Tag: SETI Institute

NASA Needs Your Help in the Search for Alien Life

Article by Becky Ferreira                                  October 2, 2020                                 (vice.com)

• Since the 1990s, scientists have discovered thousands of exoplanets throughout our galaxy contain a dizzying variety of extraterrestrial environments, some of which may host life.

• On September 29th, NASA launched the citizen science project ‘Planet Patrol’ on Zooniverse, inviting volunteers to join the hunt for new exoplanets by examining images snapped by the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), which has been in orbit around Earth since 2018.
• Veselin Kostov, a research scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland and the SETI Institute in California, said the project has already attracted more than 1,600 participants who have collectively delivered 100,000 individual classifications in just three days.

• “Citizen science projects are a great way to engage our built-in, never-ending curiosity about the world we live in,” says Kostov. Planet Patrol can also “promote a sense of a community pursuing the common goal of understanding the universe and our place in it.”

• The TESS satellite is designed to spot exoplanets as they pass in front of the stars they orbit, causing the star’s brightness to fade slightly. If these light dips occur at regular intervals, it’s a good sign that a planet may be present. Once the existence of an exoplanet has been confirmed, scientists can conduct follow-up observations that reveal basic properties of the distant world, including whether it might be habitable. For this reason, exoplanet-hunting is an important component of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI).

• Scientists use automated software and machine learning to sift through the hundreds of thousands of pictures TESS takes each year. These systems can flag likely exoplanets to a certain extent, but they have trouble recognizing “imposter” false transit events. For instance, binary systems that contain two stars can produce a light dip, or instrument and/or astrophysical noise that distort the TESS images, which automated processing software might accidentally catalog as an exoplanet candidate. “The human eye is very good at quickly and reliably spotting such image distortions,” says Kostov.

• Planet Patrol participants are tasked with evaluating the quality of TESS images used to distinguish between potential false positives and bona-fide planet candidates. It’s the latest of several exoplanet-hunting platforms that have benefitted from the time and dedication of amateur space enthusiasts, such as Planet Hunters and Exoplanet Explorers. Says Kostov, “My hope is that the project sparks a continuous interest in exoplanets in particular and in astrophysics in general.”

 

Since the 1990s, scientists have discovered thousands of exoplanets, which are worlds that orbit stars other than the Sun, revealing that our galaxy

                       Veselin Kostov

contains a dizzying variety of extraterrestrial environments, some of which may host life.

Now, NASA is inviting volunteers to join the hunt for new exoplanets by examining images snapped by the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), which has been in orbit around Earth since 2018.

On Monday, NASA launched the citizen science project Planet Patrol on Zooniverse, enabling anyone with an internet connection to spot and classify likely exoplanets in TESS’ starry images.

Veselin Kostov, a research scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland and the SETI Institute in California, said the project already has more than 1,600 participants who have collectively delivered 100,000 individual classifications in just three days.

“Citizen science projects are a great way to engage our built-in, never-ending curiosity about the world we live in—be it our own planet or a planet a hundred light years away,” said Kostov in an email.

Planet Patrol can also “promote a sense of a community pursuing the common goal of understanding the universe and our place in it,” Kostov added, which is especially welcome at a time when many people are stuck at home due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

TESS is designed to spot exoplanets as they pass in front of the stars they orbit, which is known as a transit. Transits cause the star’s brightness to fade slightly, and if these light dips occur at regular intervals, it’s a good sign that a planet may be present.

 

1:02 minute NASA “Planet Patrol” video (‘NASA Goddard’ YouTube)

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NASA Awards SETI Institute Planetary Protection Support Contract

July 10, 2020                           (nasa.gov)

• Upcoming NASA science missions such as the Mars 2020 and Europa Clipper missions, and NASA’s Mars Sample Return mission, NASA’s Artemis program’s Gateway lunar orbital outpost, Human Lander System, and Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative, all will need to be in compliance with planetary protection standards. ‘Planetary Protection’s’ role is to protect both Earth and mission destinations from biological contamination.

• NASA has awarded the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, a $4.7 million ‘indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity’ contract for five years to head NASA’s Planetary Protection Program beginning July 1st. To ensure compliance with planetary protection standards, SETI (the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence). The SETI Institute will work with NASA’s Office of Planetary Protection to provide technical reviews and recommendations, validate biological cleanliness on flight projects, provide training for NASA and its partners, develop guidelines for implementation of NASA requirements, and disseminate information to stakeholders and the public.

• “The depth of mission experience and breadth of knowledge on the SETI Institute team will help NASA meet the technical challenges of assuring forward and backward planetary protection on the anticipated path of human exploration from the Moon to Mars,” said Lisa Pratt, NASA’s planetary protection officer at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

• “[P]lanetary protection [has become] an increasingly important component of mission planning and execution,” said Bill Diamond, president and chief executive officer of the SETI Institute. “We are proud to be NASA’s partner for this mission-critical function, protecting Earth from backward contamination, and helping ensure that the life we may find on other worlds, didn’t come from our own.”

• NASA and the SETI Institute have worked together on planetary protection for more than a decade and have developed a strong relationship and core competency in this area. SETI Institute scientists have extensive experience in understanding microbial life and how it can affect missions, even in the extreme conditions of spaceflight and extraterrestrial environments.

[Editor’s Note]   “SETI Institute scientists have extensive experience in understanding microbial life and how it can affect missions”? Really? Isn’t SETI the deep state pseudo-agency puppet that has been monitoring radio waves for signs of extraterrestrial signals since Frank Drake in 1960? Is this the same SETI who had to turn to private financing because of the ridicule they were taking from Congress? Now we learn that these astronomers who peer through telescopes all day, also have a knack for detecting microbial contamination on NASA spacecraft traveling to and from the Moon and Mars. The only thing that SETI has ever been tasked to do is to pretend to search for intelligent ETs and never find any, when everyone knows that they’re all around us and have been for the past century. Now, another deep state pseudo-agency puppet, NASA, is giving SETI the responsibility of preventing REAL microbial contamination in REAL space? Is this a joke? Or is it just a money transfer between two deep state toadies for some other agenda?

 

        SETI’s Bill Diamond

NASA has awarded the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, a contract to support all phases of current and future planetary protection missions to ensure compliance with planetary protection standards.

The SETI Institute will work with NASA’s Office of Planetary Protection (OPP) to provide technical reviews and recommendations, validate biological cleanliness on flight projects, provide training for NASA and its partners, as well as develop guidelines for implementation of NASA requirements, and disseminate information to stakeholders and the public. The role of OPP is to promote responsible exploration of the solar system by protecting both Earth and mission destinations from biological contamination.

        NASA’s Lisa Pratt

“The depth of mission experience and breadth of knowledge on the SETI Institute team will help NASA meet the technical challenges of assuring forward and backward planetary protection on the anticipated path of human exploration from the Moon to Mars,” said Lisa Pratt, NASA’s planetary protection officer at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

Planetary protection preserves environments, as well as the science, ensuring verifiable scientific exploration for extraterrestrial life. Some of the upcoming NASA science missions that will be supported by this contract include the Mars 2020 and Europa Clipper missions, and preparations for NASA’s Mars Sample Return mission. In addition, future human spaceflight exploration under NASA’s Artemis program, such as the Gateway lunar orbital outpost, the Human Lander System, and Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative, will be supported under this contract, as part of America’s Moon to Mars exploration approach.

The contract is a fixed-price indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with a maximum award value of $4.7 million over a five-year period that began July 1.

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ET Life as We Don’t Know It

 

Article by Wade Roush                           April 7, 2020                            (scientificamerican.com)

• This blog article’s writer, Wade Roush, has written a book entitled Extraterrestrials which attempts to explain why, after sixty years, SETI (the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) has never found a hint of advanced extraterrestrial life. At its inception in the 1960s, SETI assumed that the best way to discover ET was by monitoring radio and optical frequencies. But as Nathalie Cabrol of the SETI Institute wrote, “[S]o far, in our quest to find ET, we have only been searching for other versions of ourselves.” The flaw in SETI’s approach is that it has been too ‘Earth-centric’ and ‘human-centric’.

• SETI’s focus has been on exoplanets within the “habitable zone” of a star system, where water remains in liquid form. But we didn’t understand how adaptable life can be. We’ve found life in places with crushing pressures and scalding temperatures, and even inside nuclear reactors where living organisms feed on radiation.

• In 1985, when Roush was a college journalist, he was ‘star-struck’ while covering a Harvard symposium inaugurating the Megachannel Extraterrestrial Assay (or META), which was attended by his heroes Carl Sagan and Steven Spielberg. It felt like the launch of a voyage that would finally turn science fiction into science reality. If you’d told the assembled scientists that 35 years would go by without SETI, META, or any of its successors detecting even a hint of an ET signal, they’d have reacted with disbelief.

• It’s time to move beyond the idea that extraterrestrials would think like us or use technologies like ours. We should continue to listening for technosignatures and look for industrial biosignatures on exoplanets, but we should also expand the search beyond familiar sun-like stars and red dwarfs. Beings who evolved in exotic environments might have very different sense organs and neural systems. We need to get outside of our own heads and think more like aliens. We need new observing and filtering systems that look for the kinds of messages that exotic beings might be sending.

[Editor’s Note]  Now that SETI has wasted sixty years’ worth of funding searching in vain for extraterrestrial signals, scientists are preoccupied with debating ‘why’. There is no doubt that SETI is funded and run by the deep state. Carl Sagan himself was a member of deep state UFO control group, Majestic 12. So, from the perspective of its cabal overlords, SETI’s perfect record of finding and reporting absolutely no sign of intelligent extraterrestrial life for six decades has been an unmitigated success. For sixty years, they’ve been trying NOT to find ET life in the galaxy as part of the deep state’s objective of convincing the public that extraterrestrials do not exist. They don’t want the public knowing that the deep state government routinely works with alien beings, utilizing alien technology exclusively for the benefit the cabal ‘elite’. And ‘journalists’ like Wade Roush are either naïve and uninformed, or they are compromised deep state puppets.

 

In 1985, when I was a baby journalist writing my first college newspaper story, I covered a symposium at Harvard inaugurating the Megachannel Extraterrestrial Assay (META), a computer system designed by physicist Paul Horowitz to sift through millions of narrow radio channels for signals from other civilizations.

Carl Sagan was on hand that weekend to represent the Planetary Society, which had helped fund the project. So was Steven Spielberg, who’d written a

                Wade Roush

$100,000 check. Having grown up on Sagan’s Cosmos and Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind and E.T.: The Extraterrestrial, I was star-struck. But I was also thrilled to witness what felt like the launch of a voyage that would finally turn science fiction into science reality.

No one at the symposium was rash enough to predict whether or when Horowitz’s project would succeed. But if you’d told the assembled scientists that 35 years would go by without META or any of its successors detecting even a hint of a signal, they’d have reacted with disappointment and disbelief. The aliens ought to be out there; they ought to be broadcasting; we ought to be able to hear them. But a 2020 Astronomical Journal paper detailing a search of 1,327 nearby stars at the highest sensitivity to date found zero candidate signals. So how is it that the Great Silence—to use the title phrase from astronomer Milan Ćirković’s 2018 book— continues?

Well, having just written my own book about the history of that question (Extraterrestrials, MIT Press, April 2020), I’ve come to suspect that there’s something missing in our approach to the search for off-world intelligence. This search is built around the hope that if technological societies are out there, they’re communicating (1) using the parts of the electromagnetic spectrum we can most easily scan from Earth’s surface, namely radio and optical frequencies, and (2) using encoding schemes such as pulse modulation that we can easily recognize. Those assumptions made sense in the early days of SETI in the 1960s, when the field was still a quirky offshoot of radio astronomy.

But today they seem fatally Earth-centric and human-centric. As Nathalie Cabrol of the SETI Institute wrote in a paradigm-busting 2016 Astrobiology paper, “[S]o far, in our quest to find ET, we have only been searching for other versions of ourselves.”

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