Subscribe to receive SETI Institute news weekly in your inbox.

Where in the Worlds has SETI Institute Been? March 20-26, 2017

Where in the Worlds has SETI Institute Been? March 20-26, 2017

Omicron Eridanids
Meteor Showers

New animations show the paths of meteor showers such as the Geminids and Orionids, and allow viewers to see the moment when their streams intersect with the Earth’s orbit. SETI Institute astronomer Peter Jenniskens runs the NASA sponsored project Cameras for Allsky Meteor Surveillance (CAMS) which is attempting to confirm 300+ meteor showers on the International Astronomical Union Working List that still need verification. 60 low-light video cameras have recorded more than 300,000 meteoroid trajectories since beginning observations in 2010.


The Project for Exploration Science Pathfinder Research for Enhancing Solar System Observations (Project ESPRESS) was awarded a $5 million contract to develop tools and methods for exploring the solar system. The SETI Institute is part of the Project ESPRESSO team, which is led by the Southwest Research Institute. 

The Origin of Earth

New research from scientists and the University of California, and published in Science, concludes that our world was formed when Earth and a smaller planet called Theia crashed into each other to form a new planet. Researchers studied rocks brought from the moon by Apollo 12, 15, and 17 and compared them with volcanic rocks from Hawaii and Arizona. SETI research scientist Matija Cuk originally proposed the collision theory in 2012.


More coverage of the first high resolution images of Saturn moonlet Pan taken from Cassini. When SETI Institute senior scientist Mark Showalter first discovered Pan in the 1980’s, it was by examining low resolution images taken from Voyager.

SOFIA/Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors

Continued coverage of the SETI Institute’s SOFIA/Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors program prepares teachers through webinars, workshops, and online learning modules for flights onboard NASA’s flying observatory.  The featured teachers have been selected to participate in the program in 2017 and 2018, as well as educators who participated in the 2016 program.

Big Picture Science

The March 20, 2017 broadcast of the SETI Institute radio show, Big Picture Science, Born Legacy, includes Emma Bentley’s experiences aboard NASA’s SOFIA flying observatory, as well as how you might conceivably make a new universe in your home lab.

This week’s show, Shell on Earth explores the evolution of marine shells, such as oysters and squids that lost their shells, as well as Earth’s geologic tectonic shell.

Chuck Berry and the Golden Record

After Chuck Berry’s death on March 18, 2017, a letter from Carl Sagan to Chuck Berry, informing Berry that his song, Johnny B. Goode had been included on the Golden Record on the Voyager spacecraft, began circulating on the internet. Seth Shostak wrote and spoke about the Golden Record and how it came to be.


The New Daily cited SETI Institute senior astronomer and host of the Big Picture Science radio show, Seth Shostak, in The Geek Revolutions: “Being Called a Nerd is Now a Compliment.” Seth’s comments were also quoted in Quartz’s article, “A leading astronomer says the rise of the nerds will save us from political attacks on science.”

Seth’s essay on the attack on science appeared in the Princeton Alumni Weekly,

Seth also spoke with Science News for Students about the wisdom of “active SETI,” beaming signals out to the universe, in “Should we call out to space aliens?

  • Lunar and Planetary Science Conference: March 20-24, 2017, The Woodlands, TX. SETI Institute scientists who will be presenting include Ross Beyer, Janice Bishop, Adrian Brown, Nathalie Cabrol, Christina Dalle Ore, Alfonso Davila, Edna DeVore, Rosalba Bonaccorsi, Gozen Etrem, Lori Fenton, Franck Marchis, Marc Sarrazin, Mark Showalter, John Skok, and Pablo Sabron. Read more about their work here.
  • Planetario de Montevideo, April 7, 2017, Montevideo, Uruguay SETI Institute scientist Peter Jenniskens will deliver a talk about his work studying meteor showers.
  • Asteroids, Comets, Meteors, 2017, April 10-14, Montevideo, Uruguay International conference on small bodies of the universe including asteroids, comets, meteors, and dwarf planets. Peter Jenniskens, SETI Institute astronomer, will present a movie that shows the dance of meteoroid streams from night to night in the ever-changing gravity field of the planets.
  • Cambridge Science Festival: April 14-23, 2017, Cambridge, MA. A celebration of science, technology, engineering, math and art. On April 14, Opening Night: Are We Alone? at Harvard University will honor Frank Drake, Chairman Emeritus of SETI Institute and best known for conceiving the Drake Equation. Seth Shostak will be a panelist.
  • Conference on World Affairs: April 10-14, Boulder, CO. A year-round unit of the University of Colorado, this festival of ideas features five days of speakers, performances and music. Seth Shostak will be a panelist.
  • SpaceBall: April 22, 2017, San Jose, CA. Held in conjunction with Silicon Valley Comic Con, where SETI Institute will host a booth and participate in panel discussions, SpaceBall will be SETI Institute’s inaugural fundraising gala celebrating space exploration and innovation.
  • Las Vegas Science & Technology Festival: April 28-May 6, 2017. This week-long science festival will feature Jill Tarter, trustee and Bernard M. Oliver Chair for SETI at the SETI Institute.
  • Spacefest: June 8-11, 2017, Tucson, AZ. An annual event that brings the space community together. Pascal Lee and Seth Shostak of SETI Institute will be participating.
  • Machine Learning 4 SETI Hackathon, June 10-11, San Francisco, CA The SETI Institute invites all citizen data scientists and technologists to join us as collaborators in our mission to find radio signals from intelligence beyond our solar system.

Recent Articles