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SETI Institute Activity Report July – September 2018

SETI Institute Activity Report July – September 2018

The SETI Institute conducts public and privately-funded research across a wide spectrum of physical and biological sciences. 

Pine Mountain Observatory
Pine Mountain Observatory

Download our full report here.

At the SETI Institute, we are trying to answer just one question, but from many different perspectives: Are we alone? More than 80 scientists from nearly every scientific discipline are redefining the search for life in the universe and leading the way in developing research applications for the latest technologies, including machine learning and AI.

Our scientists are discovering new planets, designing and testing equipment for planetary exploration missions, identifying possible landing sites on planets such as Mars, and searching for signs of extraterrestrial technology.

Not only that, everyone at the SETI Institute is committed to sharing what we learn – from scientific publications and conferences to public schools and libraries to the internet and the airwaves - we invite everyone on Earth (and beyond) to join us on this journey of discovery.

There’s a lot going on. You can read our full report here or check out some highlights:

Significant Highlights & Events

  • Dale Andersen prepared for his field expedition to Lake Untersee in the Antarctic, where he will be conducting research in November and December
  • Pamela Harman led Girl Scouts in this summer’s Astronomy Adventure Destination Camp at Pine Mountain Observatory through activities to help them learn how to operate telescopes, participate in solar and dark-sky observations, and other space science activities
  • Nathalie Cabrol and the SETI Institute hosted the NASA Astrobiology Institute annual meeting and began organizing for the upcoming field expedition in the Andes
  • Mark Showalter, Robert French and their colleagues had their discovery of Neptune’s 14th moon, now known as Neptune XIV, certified by the Minor Planet Center
  • Pablo Sobron led a field expedition to Esja Mountain and Krysuvik in Iceland to demonstrate UAV-based survey and sampling technologies for future planetary exploration
  • Ross Beyer, David Hinson, Orkan Umurhan, and Oliver White had asteroids named for them in recognition of their service to the New Horizons mission
  • Janice Bishop was elected as a Fellow of the Geological Society of America
  • Matthew Tiscareno and the SETI Institute hosted interns as part of its Research Experience for Undergraduates program for the 13th summer
  • Frontier Development Lab (FDL) 2018 brought seven teams of space scientists and data scientists together to apply AI and machine learning to challenges in the areas of astrobiology, exoplanets, space weather and space resources

Peer-Reviewed Publications, Conference Abstracts and Proceedings and Contributions to Ongoing and Planned Missions

  • SETI Institute scientists had 50+ peer-reviewed articles published or accepted for publication in top scientific journals including Astronomy & Astrophysics, Astrobiology, Icarus, The Astronomical Journal, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, The Astrophysical Journal, and more
  • The work of SETI Institute scientists was featured at national and international scientific conferences including The Committee on Space Research (Pasadena, CA, July), The Final Cassini Science Symposium (Boulder, CO, August), European Astrobiology Network Association (Berlin, Germany, September), European Planetary Science Congress (Berlin, Germany, September), International Astronomical Union (Vienna, Austria, August), and more
  • SETI Institute scientists play critical roles ongoing and planned missions including SOFIA, Kepler/K2, New Horizons, NASA Mars 2020, OSIRIS-Rex, Parker Solar Probe, and more

Public Outreach

  • SETI Institute scientists were featured or interviewed in popular media including NBC News, Radio Canada, Popular ScienceWashington Examiner, PC Magazine, NHK Japan,, Discover Magazine, USA Today, Fast Company, National GeographicNew York TimesScientific American, and more
  • Big Picture Science episodes featured such wide-ranging topics as planetary exploration, dinosaurs, DNA, the habitability of other planets and moons, gravitational waves, climate change, and more
  • SETI Talks explored VR/AR in Space, Education Programs and the SETI Institute, and Human Exploration to Mars
  • Facebook Live episodes featured discussions about Laser SETI, Hayabusa 2, Girl Scouts Reaching for the Stars, NASA Astrobiology Institute, Kepler/K2, and more
  • SETI Institute scientists offered public talks at places including schools, WorldCon, Library of Congress, public libraries, senior centers, and community centers


The work of the SETI Institute belongs to all humanity. The SETI Institute is committed to sharing our work, discoveries, and passion. Learn more about our recent activities in the SETI Institute Activity Report July – September 2018


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