SETI Institute Projects and Programs (Listed Chronologically)

Planetary Ring-Moon Systems: Observation and Interpretation

Friday, May 15 2009 - 2:13 pm, PDT
This study analyzes the existing data on the rings of Uranus and Neptune, using data from Voyager and other public-domain archives.


Dynamic Response of the Environment at the Moon (DREAM)

Wednesday, April 01 2009 - 2:15 pm, PDT
Study of the lunar environment, including dust and extreme environmental conditions, to support missions such as LADEE, LRO, etc.

Structure and Evolution of Jupiter's Ring System

Friday, February 27 2009 - 2:12 pm, PST
This study investigates the spatial and temporal variations within Jupiter's rings to understand the dynamics, evolution and origin of the system. It also investigates the influence of the ring-moons Metis and Adrastea on the rings.


Multispectral Analysis and Photometry of Galileo Europa Data

Tuesday, February 03 2009 - 10:02 am, PST
A project to analyze data from Jupiter's moon Europa to identify the origin and composition of non-ice deposits on the surface.

Detection of Organics and Bioburden

Sunday, February 01 2009 - 2:56 pm, PST
Testing of a Raman/UV instrument designed for remote detection of organic materials on future astrobiology missions, to assist in the protection of other planets from Earth microbes carried by spacecraft.


IceBite: An auger and sampling system for ground ice on Mars

Sunday, February 01 2009 - 2:51 pm, PST
IceBite: Development of an auger bit to allow future Mars landers to collect samples from below ground level, widening the search for signs of life.

Primary Productivity in Extreme Dry Environments on Earth and Mars Part II

Friday, January 23 2009 - 4:16 pm, PST
The study of terrestrial life in hyper-arid deserts, particularly organisms that live within hygroscopic salts, as a step towards assessing the potential for life on Mars.

Exploration of Planets Past, Present, and Future Habitability

Wednesday, January 07 2009 - 3:59 pm, PST
Planetary habitability is the measure of a planet's (or a satellite’s) potential to develop and sustain life. While life beyond the Earth is still uncertain, planetary missions show that conditions for habitability (i.e. water, energy, nutrients) were met in the past, and still possibly today in specific environments on Mars and on several moons of the outer solar system. Central to our investigation is the notion that habitability evolves with time. For instance, some planets could have been habitable in the past and may not be anymore; the Earth, that is not only habitable but has developed life, has seen its broad range of habitats change over geological times through climate cycles and planetary-scale catastrophes (e.g., asteroid and comet impacts) that were followed sometimes by near complete extinctions and the redistribution of habitats and dominant species. Currently, Global Warming is showing how rapidly habitats and species can disappear following climate change. Yet, humanity’s ability to explore and understand its environment can have positive consequences, which is in the case of our planet, to reduce human-induced biodiversity loss, and for other planets, to explore and engineer apparently sterile worlds (e.g., the Moon and Mars) to make them habitable and productive for future generations.

Screen grab of NASA Ames PAH database website

The NASA Ames PAH IR Spectroscopic Database: PAH Spectroscopy at Your Fingertips

Thursday, January 01 2009 - 2:09 pm, PST
The goal of this project is to expand the content and capabilities of the NASA Ames PAH IR Spectroscopic Database ( that we have previously developed with NASA grant support.

From Large PAHs to Very Small Grains: The Mid-IR Spectrum of the Interstellar Medium

Friday, December 05 2008 - 2:07 pm, PST
A comprehensive study of the spectral characteristics of carbonaceous species with the goal of understanding the effects of size, molecular structure, clustering, and charge on the spectra, and allowing us to more accurately interpret the emission characteristics of the interstellar medium.