Space: The Search for Intelligent Life

Seth Shostak joins Tim to talk about the serious scientific search for intelligent life beyond Earth.  Seth is the senior astronomer at the SETI Institute, which was created by NASA and is located in Silicon Valley. It is dedicated to the search for life beyond Earth. In this episode, Seth talks about what we’re learning about the potential for finding intelligent life, not only within our solar system, but well beyond it.

The SETI Institute was created on November 20th, 1984 as part of NASA.

NASA located it close to its Ames Research Center in Northern California. Its mission has been as ominous as it has been ambitious, to look for intelligent life beyond our planet.

Before the SETI Institute, NASA had funded a small project in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, but it quickly realized the job was bigger than it had anticipated. NASA wanted to find ways to put more money into research without too much overhead.

That led to the idea of creating a nonprofit organization that would focus on research and education around the search for extra-terrestrial life beyond Earth.

This vision was born in 1984 with the founding of the SETI Institute.

Since then, the SETI Institute has spun out from NASA and has grown in many ways.

Seth Shostak is the Institute’s senior astronomer. In addition to his work on the Institute’s research programs, he’s also an author on books about astrobiology. He’s published hundreds of articles, and he’s a regular contributor to NBC News. He’s also the host of the SETI Institute’s weekly science radio show called, “Big Picture Science.”

Links

About this Episode’s Guest Seth Shostak

Seth Shostak directs the search for extraterrestrials at the SETI Institute in California – trying to find evidence of intelligent life in space. He is also committed to getting the public, especially young people, excited about astrobiology and science in general.

Seth is the host of “Big Picture Science,” the SETI Institute’s weekly radio show. The one-hour program uses interviews with leading researchers and lively and intelligent storytelling to tackle such big questions as: What came before the big bang? How does memory work? Will our descendants be human or machine? What’s the origin of humor? Big Picture Science can be found in iTunes and other podcast sites.