The Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) has announced that it is back in business checking out the new habitable exoplanets recently discovered by NASA’s Kepler space telescope to see if they might be home to alien civilisations. The cash needed to restart SETI’s efforts has come in part from the US Air Force Space Command, who are interested in using the organisation’s detection instruments for “space situational awareness”.
“This is a superb opportunity for SETI observations,” said Jill Tarter, the Director of the Center for SETI Research, in a statement issued yesterday. “For the first time, we can point our telescopes at stars, and know that those stars actually host planetary systems – including at least one that begins to approximate an Earth analog in the habitable zone around its host star. That’s the type of world that might be home to a civilization capable of building radio transmitters.”
NASA has just announced the discovery of many exoplanets orbiting other stars by its Kepler spacecraft, inclusing the world Kepler-22b – described as Earth’s “twin” by the space agency – which orbits a Sun-like G type star some 600 lightyears away at such a distance that it could well have liquid water on its surface and thus be home to life along Earthly lines.
Intriguingly, SETI notes that its resurgence and new mission of examining the Kepler-discovered planetary systems is partially funded by the US military. Source