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SETI Institute celebrates 35 years of hunting ET

By T.K. Randall
November 20, 2019 · Comment icon 9 comments

Is there anyone out there ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Hajor
The research organization is today celebrating 35 years of searching for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence.
Founded in Mountain View, California back on November 20th, 1984, the SETI Institute has made it its mission to systematically scan the skies for evidence that we are not alone in the universe.

Certainly a lot has changed since the institute's humble beginnings, including the construction of the Allen Telescope Array in the Cascade Mountains and the discovery of several thousand extrasolar planets - distant worlds that may or may not have the potential to harbor intelligent life.

After more than three decades however, scientists have still barely scratched the surface.

Co-founder Jill Tarter, who was the inspiration for Jodie Foster's character in the movie Contact, has previously compared the hunt for evidence of extraterrestrial life in the universe to someone trying to find fish in the Earth's oceans by examining a single glass of water.
Even so, one of the SETI Institute's major achievements over the decades has been to bring the idea of finding extraterrestrial life into the limelight and to make it a more acceptable topic of research.

"It's become more mainstream to talk about the search for life in the universe," said astronomer Jason Wright. "I think Carl Sagan took a lot of heat for framing astronomy in terms of finding humanity's place in the cosmos and answering the question, 'Are we alone?' but that vision of his has become standard."

"The SETI Institute has embodied that in all the astrobiology research that it does."

So what are the chances that SETI will one day discover evidence of intelligent alien life ?

As things stand it's impossible to say, but scientists are determined to keep searching.

Source: Inside Science | Comments (9)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Robotic Jew 5 years ago
I wish I could get paid for 35 years of failure...wait...i'm currently on year 38....nevermind. 
Comment icon #2 Posted by David Thomson 5 years ago
I agree, 35 years of government funding with no results... And they are celebrating?
Comment icon #3 Posted by DreadLordAvatar 5 years ago
They have to try.  And it must be gruelling work, the constant work effort, optimism, energy, and the absence of any results.  Congratulations SETI, well deserved celebration, here’s to the next 35 yrs!
Comment icon #4 Posted by Desertrat56 5 years ago
Maybe they have become like a union, keep doing what they are doing to preserve their organization and make money.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Mello_ 5 years ago
I believe where is plate tectonics there is a life.
Comment icon #6 Posted by AllPossible 5 years ago
I agree. The healthcare system in the US has failed for years so at least theyre failing at something thats interesting
Comment icon #7 Posted by bison 5 years ago
For the record, the SETI Institute receives no federal funding for its search for extraterrestrial intelligence. All such funding comes from private donations.  The SETI institute receives funding from federal entities like NASA and the National Science Foundation for doing research deemed valuable by these organizations, in the field of astrobiology. 
Comment icon #8 Posted by toast 5 years ago
Add your age between the brackets ( ) years of cluelessness, but I dont care.
Comment icon #9 Posted by DieChecker 5 years ago
Happy Birthday SETI. I always try to build you before everyone else in Civilization.

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