Broadcast 971 (Special Edition)

29 Jun 2008 Dr. Seth Shostak
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Guest: Dr. Seth Shostak, Senior Astronomer at the SETI Institute (www.seti.org), was the guest for this Space Show program. We started our discussion with updates about SETI programs and the searches for ET signals. This led into our discussion of the Arecibo Radio Telescope, which is located in Puerto Rico and may be closed by the NSF for budget/financial reasons. We discussed this potential closure, the funds it takes to operate the telescope, its continued uses and what it might mean to the scientific community to be without it. Don't miss this discussion. Seth also talked about the Allen Array in Hat Creek, CA, even visiting the array. We spoke about the amount of energy and antenna size needed to pick up signals from Earth and how far such signals would have traveled by now for an advanced civilization to reach, hear, or see us, and then communicate or even travel here. A listener, in checking out the SETI Institute website, asked about their "Adopt a Scientist" program and Seth described it in detail. Perhaps this will interest you as will becoming a member of the SETI Institute. Early in the show, Seth took a question from a listener about his preference for being supported by a government program versus the private sector as SETI is now private. You might be surprised at Seth's response. Yet another listener, following up on our Arecibo discussion, asked to compare Arecibo to the VLA in Socorro, NM or other radio telescope arrays. This too is most interesting, especially as Dr. Shostak talks about the size difference from one to another. In asking Dr. Shostak when confirmation of another civilization might actually take place, the timeline is about 2030 and you will want to listen to know why. Also, you will find out that bookies in the UK are giving 100::1 odds of finding life on another planet though Seth says that number needs to get to 10::1 to be really interesting. Seth has an outstanding wager on finding advanced life, a cup of coffee from Starbucks. Listen to this program to see what you have to do to win this wager and by when. In response to a listener's question, we also discussed SETI@Home and if it has proven to be useful. You will want to hear what he has to say about this. A discussion about Pluto and the IAU was also held so if this is a topic that interests you, you will certainly find Seth's comments relevant. Toward the end of the program, I asked Seth about educational outreach for SETI for both school kids as well as adults. He actively speaks to both groups and this type of outreach is very important. We also talked about SETI political support and success in talking to members of Congress. Again, a must listen to discussion. You can send follow up email questions or comments to Dr. Seth Shostak at Seth@seti.org or you can find lots of people to contact with your questions just by visiting www.seti.org.

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