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SETI

At the core of our explorations is the quest to know if life exists beyond Earth. The Planetary Society is a leader in the search for life on other worlds, whether intelligent or microbial. Our active projects: SETI Optical Telescope - Looking for laser signals beamed across the vastness of space. SETI Radio Searches - Huge radio dishes sift through nature's random noise for beacons from other civilizations.

SETI Projects

Optical SETI

In 2006, The Planetary Society unveiled the first All-Sky Optical SETI (OSETI) telescope. Funded by The Planetary Society and operated by a Harvard University team, it's completely dedicated to capturing that one pulse of light that might be a communication.

SETI Radio Searches

One faint signal from light-years away could prove we're not alone in this universe. The Planetary Society is committed to finding that signal -- tirelessly surveying the skies with our Southern SETI project and our Optical SETI Telescope. You can be a part of these projects and help us keep the search going.

SETI@home

SETI@home is the most successful public participation science project in history, and it is dedicated to searching for a signal from the stars. The Planetary Society made it all possible.

Project Updates

Keeping an Ear to the Center of the Galaxy, Southern SETI Prepares for Great Leap Forward

Amir Alexander • February 26, 2007

Located in the southern part of the continent of South America, Southern SETI has a continuous view of densest star-fields in our galaxy. And, since 1990, it has been sponsored and supported by The Planetary Society.

With Observations in Full Swing, Team Prepares to Remove "Sunglasses" from Telescope

Amir Alexander • February 26, 2007

Winter time is observing time at the Oak Ridge Observatory in Massachusetts, when humidity is low and the sky is often clear. And so it has been for the Optical SETI telescope, which opened its doors in April 2006.

Telescope Goes "Semi-Automatic"

Andrew Howard • October 20, 2006

Andrew Howard talks about the "semi-automated" nature of the observations from the Optical SETI telescope.

With Multi-Beam Receiver, SETI@home Takes Giant Step Forward

Amir Alexander • August 14, 2006

In seven intense days spent at the radio telescope Chief scientist Dan Werthimer and his colleagues completely overhauled the way SETI data is gathered at Arecibo, and ensured that SETI@home will henceforth enjoy the benefits of gathering data with the most advanced equipment anywhere in the world.

Telescope shows its Amazing Capabilities

Bruce Betts • July 11, 2006

During a few observation sessions in late April, the new Optical SETI Telescope was already demonstrating its amazing capabilities. Over three nights, the telescope completed 17 hours of observation, under the direction of Paul Horowitz and his team of Harvard graduate students. During that time, the telescope observed 1% of the sky, looking for the briefest flashes of light coming from outer space.

Searching for E.T. and the Cure for Cancer:The Planetary Society Helps Trigger a Computing Revolution

Charlene Anderson and Amir Alexander • July 07, 2006

Planetary Society members truly have helped pioneer new techniques in the conduct of science. Our initial investment has returned amazing results that will continue to deliver benefits over years to come.

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