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Waving to Aliens

February 13, 2015

Is it time to actively signal civilizations that might exist beyond earth?



Allen Telescope Array at the SETI Institute

Allen Telescope Array (SETI Institute)

Sending a big hello to ET. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

The SETI Institute scans the heavens, looking for a beacon sent by an alien civilization. SETI researcher Douglas Vakoch thinks now it’s time for a program called Active SETI.


Active SETI involves transmitting an intentional signal saying “we want to make contact.”

At the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, he and other scientists, like David Grinspoon of the Planetary Science Institute, discussed what such a message might say and who would say it.

DAVID GRINSPOON (Planetary Science Institute):

It’s an action that is inherently global, done on behalf of the people, or even the creatures, of Earth.


As to whether the signal might draw the attention of an evil civilization, they point out that aliens advanced enough to reach earth would also be advanced enough to pick up the light and broadcast signals we’re already producing. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.