The SETI Institute in the news – Overview of the media. July 1 – July 15, 2021

The “lost children” of the galaxy

Most of the planets in the galaxy can be “FFPs” – floating planets that do not orbit a star. SETI Institute Principal Astronomer Seth Shostak calls them “our lost children”. It may be possible that these lonely worlds support life.

If FFPs are like Earth, they might even harbor life – hardy, dark-loving microbes or other simple organisms that could really expand our notion of what the term “life” means.

The main objective of the study of FFPs is “to gain a better understanding of the processes that govern the formation and early evolution of planetary systems,” said Radosław Poleski, astronomer at the University of Warsaw and a member of the McDonald’s team. , at The Daily Beast. “This is one of the most important questions in astronomy.”

The board of directors of the SETI Institute is growing

The SETI Institute is honored to add three new directors to its board of directors: Mohanjit Jolly, Reema Khan and Wendi Zhang.

“I am very happy that these three highly accomplished individuals are joining our amazing Board of Directors,” said Dan Lankford, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the SETI Institute. “Reema, Mohanjit and Wendi each bring an expertise not previously represented on our board of directors as well as a real passion for the mission of the SETI Institute. They will undoubtedly have an impact. “

Airborne Astronomy AmbassadorsTeachers fly high on SOFIA

Teachers from Alaska, California, Georgia and New Hampshire recently flew SOFIA, the stratospheric observatory for infrared astronomy, reaching up to 43,000 feet above Earth. The Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors program enables teachers to witness science in action.

[Susan Rolke, a teacher from New Hampshire] will spend time “figuring out how to integrate all this amazing information I have learned and bring it back to my students to get them excited about science,” she said.

“Even though all I get them to do sometimes is take a walk outside, look at the night sky or wonder how this or that works, then I know I did my job as a science teacher,” said Rolke.

EnceladusHas Saturn’s Enceladus moon become the preferred bet for life in the solar system?

Germs on Mars? May be. Ice swimmers on Europa? Possible. Venusians? Questionable. But methane and hydrogen near the Enceladus hydrothermal vents could point to a new place to look.

I think I would rank Enceladus now on Europe, and there were people who said Europe was a better prospect than Mars, ”said Seth Shostak, senior astronomer at the SETI Institute, a non-profit organization near San Francisco which specializes in finding life outside of Earth. “So our ideas about where we might find creatures of some sort keep changing. “

PAUNine-page government report on NAPs neither confirms nor denies foreigners

After much media anticipation, the recently released Pentagon report is brief, does not include much detail on individual “sightings”, and does not mention extraterrestrials or aliens. Seth Shostak is of the opinion:

But the intelligence report on these matters has been delivered, and the publicly available version doesn’t even mention the possibility that the bizarre videos recorded by Navy pilots may be of alien spaceships. So the UFO crowd will undoubtedly be shouting “cover up” again, and the scientific community will point out the continued lack of compelling evidence for visitors from otherworldly.

Illustration of Earth and SunCould Earth be a candidate for SETI research from another world?

A recent study rewound the celestial clock to see how many extrasolar systems could have seen the Earth pass through our Sun, with the same methods we use to find planets around other stars. The study found that up to 1,715 stars were in the right places to find Earth over the past 5,000 years – and seven of the stars are now known to have planets.

These stars and related systems should be the priority of current and future efforts to find exoplanets that could carry not only life, but possibly even extraterrestrial technological civilizations, according to some astronomers. “I would put the mentioned targets at the top of the list,” says Jill tarter, Emeritus Research Chair in Extraterrestrial Life Research (SETI) at the SETI Institute, which was not involved in the new study.

Space Telescope Coronographs Help Imaging Exoplanets

To find and image planets around other stars without inferring their presence by oscillations or gradations of stars, the new generation of space telescopes will include “starshades” – coronographs.

For smaller rocky planets with shorter orbits (where Earth-like planets are more likely to be found), any light reflected from their atmosphere is likely to be carried away by their sun.

EIDC [Roman Exoplanet Imaging Data Challenge], meanwhile, is a community engagement effort led by the Turnbull CGI Scientific Investigation Team, which in turn is led by Margaret C. Turnbull – the famous astrophysicist and researcher Margaret C. Turnbull of the SETI Institute. Launched in 2019, the Roman The EIDC essentially simulated what Nancy Grace Mission Telescope will see with (and without) the help of a Starshade Rendezvous mission.

MarchUnusual clay found at Gale crater on Mars by Curiosity

Glauconitic clays are associated on Earth with calm oceanic and lake environments and have now been identified as occurring on Mars.

While the presence of glauconitic clays does not mean that life was present on Mars, the neutral pH, moderate temperature, and long-lasting calm waters could have provided a perfect niche for microbes to flourish if they were. present in the Gale crater.

The results of this study help explain the differences between the clay minerals studied by Curiosity during its journey through different types of rocks in Gale Crater. “Smectite clays are common on Mars and are seen over much of the planet from orbital studies, but glauconitic clays are more unusual,” the co-author said. Janice Bishop of the SETI Institute.

Ensemble science

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

Skeptical Check: Pentagon UFO Report
When the government announced it would release a report on strange aerial phenomena, public enthusiasm and media coverage took off like a Saturn V rocket. But what is really in the report? Do we finally have the long-awaited proof of an extraterrestrial visit? We discuss the contents and implications of the report with both a former US Air Force pilot and a skeptical investigator. And if that hasn’t proven the extraterrestrial presence, what happens next with those who nonetheless think Earth is being visited?
With guests James McGaha and Mick West

Cicadas and zombie seeds
Rip van Winkle dozed for 20 years and Sleeping Beauty for 100. But the seeds in an underground bottle easily broke those two records, germinating long after the death of the scientist who buried them a few feet underground. We study the long haulers of biology – from seeds to tiny creatures – that are able to wake up and start their lives again, even after tens of thousands of years. So what are these 17-year-old cicadas doing while they wait to come back to the surface?
With guests Chris Simon, Sarah Dwyer, Frank Telewski and Rocco Mancinelli

You can find more episodes of Big Picture Science at

SETI live

The SETI institute hosts weekly interviews with leading scientists on social networks. Recent SETI Live episodes include:

SETI Institute, International Space Orchestra and Kid Cudi?
What are the SETI Institute, the International Space Orchestra and Kid Cudi doing? As part of this year’s Amazon Prime Day, they teamed up for a 25-minute experience featuring songs from Cudi’s 2020 album Man on the Moon III: The Chosen, all hosted by the International. Space Orchestra serving as an accompaniment group for Cudi.

To celebrate the collaboration, the International Space Orchestra, Nelly Ben Hayoun Studios and the SETI Institute will host a special SETI Live conversation. Hosted by Principal Scientist Dr Franck Marchis, this live stream will feature ISO member scientists, SETI Institute scientist Dr Janice Bishop, Director of the Virtual System Exploration Research Institute. Solar (SSERVI) Greg Schmidt, and ISO Director and Founder Dr Nelly Ben. Hayoun-Stépanian. We’ll even share a short video about the project!

Using AI to make inroads in space science
Join SETI Institute President Bill Diamond in conversation with James Parr, Director of the Frontier Development Lab (FDL). Now in its sixth year, FDL’s goal is to apply the synergies between physics, simulation and machine learning to problems important to space exploration and humanity.

FDL is a public-private partnership with NASA in the USA and ESA in Europe. It brings together some of the brightest minds in space science, AI, and business, including Google Cloud, Lockheed Martin, Luxembourg Space Agency, Intel, Microsoft, MIT Portugal, Mayo Clinic, USGS, and NVIDIA. New partners this year include the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Other partners include IBM and Planet. FDL is hosted by the SETI Institute and the NASA Ames Research Center.

This year, teams of researchers will use AI and machine learning to tackle seven challenges in the fields of heliophysics, astronaut health, lunar resources, and earth sciences.

Predict coastal flooding with machine learning / AI
Coastal floods are one of the most significant disasters facing human society, exacerbated by a coastal population denser than inland. Climate change causes sea surface level to rise, making coastal regions more vulnerable to flooding. Timely forecasting of flooding in coastal areas and assessing the impact under various atmospheric and ocean conditions is essential.

Join us to chat with the 2021 Digital Twin Earth – Coast team at the Frontier Development Lab (FDL) to discuss how they are developing the first digital coastal twin providing fast and accurate water level dynamics in regions coastal areas using advanced deep learning techniques. .

Videos of all past Facebook Live events are available on our Facebook page,, or on our YouTube channel,

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