. Please… Read more »
aerandir
Member
December 6, 2011 5:29 PM

I like that they are being open minded about the conditions needed for life. The Earth is all we know and it is very easy to have those predisposed notions about what kind of environment is essential and conducive for life to develop.

starcastle2011
Member
starcastle2011
December 7, 2011 4:06 PM

You have to start with some assumptions otherwise it’s impossible to focus your research. Keep in mind, when we get past the press releases and hype, SETI has been one of the least productive programs in the serious sciences. To date it has established nothing and it’s aphorism “Absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence” is nothing but a bit of circumlocution signifying nothing.

aerandir
Member
December 8, 2011 3:46 AM

That’s true, but I was just saying its easy to forget what those assumptions are over time and that it is prudent to consider all possibilities in a quest of this nature.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
December 7, 2011 2:19 AM

phlpn.es/829r8s

Roger Overcash
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Roger Overcash
December 7, 2011 4:38 AM
Anonymous
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Anonymous
December 7, 2011 2:34 PM

we are not alone in the universe

http://www.feralspecies.com

starcastle2011
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starcastle2011
December 7, 2011 4:12 PM

Prove it.

Symbol
Guest
Symbol
December 7, 2011 4:20 PM

Disprove it.

starcastle2011
Member
starcastle2011
December 7, 2011 4:24 PM

You made the statement, sir, the burden of proof lies with you.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
December 7, 2011 5:33 PM

Indeed the burden of proof lies with me, but the burden of reasonableness lies with you. Please read my online book available at http://www.feralspecies.com to discover why we are not alone in the universe, and why it must be that human beings are a hybrid species created by extraterrestrials.

Thank you for your reply. I look forward to reading your comments on my site. You don’t have to sign up to sound off.

Best,

-Charlie

starcastle2011
Member
starcastle2011
December 7, 2011 5:40 PM

With all due respects sir, I asked for science, you give me science fiction. Are we alone? I don’t know. If there’s another intelligent species in our galaxy and it’s 2000 light years distant, what difference does it make? As for SETI, they take your money and provide the tiniest scintilla of hope (nothing else) – and no, the “wow” signal counts for nothing. Ultimately, the question of whether we’re alone may never be answered and if you call yourself a scientists or even an avid amateur, you should be willing to accept that possibility.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
December 7, 2011 6:11 PM
Even so called experts of our reality (the new scientists) once thought this planet was flat. They would not be persuaded by circumstantial evidence, and without a satellite in the sky to “prove” it, those experts continued a drum beat that defies ordinary logic…the Earth is the center of the universe, etc. No, I don’t call myself a scientist because science is not what you think it is. The greatest scientific minds of our world were and are those who have the imagination to solve complex problems others cannot because they are not confined to everything they think they know. Those great thinkers were generally considered idiots by the experts of their day. My book resolves the unanswered… Read more »
starcastle2011
Member
starcastle2011
December 7, 2011 6:18 PM
Mr. Orange, this will be my last response. You have offered me a paragraph of gobblety-gook that explains nothing. If there is a problem today, it’s that many can’t distinguish between science and its methodology and what they see on the movie or television screen. I call it the Gene Roddenberry-ization of science. Need to get to a planet each week, make up a warp drive, pretty soon even folks like Michio Kaku will have you believing in it (the energy requirements to warp space are simply beyond human conception). Rather than the Cosmos being our playground, I think it more likely that we are prisoners of our solar system, living in the loneliness of the long distance… Read more »
Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
December 7, 2011 6:54 PM
I would first like to thank you for engaging in this discussion with me. We differ on more than few thing, however. 1. I have never believed Star Trek is nonfiction nor will I ever believe that is the case. 2. It is not necessary to take such a depressing view in light of all the circumstantial evidence. What I believe is limiting us as a species from evolving to the next much-needed step toward world peace is the need for direct proof we are not alone, and that there is no life beyond this planet. Put simply, if a chicken has been slaughtered by a wild animal, fox prints surround the chicken coup and fresh chicken parts… Read more »
Olaf
Member
Olaf
December 7, 2011 5:54 PM

So you are Spamming this site.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
December 7, 2011 6:15 PM

My post is relevant to this article.

Olaf
Member
Olaf
December 7, 2011 5:54 PM

So you are Spamming this site.

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