Welcome to the SETI Institute

First Pluto Maps with Names

Some of the results of the public naming campaign for Pluto are already showing up on maps.
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  • Some of the results of the public naming campaign for Pluto are already showing up on maps.

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  • jenniskens meteor

    An amateur has discovered a trove of meteorites on Misfits Flat dry lake in Nevada. No meteorites had been found at this tiny lakebed before. In an unusual twist, at least some of those turn out to have fallen less than 300 years ago.

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    jenniskens meteor
  • Skeptic Check: Are You Sure You're Sure?

    You know what you know. But you probably don’t know what you don’t know. Few of us do. Scientists say we’re spectacularly incompetent at recognizing our own incompetency, and that sometimes leads to trouble.

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    Skeptic Check: Are You Sure You're Sure?
  • Kepler 452b

    SETI Institute scientists Douglas Caldwell, Jeffrey Coughlin and Joseph Twicken discuss the Kepler team's catalog of new planets, including Kepler 452b. Hosted by SETI Institute Senior Astronomer and Director of the Center for SETI Research Seth Shostak.

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    Kepler 452b
  • Kepler 452b

    Scientists analyzing four years of data from NASA’s Kepler mission have released a new catalog of exoplanet candidates. The catalog adds more than 500 new possible planets to the 4,175 already found by the famed space-based telescope.

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    Kepler 452b
  • greenbank and parkes

    The Breakthrough Prize Foundation, an organization created by investor Yuri Milner, has announced that it will commit $100 million over the next ten years to a new, large-scale SETI initiative.

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    greenbank and parkes
  • Pluto

    It made it. At 4:49 am Pacific Time, July 14, the New Horizons spacecraft slid by Pluto’s mottled orb and headed deeper into the voids of the solar system. The flyby’s closest approach lasted only three minutes.

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  • Forget to Remember

    You must not remember this. Indeed, forgetting may be key to having a healthy brain. Our gray matter evolved to forget things, yet we’re building computers with the capacity to remember everything. Everything! But do we want to live in a world of total recall?

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    Forget to Remember
  • Disaster Playground

    Disaster Playground a documentary movie that investigates future outer space catastrophes and the procedures to manage and assess the risks is now available on iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, GooglePlay and more.

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    Disaster Playground
  • The public is weighing in on the names that will annotate maps of a world no one has ever seen. As the New Horizons spacecraft closes in on Pluto and its moons, a campaign to solicit suggestions from the public, initiated by SETI Institute senior research scientist Mark Showalter, has provoked a torrent of imaginative labels for major features.

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The SETI Institute needs your help now

SETI Institute science

This is an incredibly exciting time for the SETI Institute. The number of verified planets outside of our solar systems grows rapidly, and includes several that may have liquid water on their surfaces. At the same time, we are learning that life can survive in amazing places, even in lakes sealed beneath the Antarctic ice. These and other recent developments virtually assure the existence, and ultimate verification, of life beyond Earth. Recently NASA Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan agreed, predicting "I think we're going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth within a decade, and I think we're going to have definitive evidence within 20 to 30 years." The SETI Institute is at the forefront of many of these discoveries. As the only organization that addresses the full range of disciplines related to understanding and explaining the origin and nature of life in the universe, we search for answers to critical questions such as:

  • How did life begin on Earth?
  • Where/when/how did it overcome bottlenecks?
  • Does it exist elsewhere?
  • Are there other technological life forms?
  • Can we survive our own technological adolescence?
  • Is there a long future for life on Earth?

The answers to these and related questions are critical for informing some of the most important decisions mankind will make in the next 50 years.

Unfortunately, it has become increasingly difficult for basic research institutions like our Institute to rely on government funding in the United States. Increasingly, we are dependent on visionaries such as you to support our programs. When you invest in the SETI Institute, you join leaders such as Dave Packard, Paul Allen, Bill Hewlett, Gordon Moore, and Franklin Antonio, all of whom have been strong supporters. The Institute is approaching a critical point where we may need to curtail some of our programs, so we need your support now!

After nine years en route, the New Horizons spacecraft is nearing Pluto for the July 14 flyby. We have many ideas to enhance our public and student engagement based on the expertise of our scientists who are participating in this mission, but we lack the funding to execute on them. 

The Institute’s NASA Astrobiology Team uses innovative, autonomous rovers in the high lakes of the Andes to simulate landers that will float in Titan’s ethane lakes. This team strives to better understand planetary responses to rapid climate change.  We have multiple opportunities for independent studies by postdoctoral fellows using these data, but we must find funds to support them. 

The Allen Telescope Array is being upgraded with more sensitive radio receivers, capable at working at even higher frequencies, to improve the search for other technological civilizations. This improved sensitivity is like building more telescopes, making the search even more effective. But we must urgently find funding to support our scientists to make use of the array.

These opportunities are all here today, but we need your help to seize them. You can be a part of discovering life beyond Earth! Please go to https://www.teamseti.org to make your tax-deductible donation now!

Thanks for your help!

Bill Diamond
President and CEO