SETI is a research project dedicated to finding proof of intelligent life in our galaxy. Researcher Jill Tarter, the base of Jodi Foster’s character in the movie “Contact”, describes the project, “SETI uses the tools of astronomy to try and find the evidence of someone else’s technology out there.”
Every radio, television, and cell phone signal is unintentionally beamed into space. The signal of a song you heard on the radio yesterday is far beyond the solar system right now. Researchers hope to detect byproducts of technology released by other civilizations.
According to researcher Seth Shostak, “Recent results suggest that virtually every star has planets, and more than one, they’re like kittens, you get a litter.” An accurate estimate of planets in our galaxy is more than twice the number of stars, more than 200 billion. Shostak shares an insider bet, “The smart money is suggesting the fraction of planets that might be suitable to life is one in 1,000” This means there are around a billion cousins to earth in our galaxy alone.
Advancing telescopes allow SETI to listen to a million star systems with planets, compared to a handful in the 1960s. Shostak gives the bottom line, “because of the increase in speed and because of the vast amount of habitable real-estate in the cosmos, I figure we are going to pick up a signal within the next two dozen years.” If signals are colliding with earth, they are colliding with you, right now, and contribute to some of the static seen on TV’s.
Jill Tarter describes, “We, all of us, are what happens when a primordial mixture of hydrogen and helium evolves for so long that it begins to ask where it came from.” Why would galaxies, stars, planets, elements, even weather all be inevitable repeating consequences of the universe, but not life?
There is a very real possibility mankind may soon discover the universe is not empty, but teeming with consciousness. Earth, the location of all human history, may become as Jill describes, “A fragile island of life in a Universe of possibilities”