Help Find Extraterrestrial Life Using SETI at Home

Have a computer and an interest in finding evidence of alien life? That’s all you need to help science in their search for extraterrestrial life (SETI).Founded in 1984, the SETI Institute, a private, not-for-profit organization based out of the University of California, Berkeley, is dedicated to exploring, understanding and explaining the origin, nature and prevalence of life in the universe. In average-Joe-speak, that means that they are looking of extraterrestrial life, ET.

The Institute has three centers—Center for SETI Research, the Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe and the Center for Education and Public Outreach—and 150 employees, including its scientists, educators and support staff.

What is SETI@home?
SETI@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.You participate by downloading and running a free program, Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC) software. This program runs in the background on individual computers, using the idle power to analyze a portion of SETIs vast amount of radio telescope data.

How Does SETI Search for Extraterrestrial Life?

SETI uses radio telescopes which listen for electromagnetic transmission (radio signals) from space. Radio signals do not occur naturally. They must have a source. So it is assumed that if a radio signal were encountered that was not of human origin, this would be evidence of extraterrestrial technology.

The signals that radio telescopes can pick up are essentially just noise; man-made signals from TV stations, radar, satellites, potentially with ET signals mixed in. All this noise picked up by the radio telescope needs to be analyzed digitally to find that possible alien needle in the haystack. The SETI Institute has big computers to do data analysis, but having more computing power enables SETI to search greater frequency ranges and in more detail. So SETI@home was launched in May 1999.

Since its inception, the SETI@home project has recruited more than 180,000 participants who are volunteering over 290,000 computers. This combined effort gives SETI@home computational power greater than that of the fourth fastest computer in the world. Visit SETI For more…..

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Posted on January 21, 2011, in Technews. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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