NATURE|Vol 461|17 September 2009
Despite the long odds against success, the search
for extraterrestrial intelligence has come a long way.
The search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI), a research
discipline that celebrates the 50th anniversary of its inaugural
publication this week (see page 345), has always sat at the
edge of mainstream astronomy. This is partly because, no matter how
scientifically rigorous its practitioners try to be, SETI can’t escape an
association with UFO believers and other such crackpots. But it is also
because SETI is arguably not a falsifiable experiment.