Text Size

Stardrive

There was clearly intelligent life at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Diego, held February 18-22. In particular, I had the good fortune to sit down with Jill Tarter, Bernard M. Oliver Chair for SETI Research and Director, Center for SETI Research at the SETI Institute. The mission of SETI, which stands for Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, is to explore, understand and explain the origin, nature and prevalence of life in the universe, according to its website. SETI scientists, of which there are approximately 150, essentially listen and look for signals from space that would demonstrate there is intelligent life out there.

Remember the movie Contact? Jodie Foster's character, the driven astronomer who first noticed the strange sounds coming from the VLA, is based on Jill Tarter. This intrepid scientist, whose undergraduate degree is in engineering physics, has what some may argue is the best and most difficult job in the world: trying to find evidence of an alien civilization. To date, says Tarter, we haven't gotten a call or a text from ET, but that doesn't stop her and her team from doing what they can to locate that needle in the proverbial haystack. The next star system is 25,000 light years away from us, so her operation may take awhile.

To read the rest of the article, click here.