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SETI Star Survey

June 6, 2011

Astronomers are listening for radio signals from star systems that are most likely to harbor life.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

A targeted search for intelligent life …I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

If there’s intelligent life beyond our planet, we’re more likely to detect it from radio signals coming from alien civilizations than from approaching space ships. UC Berkeley astronomer Dan Werthimer, who directs the SETI Program, says that in the past, its radio telecopes have surveyed the entire sky for signals. But now that NASA’s Kepler spacecraft has identified 86 stars with planets in the habitable zone, they’re conducting a more targeted search.

DAN WERTHIMER (UC Berkeley):

Very careful observations looking for radio signals coming from these 86 stars.

HIRSHON:

He says they’ll gather a total of 800 terabytes of data, and it will take about a year for computers around the world to sift through all of it, looking for signals that could be the product of intelligent civilizations. If you’d like to lend your computer to the effort, check out setiathome.berkeley.edu. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.