Help To Discover ET

Due to the recent explosion of potential planetary systems released by Kepler earlier this year, scientists dedicated to the search for ET now have a better idea of where to look. With more than one thousand planets to choose from it may seem like a daunting task, but the most popular planets are the ones with properties similar to that of earth. Temperatures from around 0-100 degrees Celsius have caught the eyes of SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) scientists.

Since SETI’s Allen Telescope Array was (temporarily) shut down for financial reasons this past April, scientists are using different technology to continue in the pursuit for advanced life on another world. Earlier this month the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope, the largest steerable radio telescope in the world, started to look at stars with potential planets around them. Once the scientists at UC Berkley have obtained a substantial amount of data, they will begin processing the information. And here is where you come in.

In 1999 SETI decided to take advantage of the growing technological universe by establishing an online download that anyone with a computer can access. This download actually allows SETI to use some of your computer’s power to conduct data analysis. It’s called SETI@home and with more than 3 million users it is considered one of the largest distributed computing efforts of today. This approach has successfully replaced the work of the supercomputer that SETI used before implementing SETI@home.

So, with all of the new Kepler data coming in, and SETI’s newly directed efforts the discovery of ET might be closer than ever. Becoming a SETI@home user, you could aid in earth’s first out-of-this-world experience with another life intelligent life form. I am not a current SETI@home user, but after I’m finished with this post I will definitely be looking into it.

For a more detailed article on SETI’s new mission using Kepler data see this article.

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