Could extraterrestrial intelligence be relatively nearby? With that possibility in mind, the Allen Telescope Array has been used to observe planets around the star Trappist 1 – a target that is a mere 40 light-years distant.
It’s elementary, Watson. Things are in flux – from the elements in the air you breathe to party balloons. We investigate a massive, historic nitrogen loss from the atmosphere, and meet the culprits behind a modern-day helium shortage. Meanwhile, four brand new elements make brief appearances, but long enough to fill out the periodic table.
The Kepler Project has been enormously successful at finding planets around other stars. Over 1000 have been confirmed to date, with more than 3,500 additional candidates awaiting independent confirmation in the near future.
Every day, researchers at the SETI Institute are expanding mankind’s knowledge and understanding in the search for life beyond Earth. Their work includes publication in peer-reviewed journals, research presentations and speaking engagements, technical reports, intellectual property filings and more. As part of their outreach and commitment to share the Institute’s science and research, we are posting our monthly “Activity Report of the Carl Sagan Center” which catalogs the work of our scientists.
Early in its geological history, Mars was thought to have experienced massive outpourings of ground water that erupted from beneath an ice-rich permafrost, carving the enormous flood channels still seen today, and inundating large regions of the northern plains to form an ocean.
SETI Institute engineer and observer Jon Richards has crafted a real-time, information-rich web site that is the next-best thing to driving to the Cascade Mountains. You get several video views of the Array’s 42 antennas as they pirouette across the heavens hunting for alien transmissions, and a sky map pinpointing which star system is getting our attention.
In the three-way horse race to prove that biology is not just a terrestrial aberration, there’s one steed that many people ignore: sampling the air of distant planets to see if they contain the exhaust gases of life, or in the jargon of astrobiologists, biosignatures.
A science team led by Adrian Brown of the SETI Institute has measured the seasonal changes in Mars northern ice cap, and finds a net deposition each year that’s slightly more than the thickness of a human hair.