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SETI: 'we'll find alien life within 20 years'


Posted on Friday, 23 May, 2014 | Comment icon 102 comments

SETI's Seth Shostak. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 BDEngler
Dan Werthimer and Seth Shostak presented their latest findings this week at a House Committee hearing.
With money an ongoing issue for the SETI Institute, the two astronomers made the case for further investment in the hunt for extraterrestrial intelligence and emphasized that with enough funding it may be possible to find the first signs of alien life within just two decades.

"In the last fifty years, evidence has steadily mounted that the components and conditions we believe necessary for life are common and perhaps ubiquitous in our galaxy," Werthimer wrote.

"There may even be primitive extraterrestrial life in our own solar system, perhaps on a moon of Jupiter or Saturn. Europa, one of Jupiter's moons, is thought to have a liquid water ocean beneath its icy surface, perhaps a good environment for life as we know it."

While both men agreed that no evidence has yet been found for life outside for Earth, they contended that the sheer number of viable planets in our own galaxy alone indicates the likelihood that the universe is probably teeming with life.

"We are just now developing the tools and technologies that might detect distant civilizations," they said. "There could be radio or laser signals from extraterrestrial civilizations reaching our planet right now, but we would most likely not detect these signals with these early SETI projects."

Source: Belfast Telegraph | Comments (102)

Tags: SETI, Seth Shostak

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #93 Posted by Frank Merton on 31 May, 2014, 5:36
I think the relatively small amounts spent on this are well spent, considering the immense importance and consequences. Frankly, though, I don't expect much, but even continuing negative results are informative.
Comment icon #94 Posted by Silent Trinity on 31 May, 2014, 5:44
I think the relatively small amounts spent on this are well spent, considering the immense importance and consequences. Frankly, though, I don't expect much, but even continuing negative results are informative. I agree with this totally my friend, I am of the same mind that if the chance exists, given the gravity of what that discovery would reveal and mean, I think it is something we must continue however slim the chances are of actually hearing something back, and it is an exciting prospect. I just found it to be somewhat ambiguous to give it a time scale. As I said maybe it is just me
Comment icon #95 Posted by Sweetpumper on 5 September, 2014, 17:32
Expanding The Narrow-Minded Search For Life By Ted Twietmeyer 9-5-14 SETI searches for signs of life in the microwave spectrum. This is pure madness and here is the proof: NASA Voyager spacecraft have only recently left our solar system. These vehicles, which are still transmitting a very weak signal thanks to thermoelectric power generation, are still many light years from the nearest star system. To receive these spacecraft signals requires the largest tracking dishes on the planet at Canberra, Australia (230ft.) NASA knows exactly what frequencies Voyager transmits on, the digital code to m... [More]
Comment icon #96 Posted by Frank Merton on 6 September, 2014, 0:43
I think the twenty year projection is based more on how long it is until retirement date for some people than it is on any science. How on earth is it possible to predict such a thing? However job security would be nice.
Comment icon #97 Posted by SeaGhouls on 7 September, 2014, 5:00
I am an open minded observer to the 'alien' question, but I am sorry, how the hell do you quantify something by saying you will 'find it within 20 years' if there isn't even any empirical evidence to prove it even exists? I am sure that given the expanse and diversity in the universe that life exists out there in some form, possibly even intelligent....but surely, and forgive me if i'm missing the point here, but isn't it a touch arrogant to assume that they would even reply? It is the same when I read an Oceanographic article some years ago that said we have only discovered 8% of the life tha... [More]
Comment icon #98 Posted by kitco on 7 September, 2014, 18:08
Go SETI, how much money dose is cost to find a et planet exactly? 100 million? One billion ten one hundred billion. How do me know that they use the same types of frequencies and radio signals as humans on earth, what if they arent advanced enough to use a signal. I doubt that seti will ever be fruitfull in their endeavors.
Comment icon #99 Posted by toast on 7 September, 2014, 19:01
(...) However, they have to say things like this from time to time to keep investors happy. Why even make the statement in the first place? It's just to drum up excitment and interest in the Seti project to attract other investors. This is a wrong statement as SETI cannot keep investors happy as there are no investors because there is no monetary return of investment possible at SETI in general. (...) excluding micro organisms which have already been found on Mars. This statement is wrong as well because untill today no microorganism have been found on Mars.
Comment icon #100 Posted by SeaGhouls on 8 September, 2014, 1:49
This is a wrong statement as SETI cannot keep investors happy as there are no investors because there is no monetary return of investment possible at SETI in general. This statement is wrong as well because untill today no microorganism have been found on Mars. It is you who in fact is wrong. http://guardianlv.com/2014/07/nasa-could-use-setis-new-funding-model-for-future-nasa-projects/ And wrong again depending on who you ask, tests have run positive for micro-organisms and others have failed. It depends on your understanding of life I guess. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_on_Mars
Comment icon #101 Posted by DONTEATUS on 8 September, 2014, 3:03
All I would Like is for SETI to Find the Dallas Cowboys a New Owner& Quarter Back !!!! .
Comment icon #102 Posted by toast on 8 September, 2014, 11:46
It is you who in fact is wrong. http://guardianlv.co...-nasa-projects/ The article is related to an idea of a member of the Blue Marble Institute and there is no such investment model active at the SETI Institute, and we are talking about the SETI Institute here, that will give the option for a return of invest. So again, yr claim "to make the investors happy" is wrong as there are no investment models available at the SETI Institute/Organisation also viewed under the aspect that the SETI Institute is a NPO (non profit organisation). It seems that you are mixing up investment with funding here... [More]


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