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Q: Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence
Category: Science > Astronomy
Asked by: carolinerobinson-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 17 Dec 2003 18:47 PST
Expires: 16 Jan 2004 18:47 PST
Question ID: 288178
What organizations, both governmental and private industry, are
currently involved in the search for ETI, by sending/receiving radio
signals, the use of telescopes or using other SCIENTIFIC means of
detection and validation?
Subject: Re: Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence
Answered By: serenata-ga on 17 Dec 2003 21:35 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi Caroline Robinson ~

Here are some of the more well-known projects in the search for extra
terrestrial intelligence (SETI):

1. The SETI Institute

I think the most well-known research for extra-terrestrial life is
that being funded or conducted by the SETI Institute, whose mission is
to "explore, understand and explain the origin, nature and prevalence
of life in the universe."

Incorporated in 1984, the purpose of the Institute, as defined at that
time and still true today, is to

     "conduct scientific research and educational projects
      relevant to the origin, nature, prevalence, and distri-
      bution of life in the universe. This work includes two
      primary research areas: 1) SETI, and 2) Life in the
      Universe. Concurrent with its research focus, the
      Institute strives to contribute to both formal and
      informal science education related to these fields of
      interest. Over its eighteen year history, the Institute
      has administered over $150 million of funded research."
      [From SETI's History Page]

Next month, The SETI Institute plans to take the first three dishes of
 the Allen Telescope Array in Northern California online in a targeted
search within the Milky Way. Information and a photo of the first
three dishes can be found on Sky & Telescope's article, "The Allen
Telescope Array: SETI's Next Big Step" online here:

2. UC Berkeley's SETI Program, SERENDIP

SERENDIP (Search for Extraterrestrial Radio Emissions from Nearby
Developed Intelligent Populations) is an ongoing scientific research
effort aimed at detecting radio signals from extraterrestrial

     "The project is the world's only "piggyback" SETI
      system, operating alongside simultaneously conducted
      conventional radio astronomy observations."
      [From SERENDIP website]

The site is undergoing major reconstruction, but the old site can be
viewed from here:

3. The Targeted Optical SETI at Harvard / Smithsonian

Unlike those studies relying on narrow band radio signals, this
project is based at Harvard University and Oak Ridge Observatory and
is used to detect a pulsed laser beacon signal.

Referred to as OSETI (for optical), information on this project can be found here:

Those are the major SETI studies currently active and in place, but it
should be noted that The SETI Institute funds many experiements and
studies ongoing which come under the wings of and often piggyback on
ongoing searches. Some of those are:

A. Project Phoenix

Project Phoenix is the continuation of a failed SETI search designed
by NASA and canceled by Congress in 1993. The SETI Institute secured
the equipment to continue the targeted search that already had 58
million government dollars invested in it.

     "Project Phoenix is "targeted search", performing sensitive
      examinations of relatively few targets (1,000 mostly sun-
      like stars, closer than 200 light-years and older than
      three billion years, as well as all other closest stars
      regardless of their type)."
      [From "S.E.T.I.: The Search for Extraterrestrial
      Intelligence" by Dustin Gebhard, 6/24/02]

More information on Project Phoenix can be found in Sky&Telescope online here:


Serendip4 is suspended high above the Arecibo dish with multiple other
receivers. The program scans for narrowband signals wherever the dish
is aimed by its controlling radio astronomers involved in other
research. A photo of the dish and information on the Arecibo project
can be found here:

SERENDIP4 instruments are used by the Australian SETI group at the
Parkes telescope, the Italian SETI group at the Medicina Observatory,
and OSU is using a four million channel version of the program for
SETI research at the OSU radio Observatory.


SETI@home is an extension of Project SERENDIP. Created in 1998, this
project allows volunteers to use their home PC to analyze the SETI
radio data. It works by installing itself as your computer's default
screensaver. When the computer is not in use, the program fetches a
350 kb file of data, a "work unit", recorded by the SERENDIP receiver.

More information about the SETI#Home Project can be found here:

Also The Planetary Society - "New and Improved SETI@home will Form the
Backbone of Distributed Computing Network" (in conjunction Berkeley
Open Infrastructure for Network Computing)

Additional Resources:

The Planetary Society - SETI

The SETI League - Comparing five current projects
   - - SETI: Search for Life

Sky & Telescope - SETI: Searching for Life

Search Technologies:

   - search extraterrestrial intelligence
   - SETI
   - current SETI projects

What an interesting question about a very interesting topic. Thanks
for asking, because the information and scope is fascinating.


Google Answers Researcher
carolinerobinson-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $10.00
Exactly what I was looking for, I should have included 'global
seekers', but that's another question...Kudos to serenata, thanks.

Subject: Re: Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence
From: serenata-ga on 18 Dec 2003 15:11 PST
Hi again, Caroline ~

For "global", you might want to look closer at the links for Serendip4
and The SETI Institute. They have piggyback projects in Italy and the
southern hemisphere.

I also want to thank you for the rating and the generous tip. That was
a very nice thing for you to do.

Happy holidays to you,

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