Vulcans, Daleks, Martians, Grays – our culture is pervaded by alien beings from distant worlds – some benevolent…most not so much, observes the BBC: “In our galaxy alone, there should be tens of billions of planets harboring life, but we have not heard any broadcasts or seen any flashing lights from distant civilizations. Sixty years ago, the journal Nature published a paper suggesting the best way to search for alien life was by listening for radio signals. Within months, astronomer Frank Drake had begun scanning nearby star systems and SETI was born.”
SETI chief astronomer Seth Shostak talks to Drake about whether his lifetime’s effort has been worthwhile.
Based in Silicon Valley, California, chief astronomer for SETI (the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), Shostak, has devoted his career to searching for signs of alien life. In this program he tackles this fundamental question about whether we are alone in the universe.
He speaks to Jill Tarter, inspiration for Jodie Foster’s character in the movie Contact, hears about a major new listening project and visits a lab where techniques are being developed to monitor light communications from distant worlds.
Shostak also talks to a scientist devising techniques to send messages to ET, which could bring aliens calling… but not necessarily in a good way. One theory suggests that aliens may have been watching Earth for years and have decided we are best avoided.
(Photo: A human astronaut making first contact with a Reptoid Alien being. Credit: Education Images/UIG via Getty Images)