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May 20, 2009

After 10 years of alien searches, no results

Posted: 10:08 AM ET

For a decade, the computer program has searched the skies for extraterrestrial voices. Hundreds of thousands of volunteer home computers have analyzed the data, according to a news release.

But no alien signals have been heard in the 10 years SETI@Home (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) has been operating.

SETI uses the Arecibo telescope in Puerto Rico to record radio signals from the sky. Those signals are broken down and sent to home computers, which help analyze the data.

Here's more on how the project works, from the SETI@Home Web site:

One approach, known as radio SETI, uses radio telescopes to listen for narrow-bandwidth radio signals from space. Such signals are not known to occur naturally, so a detection would provide evidence of extraterrestrial technology.

Radio telescope signals consist primarily of noise (from celestial sources and the receiver's electronics) and man-made signals such as TV stations, radar, and satellites. Modern radio SETI projects analyze the data digitally. More computing power enables searches to cover greater frequency ranges with more sensitivity. Radio SETI, therefore, has an insatiable appetite for computing power.

In the 10 years that SETI has been active not a single extraterrestrial signal has been heard.

This could lead us to believe that maybe we are truly alone in this vast universe. No one knows for sure, of course. The debate has intensified since the Roswell incident of 1947.

Arguments can be made against spending money and time in search of other life in the universe. The money spent on funding the SETI project that could have been put towards fighting hunger or doing cancer research, for example.

On the flip side, our universe is extremely large and the time it takes radio signals to travel can take many years for them to make it to Earth if they are coming from another planet or spaceship. Ten years just isn’t enough for us to examine what could be out there.

What are your thoughts on SETI?

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Chris Augustin   May 20th, 2009 10:32 am ET

If an extraterrestrial species has gained the ability to leave their planet do you honestly expect them to be using radio to communicate? There's a multitude of evidence to support alien visitation already occurring on our planet. Let's put the resources towards investigating UFO sightings instead of looking into the far reaches of space.


Dez R   May 20th, 2009 10:44 am ET

I guess that's a question you should ask the private donors who fund SETI. Personally I think it's worth every penny. Especially if one day we do receive a signal. While I believe that life as well as intelligent life exists outside of our planet, it would be nice to have proof.


Mike - New London CT   May 20th, 2009 11:16 am ET

This science, like so many others, is relevant to the human race. We are wired with the imperative to find what's just over the next hill. It has served us well for the last 5.6 million years. We would not be here without that curiosity.

The cost is minuscule and largely funded privately. And there are a lot of byproducts, just the Seti @ Home project developed a whole new technology. Sure cancer and famine are important, and we are funding them, but so is basic science.

Will not mankind not be better off when we hear "We've just confirmed, someone out there likes I Love Lucy".


Matt   May 20th, 2009 11:17 am ET

Personally i think if there are aliens out there they certianly would not contact us. I think we may be too violent of a society for any kind of contact. Seeing how our world works do you honestly think.

1. Seeing what goes on earth would you want to contact us
2. If they did see what going on here would they want us knowing there out there and start some kinda War or worse.
3. Just watch TV movies how aliens are portrayed as evil and out to get us If they intercepted these transmission i certianly would hide fact i am out there and never contact us


Jim Ferguson   May 20th, 2009 11:19 am ET

Funding SETI programs is a lot like buying a lottery ticket once a week. It is astronomical odds of winning the lottery, but if you don't play you can't win. So if we don't make the miniscule effort to search for other life in the galaxy we'll never find it. I don't know the specific numbers, but most of the SETI program is funded from private dollars, so funding isn't a problem. Congress in 1990 passed a 10 year, $10 million per year program, but cancelled the next year. So since 1991 I don't think taxpayers have spent a cent looking for ETs.


Nate S   May 20th, 2009 11:20 am ET

The first poster wants us to look for UFOs here on Earth, but thinks it unlikely that an advanced civilization will have produced radio communications? This is the sort of ignorance that hinders human advancement. No advanced civilization can become advanced without emitting EM "noise" for generations. Spacecraft 50 light years outside of our solar system can watch TV broadcasts of Leave It To Beaver if they tune in to the right frequency and are pointed in the right direction. It doesn't mean we braodcast that show now, just that the signals went out then and can not be recalled. Neither could aliens on other planets prevent their early signals from traveling outward at the speed of light. That is what we are looking for. Not a "Hi there how are you" message directed specifically at us that fools like UFO conspiracy buffs would expect (why would aliens give a rat's patootie about our minor civilization, and if they did come here why would they skulk around in hiding when they could do whatever they wanted to us using their advanced technology?), but simply for evidence of any signal modulation not made by natural background features of the universe. The problem is that there is no guarantee that signal producers are in our backyard. The bulk of the universe is so far away from us that light from the big bang is still reaching us. That means that we will not see/hear for billions of years potential signals from the vast majority of the universe that could have been made by intelligent civilizations that evolved billions of years after the big bang in those regions. For SETI to work, we almost would NEED to be receiving intentionally targeted tranmissions, and frankly, why would any civilization draw attention to itself and risk detection by a hostile civilization? But the SETI project is one of the rare good expenditures of money that is for the benefit of all humans, not just the upper management of some sleazy corporation, and at the very least we need to be more patient than 10 flipping years, for crying out loud.


John G   May 20th, 2009 11:27 am ET

Take a dump truck. Fill it up with Rice. Add one piece of rice that has the word radio sketched into it. Dump that truck load of rice on a white sand beach. Wait 10 years, and then go find your grain of rice.

My silly point is that the universe is a very large place. Rice=planets, rice with sketch=inhabited planet, Sand=everything else out there.

It's going to take a while to find "proof of life", unless they stop by the superbowl to say hi..


maddawg   May 20th, 2009 11:33 am ET

i dont think putting the money towards 'ufo sightings' is effective AT ALL.

most will be crackpots that just want/need the attention. there is too much opportunity for fraud and for TONS of wasted money checking on sightings that never happened.

also, humans are inherently stupid, selfish and gullible....the last thing we need is to depend on a humans 'sighting' to determine if extra-terrestrial life exists.

SETI is on the right track and it is proven that radio signals are not generated from only intelligent beings so writing off radio signals is just as dumb as focusing on humans sightings for the data.

i'm happy to say i've used SETI for the entire time it's been available, albeit not regularly enough to say every day; but i have crunched my fair share of data blocks for SETI.

the only place to look is into the far reaches of space...we are VERY likely not to find them near our planet......they definately don't want to be found and are good at keeping out of sight.


First contact   May 20th, 2009 11:40 am ET

I think it's awesome. I'm already practicing my line.

"It's a COOK BOOK!"


Dan   May 20th, 2009 4:18 pm ET

In addition to all of the other benefits mentioned above – Who knows what additional review science may come from looking at all of the data that has been collected and crunched?


Eddie   May 20th, 2009 4:26 pm ET

I would not expect SETI to find anything. Space is so vast and why would any intellegence want to come to a remote area, in a hardly habitable world, near an average sized star in a random area in the galaxy?


frank carter   May 20th, 2009 4:46 pm ET

Since most of our world is hight tech, it could be anything..UFO"S probably but highly on likely....you think by now in one way or another something should have happen with all those call sightings


Jiva Soul   May 20th, 2009 4:55 pm ET

The sound vibration produced by the mantras of the Vedas are the way to connect to the inhabitants of the higher planets. SETI is like listening to Kanye West expecting to hear a Miles Davis solo!


nightwish358   May 20th, 2009 9:46 pm ET

Of course seti wont detect any signals.
Why we humans are so arrogant to assume that aliens will use the same technologies that we use?

Besides, civilizations around the galaxies will probably be thousand of years apart from each other, in terms of development. We have been using radio signals as a way to communicate for only 100 years.

Are you sure we will still be using this method to communicate in 2200? Probably not. We will find a faster way to send and receive data.

As to the fact that aliens has visited us or not, i dont know. They probably have. Out of curiosity, they may have come to check us out. It may be like watching television for them. lol

People say that if extraterrestrial civilization exist, why wouldn't they contact us. Well, why should they? What can they possibly have to tell us?

If aliens would not exist, it would be the worst news for the mankind. Think about. There are hundreds of billions of galaxies out there. Each of them will hundred of billions of stars. Its an enormous space. Too much just for us. We will probably need another 300 years just to come up with the technology to travel to the nearest star. And after that, maybe another 1000 years to be able to travel to the nearest galaxy.

It will be really sad to be alone.


CB_Brooklyn   May 20th, 2009 11:55 pm ET

Check this out....

Mars Anomalies – Photos and Booklet
http://www.checktheevidence.co.uk/cms/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=159&Itemid=59


Darren   May 21st, 2009 12:27 am ET

It helps to keep in mind that if a radio telescope like the one at Aricebo were located at a similar facility in a neighboring galaxy, it would be completely unable to distinguish Earth's radio transmission from background noise. Thus SETI is unable to detect Earth-like civilizations; unless, as an above post mentioned, there were an intentional transmission aimed at us.


J Hisey   May 21st, 2009 9:58 am ET

I am so sick of "the money could have gone to feed the poor" bull poop. It has been used since biblical times and it didn't make sense then. Of course seti is a wonderful and exciting project. I can hardly wait to hear that the first signal from e.t. is found.


Earth   May 21st, 2009 10:25 am ET

SITI is looking for a transistor radio signal. What makes you think that they would use something that can be picked up by a radio telescope?
They could be using something else to communicate and we are not even there yet with the technology. We been looking in the wrong place with the wrong equipment. As simple as they make it out to be to listen to the sky is shows we are still so backwards in our search for intelligent life out there. When we have none here haha .


abigail   May 21st, 2009 10:27 am ET

The surest sign that intelligent life exists in space is the fact that they have not tried to make contact with us.


Don Wxford   May 21st, 2009 10:52 am ET

Not going to happen people🙂 If it ever did, contact would be pretty much useless. In the time between respones whole civilizations could rise and fall. Remember, it is just not a matter of distance - it is a matter of timing. Their civilization would have to be up and running and sending signals (hopefully ones we could even recognize) far enough IN ADVANCE to get to the Earth at the precisely the time our civilization would have developed the ability to intercept. Who knows, maybe they called 500 years ago. Who was here to hear? Maybe they hit redial and in another 100,000 years the Earth's phone will ring again. Who will be here to hear?
As for hostilities breaking out, I mean, think of the resources a planet would need to expend to actually attack another planet zillions of miles away. Let's hope THEY don't have any poor!
We ARE and ALWAYS will be alone. It is in the nature of the Universe.


spacewriter   May 21st, 2009 11:27 am ET

The Roswell "incident" had nothing to do with aliens or intelligent life elsewhere. Citing it as some kind of bellweather in the debate about such life is pointless.


William   May 21st, 2009 12:35 pm ET

So... Is anyone surprised?

I mean just completely discount incidents like the Tehran UFO incident in 1976, the Rendlesham Forest Incident in 1980, Milton Torres Incident in the 1950s (Where he attempted to shoot at a UFO), etc...

OF COURSE THERE HAVEN'T BEEN ANY SIGNALS. We're looking for radio signals... do you really think that advanced civilizations would be using such a primitive method of communication?

Maybe we should set up a dish to scan for laser pulses and other potential methods of communication. Extraterrestrials would not be using radio, I can tell you that, so the results are no surprise.


Noah   May 21st, 2009 12:43 pm ET

Or, perhaps aliens aren't using radio signals to communicate and never have. Why are we always so insistent that alien life will use things that are familiar to us?


Andrew   May 21st, 2009 3:33 pm ET

I have participated in the Seti@Home project since 1 July 1999. Despite what many people believe, I think that finding intelligent life in our galaxy is only a matter of time. Of course, having meaningful interactions with those other life forms will be a whole different matter... Especially when we understand that by the time we "hear" them, many centuries will have passed... there is no telling if their civilization will have lasted long enough to receive our reply...


dagwud   May 21st, 2009 5:45 pm ET

What if we never detect radio signals because, for some evolutionary reason, we're the first planet in the galaxy to develop radio frequency transmissions?

It'd be like tuning in your radio to 104.5 and then waiting for someone to build the station broadcasting on that frequency.


andy   May 21st, 2009 7:34 pm ET

Maybe the aliens don't use radio?? Quantum or other?? Maybe telpathy!


Starcruiser   May 22nd, 2009 9:17 am ET

Once we have funded National Heatlhcare, college for all America's youth, converted all our power plants and methods of transportation to run on something other than fossil fuels, I dont care if the scientist want to spend the rest of their lives looking for ants on the Sun...As nobody else gives a rats tail...


Ted J   May 22nd, 2009 10:38 am ET

The payoff for successfully finding a signal far outweighs the initial costs of setting up a SETI program. Besides we already have a powerful system already set up for the job – the Allen Telescope Array. The ATA was funded entirely by private donations. So let's search, what the heck.


S Callahan   May 22nd, 2009 10:39 am ET

just my view....we know there is other life..look at the book of Daniel and Ezekiel....but is it the life you really want coming to earth?
As well, we also know there are numerous deminisions in the universe...perhaps that is why the signals aren't coming through...may want to change the channell to the proper deminision . There is also the concept of 'we are flesh' and 'there is spirit' ...perhaps the life has come..just can't 'see' it. just a thought.


E Johnson   May 22nd, 2009 11:20 am ET

I think the idea of looking for proof of life out there is great. IF! they ever discover a signal, it would only be a way to prove the belief that many now do believe that it is impossible for us to be alone. If we recieve a signal it will be from a civilization that was advanced enough to transmit a powerful enough signal to pick up, for the purpose of saying "Here we are", then transmit it for thousands of years, because by the time we receive it, it can be thousands to millions of years later. Then, maybe the reason we are not picking up a signal, because maybe there is something out there listening that aliens don't want to be found... There is always a bigger fish... and maybe we should turn down the volume of what we we are broadcasting. But if we did discover a signal, and the goverment decided to let us know about it, and spent years studying it, and then we decided to send a directed response back, it would take thousands of years later to have them recieve it, would they be there? That is some lag... and we complain when our internet lags out for a second... after all that, I would still support leaving the ears open to the skies, it may be a far feat of luck to hear something, but I would hate to miss something if we just didn't listen


Neil Pharr   May 22nd, 2009 11:21 am ET

The fact that developed intelligence exist on Earth (us) is proof enough that it exits in the universe and is as common as the number of planets that were/are congenial to life.

Science as accumulated enough informantion about the universe to make it obvous that we need to settle down and be civilized here.


Stargazer   May 22nd, 2009 12:45 pm ET

Maybe there's aliens, maybe there's not. Maybe they're advanced, maybe they're not. It still doesn't hurt to look. Yeah, that money could have been used to feed the poor, but it probably would have been spent on a new suit or something else anyway. Until the whole world goes communist and we all wear the same gray uniforms, why spoil our fun?


Alex Taller   May 22nd, 2009 2:24 pm ET

Xenofobia has been and remains one of the strongest traits of every culture. Throughout the history we've been hating each other because of differences as superficial as skin color. How can anyone hope that we would be able to get along with even the most benevolent and enlightened aliens?
I am as curious as the next guy about the possibility of their existence. I do realize however that any contact would lead to a global tragedy even under the best of cuircumstances.


Mike   May 22nd, 2009 2:34 pm ET

First of all they are not necessarily aliens. If something is out there it's another form of life. We are in fact alien to this planet we call earth. We consist of star matter etc. Life just needs the right conditions and it will survive. To proof that we have many forms of life on this planet. Trees, animals etc. Life adapts. To say life doesn't exist outside our planet is ignorance to the extreme. How do you think we got here? Science says the elements in our make up are not just domestic to this world.

But to use radio signals to look for life out there is a try but it's time to try something else. Another technology of some sort. Like someone said who says they use radio signals?


HerrMan   May 22nd, 2009 3:01 pm ET

Ok, there is no other intelligent life out there, period. If there were God would have put it in the Bible somewhere.

There is a place for general research and development though, so the SETI program could be useful for technology development that could be ported over to something more immediately useful one day. But the whole aliens thing I'd hope no one takes too seriously. It's like looking for the boogeyman under the bed.


Steve   May 23rd, 2009 12:21 pm ET

The original purpose of setiathome was to put wasted CPU cycles to work. Sort of like a form of "recycling"- rather than let the CPU cycles get wasted they would perform something useful.

Unfortunately people are leaving their computers on ALL THE TIME specifically to run the seti program. Some people are even networking hundreds of computers specifically for this purpose. This has made setiathome basically the opposite of what it was intended for. Rather than recapturing wasted CPU cycles it is consuming the energy equivalent of 600,000 barrels of oil per year.


Brady   May 23rd, 2009 6:56 pm ET

Folks, we are not searching for "radio signals" the way you talk about them. We are looking for waves. Radio signals are waves that can be picked up by a telescope... as are the waves produced by the radiation of the cell phone you've got in your pocket. And your computer's power supply. And your refrigerator. It would be virtually impossible for a technologically advanced civilization to *not* be producing *some* sort of electromagnetic wave output, even if they (hopefully) don't have any alien Don Imus's and Howard Sterns burning up the airwaves.


Elizabeth   May 23rd, 2009 8:01 pm ET

We waste a lot of public money on things far less productive, positive, and/or probable than SETI. While I am not convinced that radio is the best medium for search, I think search of every kind is worthy. It is ultimate hubris to believe that we are the only life forms (and that we are "intelligent" to boot) supported by the vastness of the universe.


schlittenfahrt   May 23rd, 2009 10:29 pm ET

Oh....these people who want instant gratification/results. If people are willing to fund SETI privately, then leave it alone. Consider how long it took mathematicians to solve Fermat's last problem. Is it reasonable to expect the search for extraterrestrial intelligence to bear fruit any sooner.

And consider this: if we are looking then is it not reasonable to expect intelligent extraterrestrial life forms to be looking as well? Other than the first radar signals reflected from the moon in thelate 40's, the first signals to escape earth's ionosphere were television signals. Insufficient time has elapsed for them to yet reach the nearest galaxies with planetary systems deemed capable of supporting life as we know it. Eventually those signals will arrive...Howdy Doody, I Love Lucy, Milton Berle, the Army-McCarthy hearings....you know, all signifying intelligent of life on earth.


Sue   May 24th, 2009 10:01 am ET

Regarding J. Hisey's comment about the irrelevance of the "money that is used on this project going to feed the poor"-–Gee, I guess it's easy for this person to make a comment like that since he (or his children) are not the ones starving to death.


CasualObserver   May 24th, 2009 12:32 pm ET

Most of the preceding comments furnish pretty compelling evidence that any life form clever enough to invent a technological civilization is also capable of destroying that civilization in a geologic heartbeat. So as far as hearing from ET is concerned, I'm not holding my breath.


Brent   May 24th, 2009 5:06 pm ET

Lets talk probablities.

The universe is at least 13 billion years old. Of that, Earth has been around about 4 billion, and somewhat habitable for about the last half billion or so.

If you were to take Earth's entire history andscale it to a period we can get our heads around, say to one day of 24 hours, the amount of time that humans have inhabited it would amount to less than a second of that day. The amount of time we have been able to broadcast and receive by radio has been a much much much smaller portion of that second. Lets say a few milliseconds.

Now take into account that earth has had at least 5 mass extinctions in its 4 billion year history–that's been at least 5 opportunities for intelligent life to occur. Lets say there are 100000 other planets just in our galaxy that have or have had intelligent life–their intelligent life window may have occurred at any time other than just recently–they may have come and gone, or are yet to come. At any rate, if they, like us are relative shortimers on their own planet, then the odds of their few milliseconds intersecting with ours are to say, remote. Add to that the skewing of time created by the vast distances, and the odds of their signals "passing by" us exactly during our window are even more remote.

So, having said all that, that the chances of a real signal is almost nonexistent, I too have participated in Seti@home. The idea is amazing just based on the probablilites.

(please note, my recollection of the times involved – the ages of the universe and earth, and the human portion of earth's day may be off some–working from memory here–so please feel free to correct me, but please be nice).


JD   May 24th, 2009 10:13 pm ET

Maybe extraterrestrials simply don't want to be located. Suppose they were hiding their communications deliberately; Knowing our human nature well, if you were an ET and studied humans for thousands and thousands of years, would you let YOUR public and private messages be intercepted by human beings? Peace!


Proventus   May 25th, 2009 12:48 pm ET

What a complete waste of time and money.


Cranium   May 25th, 2009 1:53 pm ET

The fact that even after 10 years of absolutely no proof, we're still funding and believing in this idea.... maybe we should start reconsidering whether humans are an "intelligent lifeform"


Dayahka   May 25th, 2009 2:03 pm ET

What alien in his or her right mind would want to contact a belligerent, reptilian low-life like humans? Maybe in a few million years when the race may have evolved into something intelligent and rational, and developed a culture based on justice and responsibility, but now, who would want this greedy, warmongering, selfish bunch?


Michaela Merz   May 25th, 2009 3:51 pm ET

Wow – we are spending 10 years to SETI and people are complaining? If you want to complain, complain about religion. Now they have truly a story about a supernatural, omnipotent being that know everything, is everywhere and can do anything – well almost, because it obviously has a problem with money. That is why, over the last 2000 years, people wasted billions to make it, and its prophets, happy. The money the pope spent for his new dress would easily fund SETI half a year. Talking about wasting money ...

mm.


Rudy   May 25th, 2009 10:27 pm ET

I think they should stop it and start trying to tackle problems here on earth. How can one tackle the universe when they cant tackle its own earth? Like everyone thinks that the universe is huge but our earth is so small.


D   May 25th, 2009 10:30 pm ET

Pretty sure a little $10 radio could do the same thing.


Noppanit   May 26th, 2009 12:52 am ET

I think it's time to reconsider that we should put our money to somewhere else to fight aginst food shortages or even financial crisis. After we recover from the crisis we can do the research again. what's more I totally agree with the concept that aliens may not use radio frequencies to communicate.


oracle2world   May 26th, 2009 8:17 am ET

It is likely we are the only ones in our galaxy, and galaxies are too far apart to worry about life elsewhere in the universe.

Our planet is just too unique. A yellow star, earth just the right distance to have water in all three phases, an early strike by a Mars sized object to create a moon that provides tides, and a fortutious meteor strike 60 million years ago. Elements made from previous stars to provide an atmosphere and iron core and magnetic field.

Mankind has been broadcasting radio signals for a grand total of 100 years, out of billions of years for our galaxy.


TJ   May 26th, 2009 3:50 pm ET

A negative result in an experiment is not a 'fail'. It eliminates one possibility.

Too: we're listening: if they're listening too, there are NO signals to hear. You can't count the TV and radio signals; they're quickly lost in the noise because of the huge distances (follow a spreading ripple as it crosses a lake).


111uminate   May 26th, 2009 10:08 pm ET

Quoted from the article, "Arguments can be made against spending money and time in search of other life in the universe. The money spent on funding the SETI project that could have been put towards fighting hunger or doing cancer research, for example."

This particular comment doesn't hold up and misses the mark completely. Since 1995 with the creation of the Phoenix Project, SETI has been by and large privately funded, so in fact, no argument can be made with regards to funding other avenues of research such as cancer or world hunger. It isn't tax payers money or funded by the Government, so people who attempt to paint the picture that SETI is wasting money need to get educated.

As a personal opinion, while I strongly admire the work SETI has been conducting since it's inception, I do not share their views regarding possible extraterrestrial visitation be it past or present. To completely rule it out and write it off as being impossible is strongly short sighted and premature in my view, but I understand the reasoning for such a stance. If you spent your entire life and career looking for life out amongst the stars, funded by money that is not your own, would you be ready to agree that life from elsewhere may have found us first? I don't think so.


pebble garden   May 27th, 2009 2:53 pm ET

Looking for *radio* signals from non-terrestrial intelligence makes about as much sense as looking for smoke signals. It's totally inadequate as a communication tool across vast distances.

I'd expect the real medium to be one which isn't so vulnerable to the inverse-square law. Whatever such a hypothetical medium might be, smart beings would prefer something with legs and immune to speed-of-light, possessing serious bandwidth, and encryptable. Like quantum entanglement.


Century75   September 2nd, 2009 1:09 am ET

It may be as Fermi lamented.. civilization(s) may be 'self-limiting' – and we surely have a sterling example right here on earth. We.. 'know' it is (and was always) stupid to pollute our own 'house' – aka: earth. But greed won over logic and reason.

Today, on earth, there are many millions of people living in filth & are suffering.. even though we have the technology & means to stop it. We all could live very much better lives.. and we surely know that too.. but... no, greed always.. always trumps logic & intelligence.

I can give many examples.. but of course, you also are aware of these facts too. Our.. 'voices' have been muted & contained. Those that OWN the media.. well.. those are perfect examples of slobbering greed.


WhyGuy   September 2nd, 2009 11:43 am ET

Why did a little band of nomads push West from Siberia? Why did a band of Norsemen sail east across a inhospitable ocean? Why did the Polynesians sail off into the unknown? Discovery. Most of us, in our own way gain something from discovering things. In some ways discovery is its own reward. In this case, Seti and other efforts at NASA, the EUSA, Russia, China and almost anyone with the resources will look for the unknown.
Seti is a testament to the intelligent use of our technology to discover. No profit in it, no political gain just the possibility of discovering the answer to the age old question.
And along the way we're learning other things, amassing a huge amounts of data that will likely be used for other searches, other science.
In my book, its money well spent.

And the science of it... Pretty sound. Our understanding of the physics of this universe seems to be universal. Since radio communications is relatively easy, can penetrate most mediums and can be readily generated at power levels that travel great distances, other lifeforms would probably have used it at some time in their evolution.

Seti is not looking for lifeforms, but lifeforms that have or had the technology to form and amplify electromagnetic radiation, in a time frame when we would be listening and pointing in our direction.

No its not like tuning in with a coil on an oatmeal box using a lead sulfide crystal picking up omnidirectional AM broadcasts we know are there. This is the stuff of those who look up at the night sky and imagine that something out there is looking back.

Good Hunting Seti...


Century75   September 3rd, 2009 12:23 am ET

"No profit in it, no political gain just the possibility of discovering the answer to the age old question.
And along the way we’re learning other things, amassing a huge amounts of data that will likely be used for other searches, other science.
In my book, its money well spent."

I am all for SETI... all for science. I saw how great we were progressing – a half century ago. I was excited and so was millions of others.. but then, when JFK, RFK & MLK were murdered.. I also watched as Nixon & the military-industry syndicate started slamming the open door to our very promising and progressive future.

Carl Sagan.. I found out years after he died.. he was well aware of how.. inward turning our previously exuberant and forward-looking country had become. Read his book: "The Demon Haunted World" – science, a candle in the dark.. Yes, we have become a nation of ignorance.. a 'new dark age' is upon America.


Richard Benjamin   December 20th, 2009 3:29 pm ET

haven't any of you heard of "the wow signal"? its been more than 10 years but SETI, HAS produced indisputable results of extra terrestrial transmissions... how the hell do u think a non profit volunteer project stays alive for 30 years?

Google "the wow signal" and you will know what I'm talking about

radio transmissions can only travel at the speed of light, which means that there is a 55 or so light year distant radius surrounding our solar system containing ALL of the radio transmissions we have ever produced. that is a very very very very very very very small portion of space. so don't expect any directed messages toward us any time soon ( no one knows we are here yet ) I love Lucy is still careening toward that advanced civilization at 280,000 miles per second but its gonna take a few thousand years to get there...

and as far as UFO's go.. they are NOT extra terrestrial. by definition they are here and are more likely produced by our earth hence they are terrestrial in nature, what is more plausible, that our government is hiding a secret aircraft? or that an advanced civilization has traveled an UNTOLD distance just to float around in our skies and disappear? gimme a break... its weather, or man made, get over it.

I live in Watersmeet Michigan, home of "the paulding light mystery" (look it up) a light which can be seen EVERY NIGHT floating over the woods.. and not a soul thinks its aliens.. the town lore is that its a train conductor who died on the rails.. ( all complete b.s ) light on earth is either produced by man or by nature but not by "aliens" i could go on forever schooling you crackpots on the nature of xenobiological theories, but id rather play a computer game instead :> peace on earth good will toward men, and remember, just because you cant explain it, doesn't mean it isn't real :>


Alby   December 21st, 2009 9:50 am ET

10 years is nothing compared to the existence of the universe and the rise and fall of aliens civilizations. Many generations wil have to pass before a signal is caught by SETI. If people really think this should happen while they are alive they don´t understand the philosophy involved in the project. It is not for our satisfaction ("wow, there are alien lifeforms... I wanna take a picture with one of them at the zoo...") but for the benefits of future generations.


Dale Zalewski   December 21st, 2009 7:41 pm ET

55 light years, huh? Well if there are extraterrestrials listening and watching they should be receiving things like Howdy-Doody, Milton Berle, I love Lucy, the Army/Senate McCarthy hearings....you know, all those signs of intellignet life on our planet.


CESAR   June 22nd, 2013 12:31 pm ET

WE HAVE TO KEEP TRYING...


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