Contemplating SETI in a few short words? (Book Review III—Frontiers of Astrobiology)


When the SETI@Home project commenced 15 years ago, I imagined humanity would find evidence of ET within 25 years. In fact, I believed that it would be a matter of decades before a handful of interesting signals would captivate the general public. The fact is, the SETI paradigm is almost 55 years old, and the Drake equation may be subject to revision. (My supposition of the Drake equation may be more rhetorical…) However, Enrico Fermi’s question of ‘where is everyone,’ is more relevant than it seemed to me.

Those are my thoughts of SETI as I approached chapter 14 of the book which I have been ruminating upon for a few posts. The title of the chapter is If You Want to Talk to ET, You must First Find ET and it is authored by Dr. Jill Tartar and Dr. Chris Impey.

The chapter is written in style which illuminates the reasons for performing the search—and I found it to written clearly and concisely. The gist of the work indicates that if we do find a signal of worth in SETI—it would be the harbinger of a ‘possible future.’

After finishing the chapter my feelings could summed like this:

It is our own future bound-up in one of two paths; if we survive our own technology that signal would be the epiphany of how we survived and why. (That of course is a path worth traveling.)

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