Inside the quest to find extraterrestrial life | Jill Tarter for Big Think

Do aliens dream about meeting us, too?

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When we first started exploring space, we only knew about the eight planets in our Solar System. Today, we know that in the Milky Way galaxy, there are more planets than there are stars.

Additionally, there are organisms on Earth called “extremophiles” that thrive in extreme or hostile environments, similar to those found on many exoplanets.

With so much potentially habitable real estate in the Universe, it is natural to wonder if it actually is inhabited. SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, is trying to find out.

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About Jill Tarter:
Jill Tarter is Director of the Center for SETI Research at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California. She served as Project Scientist for NASA’s SETI program, the High Resolution Microwave Survey, and has conducted numerous observational programs at radio observatories worldwide. Since the termination of funding for NASA’s SETI program in 1993, she has served in a leadership role to secure private funding to continue the exploratory science. Her astronomical work was illustrated in Carl Sagan’s 1985 novel “Contact.” The character largely based on Tarter, “Ellie Arroway,” was portrayed by Jodie Foster in the 1997 film version of “Contact.”


Read more of our stories on extraterrestrial life:
My UFO experience
If we do find alien life, what kind will it be?
Alien life: What would constitute “smoking gun” evidence?


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