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sofia pluto

SOFIA Chases Pluto's Shadow

NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy observed Pluto as it crosses a distant star today, June 29 (Pacific Time).
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  • sofia pluto

    NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy observed Pluto as it crosses a distant star today, June 29 (Pacific Time).

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    sofia pluto
  • What the Hack

    A computer virus that bombards you with pop-up ads is one thing. A computer virus that shuts down a city’s electric grid is another. Welcome to the new generation of cybercrime. Discover what it will take to protect our power, communication and transportation systems as scientists try to stay ahead of hackers in an ever-escalating game of cat and mouse.

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    What the Hack
  • Kepler 138b

    Astronomers have discovered a Mars-sized world 200 light-years from Earth. The discovery is equivalent to sensing a pin head at the distance of the Moon.

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    Kepler 138b
  • Disaster Playground

    In attendance, and available for a Q&A at the end will be SETI Institute scientists Seth Shostak, Peter Jennikens and Margaret Race, and former Carl Sagan Director David Morrison.

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    Disaster Playground
  • year of pluto

    The New Horizons mission will help us understand worlds at the edge of our solar system by making the first reconnaissance of the dwarf planet Pluto and by venturing deeper into the distant, mysterious Kuiper Belt – a relic of solar system formation.

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    year of pluto
  • Pluto

    The surface of Pluto is becoming better resolved as NASA's New Horizons spacecraft speeds closer to its July flight through the Pluto system. A series of new images obtained by the spacecraft's telescopic Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) during May 29-June 2 show Pluto is a complex world with very bright and very dark terrain, and areas of intermediate brightness in between. These images afford the best views ever obtained of the Pluto system.

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    Pluto
  • Nature June Cover

    With NASA’s New Horizons probe fast approaching Pluto for its flyby on 14 July, Mark Showalter and Douglas Hamilton present new results from the Pluto system and offer some predictions about what the spacecraft might observe.

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    Nature June Cover
  • Bill Diamond

    The SETI Institute’s new president and CEO, Bill Diamond, is a technology executive and Silicon Valley veteran. He has over 20 years of experience in the photonics and optical communications industry, and a decade in X-ray and semiconductor processing technologies. His corporate background spans the spectrum from venture-backed start-ups to Fortune 100 multinationals, with responsibilities ranging from engineering and operations to sales, marketing, product management and CEO positions.

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    Bill Diamond
  • Janice Bishop

    The Helmholtz Association, Germany’s largest science research organization, has bestowed its International Fellow Award on SETI Institute Senior Research Scientist, Janice Bishop.

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    Janice Bishop
  • nix artist view

    If you lived on one of Pluto’s moons, you might have a hard time determining when, or from which direction, the sun will rise each day. Comprehensive analysis of data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope shows that two of Pluto’s moons, Nix and Hydra, wobble unpredictably.

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    nix artist view

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