Mission: The mission of the SETI Institute is to explore, understand and explain the origin, nature and prevalence of life in the universe.
Programs: The carl sagan center for the study of life in the universe (csc) specializes in the broad interdisciplinary field of astrobiology, striving to understand the origin, evolution and distribution of life in the universe. Csc scientists are addressing three of the most profound questions in science: how does life arise? Is there life beyond earth? And what are the future directions for the evolution of life? Csc scientists publish the results of their research in peer reviewed journal articles and book chapters & give presentations to their colleagues & the public. Many also mentor students, training the next generation of scientists. Examples of some of the exciting research conducted by our scientists in fy 14 are: *using telescopes & laboratory experiments to understand the complex chemistry that takes place in the clouds of gas and dust between the stars. *revealing the strange phenomena that occur in ring systems around planets & in the formation process of planets. *searching for potential objects orbiting pluto to determine a safe passage for the new horizon's flyby of pluto in july 2015 *exploring remote locations on earth, from the arctic to the antarctic to the atacama desert to understand the ability of life to adapt to extreme environments. *studying planetary systems around other suns being discovered by nasa's kepler space telescope. *probing the surface and subsurface environments on mars to reveal the history of the planet and address the questions of whether life is now, or once was, present there.
the center for education and outreach (edu) at seti institute conducts projects in formal and informal education and public outreach. These projects include curriculum development and teacher professional development, museum exhibit development, and outreach to students, teachers and the general public. The institute is involved in scientific and educational trade shows, workshops, and courses, which share the institute's scientific research. Fy 14 was the 9th year of our summer-time research experience for undergraduates (reu) program, sponsored by the national science foundation. Additionally, we work with cal poly pomona, a hispanic serving state university, to host undergraduate student interns along with the reu students. The institute hosts future stem (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) teachers as interns each summer as a part of the cal poly san luis obispo's star (stem teacher as researcher) program, which is funded by nsf and private foundations and corporations. We stay in long-term contact with our interns to follow their careers. To date, more than 50% of our interns are pursuing advanced degrees. The institute also hosts a weekly scientific colloquium featuring our scientists and invited speakers, which is attended by scientists, students and the general public. The talks are posted on youtube where more than 20,000 people view the talks each month. We have hosted the colloquium series since 2007. Of particular note, the seti institute hosts a science radio program, "big picture science," which reaches an audience of millions world-wide through broadcasts (100+ stations) and downloads. Institute scientists and edu staff present talks nationwide and lead teacher professional development workshops at science education conferences. The edu staff is funded by nasa to lead education and public outreach programming for nasa missions: sofia, kepler, maven, and astrobiology. In addition, the edu team manages the public affairs for the institute including press releases, website, social media, and interviews with the media.
the allen telescope array (ata) is a unique instrument designed to seek out signals from technologically advanced civilizations elsewhere in the universe, as well as conducting other radio astronomy research. Science pursued with the array during fy 14 has concentrated on a continuing reconnaissance of exoplanets (many of which were found by the kepler space telescope), as well as examining so-called "habitable star systems. " these are stars that have characteristics that are thought to make them more likely to host biology-friendly worlds. The ata is also being used as a test bed for developing new search strategies for extraterrestrial transmitters or discoveries of unusual astronomical phenomena. A major project has been the development of new receivers for the array (the so-called antonio feeds, named after the donor that is funding this project) that increase its sensitivity by a factor of two and extend its usable frequency range to more than 10 ghz.
the center for seti research (csr) continues to innovate as part of its search for intelligence elsewhere in the cosmos. A new survey of twenty thousand or more red dwarf star systems is being considered, as recent research indicates that between 16 and 53 percent of these stars may have earth-size planets in their habitable zones. The impending deployment of the new feeds described above will permit these observations to be made over a very wide range of frequencies, and with unprecedented sensitivity. The continuing discoveries of rocky, earth-size planets that might be amenable to life has helped underscore the scientific merit of seti searches. Each year csr staff members give approximately fifty presentations to a variety of audiences in order to inform both their scientific peers and the general public about their work and accomplishments. Csr staff its research are also featured in countless science documentaries, are quoted in, and the authors of, numerous articles, and are interviewed by scores of television and radio programs.