SETI Array searching for life in habitable zone

SETI dish

SETI Array

SETI search now focused on stars with planets

The Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence is once again back on. Last April SETI had to turn off their equipment due to a lack of funding. Recently they raised enough money through private donations to turn the large array of telescopes towards the stars again. This time they will have increased the odds of finding something.

The Kepler mission has recently found the first planet that is orbiting another star within the habitable zone. This means we have now officially found another planet that could have earth like conditions…for life. In the last 18 months the mission has discovered 2,236 planets that might also be in a similar habitable zone.

SETI is going to focus it’s search on the most promising 1000 of these. In the past SETI had no idea if the stars they were pointing at had any planets at all. Now not only do they know these stars have planets, they know they have planets that could be in an area where life could be supported. Of course one in particular Kepler-22b IS in this life supporting sweet spot.

SETI at home is the project that uses the power of the internet and down time of personal computers to sift through all of this data in the search for life. Anyone can join and if you are the lucky person who finds life they will make you co-discoverer and your name will go down in history.

This is actually a very exciting development, we have no idea how prevalent life is in the universe and if there is life how much if it has technology that can be detected. “This is a superb opportunity for SETI observations,” Jill Tarter, director of the Center for SETI Research at the SETI Institute, said in a statement. “For the first time, we can point our telescopes at stars, and know that those stars actually host planetary systems — including at least one that begins to approximate an Earth analogue in the habitable zone around its host star. That’s the type of world that might be home to a civilization capable of building radio transmitters.”

There is now no doubt that there ARE planets out there that are in the correct orbit to support life. If life is indeed out there it is still a long shot to find, but now our aim may be a bit better and we may just get in a lucky shot. Good luck SETI!


About the author

Recipient of many prestigious NASA Awards including the Exceptional Public Service Medal and the Robert H. Goddard award. Experience includes working for NASA, as a contractor, in satellite design, construction and operations. Expert in the satellite operations concepts and ground systems including command, control, and science data processing.