Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Wanna Help Find Space Aliens?

It's called SETI. (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence)

SETI is made up of 135 scientists and support staff who have committed their professional lives to searching for signals from extraterrestrials.

In coming years, SETI will launch its most ambitious search to date. Paul Allen, a co-founder of Microsoft, has bankrolled much of an array of 350 radio telescopes that will be devoted full time to SETI's search.

Since the first search for radio signals began in the 1960s, only about 1,000 stars have been surveyed and no unusual signals have been detected.

If humans ever detected a signal, it would be a decidedly one-sided conversation. It's also possible that any civilization sending the message would have died out before its message reached Earth due to the great distances between planets.

In the 1950s, physicist Enrico Fermi posed a rhetorical question that went something like this: If aliens exist, where are they? In other words, why haven't we found them? (I say they have found us, saw what we do to our planet and ourselves, and booked for another galaxy!!)


Their website is http://www.seti.org/. The mission of the SETI Institute is to explore, understand and explain the origin, nature and prevalence of life in the universe.
They have different web pages of cool stuff -
Their Telescope Array page.
The Carl Sagan Center page and other stuff.

There's a good read on SignOnSanDiego.com about a big cash infusion into the project.
(My info tidbits came from this article. It's a vrey informative article.)

IF you feel like helping out, you can donate your computing power to the cause at
http://setiathome.berkely.edu/.

SETI at Home is a scientific experiment that uses Internet-connected computers in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). You can participate by running a free program that downloads and analyzes radio telescope data.

I use one of my computers to run their program and help analyze their data.

The idea behind Seti At Home is to use the collective computing power of the computers on the Internet in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. The premise is by using screen saver programs for a wide variety of computer types, SETI uses your CPU to analyze data. The screen saver downloads a chunk of data from SETI that has not been processed. Your computer then processes the data automatically when the screen saver is enabled.

When the screen saver has results, they are sent back to SETI and you get another one. Simple and clean. You use your PC as you normally would and SETI gets it when you are not using it. You even get to choose how much of your CPU it can use, and other things. I don't like my CPU cranking 100%, so I have it set to about 30% of the CPU ability. Who knows, maybe you will be the one to answer ET when he calls for pizza.

There are a number of cool statistics being kept about the process including who has processed the most data units, who has used the most CPU time and who has come closest to getting a hit. You can group your computers under a name, so your results are tallied together.

Go check it all out and have some fun in the process!!

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Hi - sorry for the confirmation but I need to weed out the noise from the well intended comments. Thanks for leaving a note... - Bruce