"On This Day" In Engineering History Blog

"On This Day" In Engineering History

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November 20 - SETI Institute is founded

Posted November 20, 2007 6:00 AM by julie

On this day in engineering history the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute is founded. The SETI Institute is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to scientific research, education, and public outreach. The mission of the SETI Institute is to explore, understand, and explain the origin, nature, and prevalence of life in the universe. The general approach of SETI projects is to survey the sky to detect the existence of transmissions from civilizations on distant planets.

Although the Institute wasn't officially founded until 1984, various SETI programs were in existence as early as 1960. For example, in 1960 Cornell University astronomer Frank Drake performed the first modern SETI experiment. Drake used a 25-meter-diameter radio telescope at Green Bank, West Virginia to examine the stars Tau Ceti and Epsilon Eridani. A 400 kilohertz band was scanned around the marker frequency of 1.420 gigahertz, using a single-channel receiver with a bandwidth of 100 hertz. The search resulted in nothing of great interest.

The most famous SETI incident to date occurred on August 15, 1977 when Dr. Jerry R. Ehman, a project volunteer, witnessed a startlingly strong signal received by the telescope. He quickly circled the indication on a printout and scribbled the phrase "Wow!" in the margin. This signal, dubbed the "Wow! signal", is considered by some to be the most likely candidate from an artificial, extraterrestrial source ever discovered, but it has not been detected again in several additional searches. These sort of signals do not appear today as the ability to verify if signals represent man-made objects have been improved. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that the "WOW!" signal was of Alien origin.

There are great challenges in searching across the sky for a first transmission that could be characterized as intelligent; this is especially difficult because its direction, spectrum, and method of communication are all unknown beforehand. SETI projects necessarily make assumptions to narrow the search and thus, no exhaustive search has been conducted so far. The Institute today employs over 100 scientists, educators, and support staff.






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Re: November 20 - SETI Institute is founded

11/21/2007 2:07 PM

There was ahuge show of on discovery years ago , even though we are to primitive to know universe as whole , there is no denying aliens existence.universe it seems is infinite in space and time as far as our units are concerned , with billions of stars there may be life supporting planets revolving around them and intelligent creatures having civilization near or greater than ours is also possible , but real issue is distance and technology compatiblility , these beings may have different approach with respect to there surroundings and so there technology may be different from ours , they may use different source for communication , different frequency band that our electronics and climate doesn`t support even if they sent signals in electromagnetic form that are known to us , it may be possible these signals die out for shear distance it has to travel ,with solar and cosmic noise induced , also signal travels approx with light speed and suppose sender is 5000 light years from us it must have send signals 5000years ago if we hear it now so may be they have advanced technology by now and forgot those ancient ones .

These aliens must have visited our planet some centuries ago , and helped mankind achieve certain tasks considered imposible even today and termed as gods at that times , may be someday we get mysteries of the universe unvield and redefine physics so we get there or have technology capable of scanning galalxies for life forms and let SETI take further step and do the good work. but on earth we have huge tasks to perform to protect it from exploitations of human greed and preserve her ecology uptill now we understand we have only one home .

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Re: November 20 - SETI Institute is founded

11/21/2007 11:06 PM

So, for twenty-three years SETI has devoted thousands(?); millions(?) of dollars towards something that has yet to produce any results. What is driving the continued efforts or these people, and what contribution to the improvement of mankind has been realized?

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