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SETI hopes to utilize a new telescope array that is being developed specifically for searching for extraterrestrial life

The Silicon Valley Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute is working alongside the University of California, Berkeley to develop the Allen Telescope Array (ATA) – a specialized radio telescope being created so that the organization's scientists have a dedicated tool to hunt for extraterrestrial intelligence. The construction is being paid for with a $12 million grant from Microsoft's Paul Allen. The ATA should be able to consistently run 24/7, where as other devices used by SETI could only be utilized several times a year.

Additionally, the Search will expand by adding a new center to its portfolio. The Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe will allow SETI to have its own radio-telescope array and facilities to use for research. The Sagan Center will also hopefully give SETI scientists a reliable source of funding.

The SETI@home distributed computing effort currently has over 3 million users worldwide still attempting to detect intelligent life on planets besides Earth.

A number of nations are trying to build the world's largest radio telescope in 2020 in a location that hasn't yet been agreed upon. The Square Kilometer Array will be built in either South Africa or western Australia. Scientists believe it will be able to pick up something like modern day airport radar system signals from millions of stars in Earth's galaxy.

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By GoatMonkey on 10/18/2006 8:32:12 AM , Rating: 5
Why does the search exclude unintelligent life? That would be pretty interesting too, and they wouldn't even need to change the acronym. "Search for Extraterrestrial Idiots". There you go.

RE: Intelligent?
By jskirwin on 10/18/2006 8:55:07 AM , Rating: 2
You might be on to something there. Maybe the search for "intelligent life" is flawed by definition.

Maybe we would be much more successful in searching for "Extraterrestrial Idiots" - an ET Jerry Springer Show perhaps?

RE: Intelligent?
By superkdogg on 10/18/2006 10:44:18 AM , Rating: 4
Good point. Maybe the aliens are running SETI too and found Earth but ruled us out based on the intelligence criterion.

RE: Intelligent?
By BladeVenom on 10/18/2006 12:09:24 PM , Rating: 3
Why even look for intelligence on other planets, when it's hard enough to even find it here?

RE: Intelligent?
By plowak on 10/18/2006 2:05:07 PM , Rating: 2
Personally, I'm for the use of the character "x" for the unknown. So now the acronym becomes - what's on our waking minds most of the day: SEX

RE: Intelligent?
By plinden on 10/18/2006 2:11:08 PM , Rating: 3
Why does the search exclude unintelligent life?

Perhaps because unintelligent life is unlikely to be broadcasting radio signals.

RE: Intelligent?
By PrinceGaz on 10/18/2006 2:14:35 PM , Rating: 3
If you lived here in the UK and had the misfortune to listen to Chris Moyles on the radio, your opinion would probably differ :p

RE: Intelligent?
By leidegre on 10/18/2006 2:22:23 PM , Rating: 2
Actually i think they include bacteria in the assumption of intelligent life. Or atleast you get the idea, that they do...

Anyhow, it would be amazing if they found animals of other worlds, event though it's probably sci-fi it would be cool, I don't care what it is, as long it has 2 or more legs, and orgin from Space ;)

RE: Intelligent?
By KristopherKubicki on 10/18/2006 2:23:34 PM , Rating: 4
Some people, Steven Hawking included, fear we are probably unintentionally exposing ourself to hostile life by broadcasting into the atmosphere constantly. Given the fact that "advanced" civilizations on earth almost always destroyed less advanced civilizations (Colonization of America, destruction of the Aztecs and Incas, destruction of the African tribes, destruction of the native Pacific Islanders by the Japanese, etc) -- do we really want to risk letting other beings know we're here?

RE: Intelligent?
By Scorpion on 10/18/2006 3:09:53 PM , Rating: 2
But there is also a general consensus among scientists that an extraterrestrial life would not have malicious intent towards us. We seem to be saying opposite things, and I was not aware that hawkings feels that we are "exposing" ourselves.

So to address the notion that we are "unintentionally exposing ourselves", how so? These Radio telescopes are intended to receive signals, not transmit them. The search for "intelligent" life (meaning they've got the capacity to generate electromagnetic energy which we may detect) has always been about "listening" not "talking". However, we "talk" all of the time, and there really is no way around it, unless you want to develop a large faraday cage that surrounds the entire earth, and well we can all imagine how ridiculous that would be. By nature EM signals radiate in all directions, even the ones we focus get scattered everywhere. The only way around that would be to make all signals travel along "guided" transmission channels. And well, that would be the literal opposite of the booming wi-fi (I can't stand that term. Wireless Fidelity? That term is such a misnomer and not used correctly) movement.

Honestly, I'm not so sure that what we radiate is even strong enough to be detected much farther than a few light years away. There are so many competing signals that leave the atmosphere, overlapping each other in frequency, that far away it probably appears like noise. Now, it may be "strong" noise, which would indicate our presence. And this is what SETI is searching for. We're not searching for a "Hello Universe" message, but for unusual EM signals, which aren't generated by celestial bodies.

So, really, I think the notion of "unintentionally exposing ourselves" is preposterous for the reasons I just gave. Sorry I made this so lengthy... I doubt anyone will read this now haha. :)

RE: Intelligent?
By Micah on 10/18/2006 5:49:18 PM , Rating: 2
Conquest is usually about resources and economics. There is nothing on Earth that is not in abundance everywhere else in the universe. Therefore, there is absolutely no reason to travel all the intervening distance to conquer us. That's like sailing around the world to stomp on some ants. What's the point?

More likely, we'll get buzzed by teenage jerkoff aliens out for a good time in their daddy's borrowed convertible UFO. They get drunk and start probing folks they grab off of deserted highways.

RE: Intelligent?
By Scorpion on 10/18/2006 3:16:05 PM , Rating: 2
Because there's not much of a way to detect "unintelligent" life, unless its in our own solar system. "Unintelligent" life does not broadcast radio signals or any other EM signals(at least not with enough energy to be detected many light years away). That's why the term "intelligent" is used when describing this method of searching for ETs. Searching for "unintelligent" life involves physically probing a celestial body looking for less advanced life forms.

Aliens will LAFF!
By feraltoad on 10/18/2006 4:20:51 AM , Rating: 5
I bet the aliens will really laugh about how we contacted them so they could destroy/enslave/eat us.

<Mail Flap Opens>
<Wife Picks Up Card>
June: "Honey, the termites in the attic just asked us to RSVP on their extermination."
Ward: "Termites? (chuckles) I guess it's time to call the Orkin Man then." <ruffles paper>
the Beaver:<blood down his chin> "Gee Mom, Eddie bet me I wouldn't eat glass, and I guess I did"
June&Ward: "Oh, Beaver!" <everyone laughs>

RE: Aliens will LAFF!
By nah on 10/18/2006 4:57:41 AM , Rating: 2
Assuming they exist !

RE: Aliens will LAFF!
By GoatMonkey on 10/18/2006 8:27:43 AM , Rating: 3
Have a look at my house. There is undeniable proof that termites exist.

By Xavian on 10/18/2006 4:03:57 AM , Rating: 3
Cue the tonnes of comments about 'i dont help SETI, i think folding or some such other project is more worth my cpu cycles'

RE: cue.
By ADDAvenger on 10/18/2006 5:15:42 AM , Rating: 3
Well, since you invited, I'll say it. I run F@H, but odds are that any aliens that may exist are so far away that I don't care; it'd take decades to make physical contact with even our theoretical vehicles like Project Orion or some such.
That is, unless there's a whole Star Trek Vulcan-pulls-us-into-utopia kind of thing where they already go faster than light; but them coming to help us out would violate the Prime Directive, so the point is rather moot.

Anyway, regardless of any ridiculousness that may be going on, it's good to see a variety of articles covered and a variety of adventures mentioned.

RE: cue.
By Dfere on 10/18/2006 1:25:30 PM , Rating: 1
So you believe that if we found signals of intelligent life on other planets, it might not help bring about a new focus and fervor to scientific funding across the world? It might not help get children in schools excited about sciences, it might not give humanity one more thing in common, if not a common drive, at least a common goal? This is incredibly shortsighted. If indeed we prove existing (or existed) advanced civiliations, EVERYTHING would change, at least as we view things.

Let me see... we obtained no practical benefits from the space race either, huh?

By driesdriessens on 10/18/2006 7:48:33 AM , Rating: 3
if you think a 1 square kilometer/mile antenna is big

what then about a 300-500km big antenna?:-)

RE: huge???
By Goty on 10/18/2006 8:41:56 AM , Rating: 2
That'll be nice until someone builds an airport nearby or they lunch some more GPS satellites and you have to wipe out a huge section of you data due to interference.

Hopefully no one is using SETI client anymore
By imaheadcase on 10/18/2006 8:53:22 AM , Rating: 3
Use the computer CPU for something usefull with real results.

I looked at BOINC stats yesterday at like %40 of the clients had SETi running, goodness people use it for something practical. rosetta is a good one, even folding if you want.


By FITCamaro on 10/18/2006 9:29:57 AM , Rating: 1
I place far more confidence in trying to find a way off this damn planet in the future. Maybe if we prove there's life out there, NASA's budget will stop getting slashed.

By Xietsu on 10/18/2006 7:04:25 AM , Rating: 3

I haven't made any directives into the establishment of such credibility behind this footage and I really have quite a few other attendings to which a greater degree of significance is currently attached; and, as such, would request that someone here make dealings with the endeavor that I have sought to but am currently unable to make. Yeah. I'm a wiener like that.

intelligent life..
By omgomg on 10/18/2006 1:42:49 PM , Rating: 3
Quote "Why is the search for unintelligent life excluded "
guess what ?.. we already know where that is.. hint.. whitehouse,senate,politicians etc..

Is it worthed ?
By armagedon on 10/18/2006 11:39:55 AM , Rating: 2
why should we foot the bill for that task ? If the aliens are so advanced, they should look by themselves and find us !
Ah, may be they did already and are not interested. We're like viruses which consumes planet's ressources while destroying the environements. We should be avoided as a planetarian decease.
US reached 300 millions peoples and counting. More viruses devoring ressources at an alarming rate and excreting millions of tons of garbages a day. Why would aliens be interested in our specy ? Well, may be to wipe us out and save the earth, a jewell in the universe. I think i would understand them, lets make room for a more responsable specy.

The answer is pretty simple
By RyanHirst on 10/18/2006 3:12:36 PM , Rating: 2
SHORT ANSWER: We are searching for intelligent life because it's the only kind we CAN search for, conclusively. We can't really search for life on other planets at all-- we can search for signals in space.

Think of it this way: Let us say there is an alien civilization living on one of the planets in the Milky Way. Grant them all of our current technology, but no more. Now-- how can they find us? The answer, before the first human radio transmissions, is that they could not. Our ability to be DETECTED depend on us transmitting a detectable signal. Even now, it depends on our signals having had time to reach them.

We search for unintelligent life all the time: we try to detect planetary bodies and determine their composition. But a planet we tag as potentially life-carrying will never be upgraded to "known life" unless they send us a signal or we visit the planet ourselves.

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke

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