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SETI Institute in the News – Media Roundup. March 1-15, 2022

SETI Institute in the News – Media Roundup. March 1-15, 2022

Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors
2022 Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors Chosen

The class of 2022 has 24 members – teachers from across the country who have been chosen to participate in the Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors (AAA) program and to fly on the SOFIA aircraft in the next cycle.  They will receive a week’s worth of training and a lifetime’s worth of memories. AAA is a professional development program for science teachers to improve science teaching and enhance student learning and STEM engagement. The AAA program includes teachers in middle schools, high schools, and community colleges.

[Jim]Young admitted he is already starstruck-- thinking about how he’ll be working with and learning from astronomers and mission directors. And he’s looking forward to bringing that experience back to the classroom.

“I wish I could take all my students on the trip with me,” he said. “That would really get them excited about science and mathematics. But my hope is to bring that excitement back here to the classroom.”

“This powerful STEM program will allow the SETI Institute to continue bringing NASA science into classrooms across the country,” said Dr. Dana Backman, AAA program lead. “These teachers will use their professional development and STEM immersion experiences to convey real-world content to their students that illuminate the value of scientific research and the wide variety of STEM career paths available to them.”


UnistellarStar-gazing for All

SETI Institute partner Unistellar has released a new version of their user-friendly telescope, the eVscope Equinox, and also is increasing their network of citizen scientists into sub-Saharan Africa.

We will have our first eVscope customer in Kenya soon. My dream is that one day we will have our telescopes across sub-Saharan Africa. This new astronomy really is an astronomy for everybody,” [Franck Marchis] enthused.


RocketSilver Linings?

The world decried the crashing of space debris into the Moon, but maybe some good science can be pulled from the wreckage, which created a new crater on the far side of the Moon.

Dr Franck Marchis, of the SETI Institute, which looks for signs of alien life, said: “One of the things we want to see is whether there is evidence of water — and maybe even life.
“It’s the first time we will get a proper look under the dust.”


Big Picture Science

Join hosts Seth Shostak and Molly Bentley each week as they explore emerging science and technology research.

You Are Exposed
There’s no place like “ome.” Our microbiome is highly influential in determining your health. But it’s not the only “ome” doing so. Your exposome – environmental exposure over a lifetime – also plays a role. 
Hear how scientists hope to calculate your entire exposome, from food to air pollution to water contamination.
Plus, new research on the role that microbes play in the development of neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s, and the hot debate about when microbes first colonize the body. Could a fetus have its own microbiome?
Also, choose your friends wisely: studies of microbe-swapping gazelles reveal the benefits – and the downsides – of being social. 
And, why sensors on future toilets will let you do microbiome analysis with every flush.
With guests Rob Knight, Vanessa Ezenwa, Indira Mysorekar, Gary Miller

Identity Crisis
DNA is the gold standard of identification. Except when it’s not. In rare cases when a person has two complete sets of DNA, that person’s identity may be up in the air. Meanwhile, DNA ancestry tests are proving frustratingly vague: dishing up generalities about where you came from rather than anything specific. And decoding a genome is still relatively expensive and time-consuming. So, while we refine our ability to work with DNA, the search is on for a quick and easy biomarker test to tell us who we are.  
In this hour: the story of chimeras – people who have two sets of DNA; a reporter whose ancestry tests revealed she is related to Napoleon and Marie Antoinette; and the eyes have it in Somaliland, the first nation to use iris scans in an election. Find out why your irises may be what ultimately distinguishes you from the crowd.
With guests Tina Hesman Saey, Carl Zimmer, Kevin Bowyer

More Big Picture Science episodes can be found at



SETI Institute hosts interview cutting-edge scientists each week on social media. Recent SETI Live episodes include:

Can the Sonification of the Mind Help Us to Communicate with the Universe?
Meet Mike von der Nahmer, our newest artist in residence! Mike is a composer, sound researcher, music psychotherapist, and music dramaturge. The center of his work is the quest for the sonification of the mind, a (utopian) idea that might help us to understand the complexities of the brain through an audible representation. Mike will chat with SETI AIR program Director Bettina Forget about his work with the German Aerospace Center where he sonifies air traffic control data to heighten situational awareness, his interest in bio-acoustics, and the possible connection between the human mind and the thinking universe.

AI for the Good of Humankind
Frontier Development Lab (FDL) is an applied artificial intelligence research program that is applying machine learning, data science and high-performance computing to solve problems for the benefit of humankind. We leverage space and Earth data to accelerate new discoveries, improve decisions and support and optimize science workflows using AI tools. We’ve addressed challenges in the areas of lunar exploration, astronaut health and disaster response.

Join SETI Institute CEO Bill Diamond and FDL Director James Parr to hear some of our success stories and find out what’s next in 2022!


Videos of all past Facebook Live events can be found on our Facebook page,, or on our YouTube channel,



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