Life at the SETI Institute

By Dr. Gerry Harp, Senior Astrophysicist, Center for SETI Research, SETI Institute, and Gail Jacobs Trained as a quantum mechanic, Dr. Gerry Harp was deeply interested in possibilities for using the multiple telescopes of the Allen Telescope Array to generate steerable “beams” on the sky — beams that could be far smaller than any single…

By Dr. Janice Bishop, Senior Scientist SETI Institute October 3, 2011 Two small depressions on Mars found to be rich in minerals formed by water could have been places able to support life relatively recently in the planet’s history. These findings were published October 1, 2011, in the journal Geology. The team, led by Catherine…

By Dr. Richard Quinn; Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe, SETI Institute, and Gail Jacobs Is the surface of Mars really sterile, or could there be still-undiscovered traces of life littering this hostile landscape? Chemist Richard Quinn focuses on understanding the reactive processes that take place on the surface of…

By Dr. Gerry Harp, an astrophysicist at the SETI Institute. Figure 1: A waterfall plot. This shows the signal as a function of frequency (increasing to the right) and time (increasing to the top). A slanted straight line is just the sort of thing we look for in SETI searches. In this case, it is…

By Dr. Franck Marchis, SETI Institute Kepler-16 is another great discovery coming from the Kepler telescope, the 10th NASA Discovery mission which is devoted to finding Earth-size exoplanets by monitoring variations of brightness due to transit. Today the Kepler team found a circumbinary exoplanet, an exoplanet orbiting a binary star system. Did they find Tatooine?…

By Dr. Laurance Doyle, an astrophysicist at the SETI Institute, and lead author of a paper that will appear in the journal Science on September 15, 2011. For the first time, astronomers with the NASA Kepler spacecraft mission have discovered a planet orbiting two stars. This is a fundamentally different kind of planetary system than…

By Dr. Rachel Mastrapa; Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe, SETI Institute, and Gail Jacobs Rachel Mastrapa studies the surface processes of icy Solar System bodies by interpreting their infrared spectra. The majority of her work involves performing the ground truth measurements in the laboratory including calculating the complex indices…

SETI Institute Engages the Public and Celebrates ScienceClick on images for larger view The cosmos can be mysteriously alluring to all — from the young in age to the young at heart. In particular, space science and astrobiology fill us with wonder, amazement and awe — but the scientists who work in these intriguing fields…

By Dr. Cynthia Phillips Planetary geologist at the Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe, SETI Institute The final mission of Space Shuttle Atlantis has spawned a whole series of perspective pieces on the history, state, and future of space exploration. Some, like the YouTube video “NASA’s increase of awesome to…

By Dr. Friedemann Freund; Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe, SETI Institute, and Gail Jacobs Friedemann Freund doesn’t shrink from taking on the really big problems. His research has elucidated such important phenomena as the fact that rocks under stress behave like batteries that can produce currents deep within the…