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RE: SETI
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Senior astronomer at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute in California, Seth Shostak participates in the scientific search for intelligent life in the cosmos. Polls routinely show that the majority of the public believes that were not the only thinking beings in a universe that is both old and enormously vast. Shostak will tell us how scientists are trying to find out whether that belief is just a fondness for some cosmic company, or a suspicion that can be proven using the sharp and objective tools of science.
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Massive Stars: Good Targets for Planet Hunts, Bad Targets for SETI

Most searches for planets around other stars, also known as exoplanets, focus on Sun-like stars. Those searches have proven successful, turning up more than 400 alien worlds. However, Sun-like stars aren't the only potential homes for planets. New research by astronomers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics (CfA) and the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) confirms that planet formation is a natural by-product of star formation, even around stars much heftier than the Sun.

"We see evidence of planet formation on fast forward" - Xavier Koenig of the CfA, who presented the research in a press conference today at the 215th meeting of the American Astronomical Society.

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Seth Shostak, senior astronomer at Seti (the search for extraterrestrial intelligence), discusses the latest developments in the project.
The topics covered in this extended interview include what form signals from an alien civilisation would take, what ET might look like, the day Seti astronomers thought they had made contact, and what a confirmed signal would mean for planet Earth.

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METI
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The Why of METI and SETI

About a decade ago while attending a SETI conference, I was listening to a researcher give a talk about detecting messages from other galaxies such as the giant elliptical galaxy Messier 87 and the immense Virgo galactic cluster it resides in. Since M87 is about 60 million light years from the Milky Way, I later asked him why would someone send a message that they could not hope to get a reply to for 120 million years at the least.
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A former school district employee is accused of using school computers in an experiment to find space aliens, costing the worker his job and the district more than $1 million.
School officials say that Brad Niesluchowski, who was Higley Unified School District's information technology director, downloaded free software on district computers in 2000.

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Title: Testing SETI Message Designs
Authors: Michael W. Busch, Rachel M. Reddick

Much work in SETI has focused on detecting radio broadcasts due to extraterrestrial intelligence, but there have been limited efforts to transmit messages over interstellar distances. As a check if such messages can be interpreted once received, we conducted a blind test. One of us coded a 75-kilobit message, which the other then attempted to decipher. The decryption was accurate, supporting the message design as a general structure for communicating with aliens capable of detecting narrow-band radio transmissions.

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Drake equation
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The famous American astronomer and astrophysicist Carl Sagan explains the Drake equation.
The Drake equation (rarely also called the Green Bank equation or the Sagan equation) is a famous result in the speculative fields of xenobiology, astrosociobiology and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.

The Drake equation states that:
N = R* x fp x ne x fl x fi x fc x L, where:

N is the number of civilizations in our galaxy, with which we might hope to be able to communicate;

R* is the rate of star formation in our galaxy
fp is the fraction of those stars that have planets
ne is the average number of planets that can potentially support life per star that has planets
fl is the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop life at some point
fi is the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop intelligent life
fc is the fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence into space
L is the length of time such civilizations release detectable signals into space.

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BOINC
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Version 6.10 of the BOINC client software has been released for general use. Download it here.

(7.33 MB)

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Do aliens pollute their planets? Let's hope they do, as this would give us a promising way of spotting where they live.
Radio noise may be too short-lived to help us find aliens, if our own activity is any guide. During most of the 20th century, our television transmission antennas leaked a lot of their energy into space. More recently, they have begun to be supplanted by satellites that beam their transmissions at the ground, as well as by cable. Inquisitive aliens searching for signs of intelligent life on Earth may soon have to look elsewhere.

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