Extraterrestrial life Intelligent Design

Big money powers the hunt for alien intelligence

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No, this is not a conspiracy theory, even if it sounds that way:

SETI researchers are used to negative results, but they are trying harder than ever to turn that record around. Breakthrough Listen, the $100 million, 10-year, privately funded SETI effort Siemion leads, is lifting a field that has for decades relied on sporadic philanthropic handouts. Prior to Breakthrough Listen, SETI was “creeping along” with a few dozen hours of telescope time a year, Siemion says; now it gets thousands. It’s like “sitting in a Formula 1 racing car,” he says. The new funds have also been “a huge catalyst” for training scientists in SETI, says Jason Wright, director of the Penn State Extraterrestrial Intelligence Center, which opened this year. “They really are nurturing a community.”

Perhaps the most important consequence of Breakthrough Listen is that it has nudged SETI, once considered fringe science, toward the mainstream. “Journals are relaxing and letting good technosignature papers be published,” says astrobiologist Jacob Haqq-Misra of the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science. “The giggle factor is reducing.” After nearly 3 decades of eschewing SETI, NASA organized a technosignature workshop in 2018. In June, it awarded a grant to model the detectability of possible technosignatures in the atmospheres of exoplanets, its first ever SETI-related grant not involving radio searches.

Daniel Clery, “How big money is powering a massive hunt for alien intelligence” at Science

Okay, billionaires can spend their money as they like; that’s part of being a billionaire. But now, question: If they still don’t find anything out there, can any conclusions be drawn?

See also: Ten million star systems: No alien tech A researcher says that that’s because “space is really, really big”. Space is not as big as the human imagination though.

2 Replies to “Big money powers the hunt for alien intelligence

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    From the other angle, wouldn’t it be wonderful if some rich dude spent billions to endow HONEST SCIENCE? Meaningless question, since all rich people are demonic psychopaths.

  2. 2
    ET says:

    The evidence is very strong for their existence. You can ignore it but it isn’t going away.

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